DON'T ask if you have talent. You HAVE to believe in yourself. DO listen to criticism to help you hone your skill.
Be willing to put in time--be willing to pay your dues. Be willing to accept that you grow as a writer. Talent isn't enough. It takes drive, ambition, perseverance and a willingness to challenge your preconceptions of what you think you should be writing as opposed to what your voice cries out to write.
Your words are not sacred & are not set in stone. Be ruthless - editing is a necessary PART of the process, not an outside evil. EVERY writer needs a good editor. NO writer can truly see their work objectively, and unedited work is unfinished work. If you can’t bear to lose any of your “precious” words, you should be journaling instead, because to offer an unedited manuscript to your readers is like asking them to walk through a garden filled with weeds. No matter HOW beautiful the flowers, the weeds detract and clutter up the landscape. Your editor is your best ally.
Be willing to fail. Be willing to embrace rejection. I had 600 rejection slips before my first book contract. If I'd quit and given up...I wouldn't be an New York Times bestselling author now. I wouldn't be doing what I love for a living now. Rejection slips are proof that you're trying—that you're out there in the trenches, working toward your goal. Embrace them as that.
I sold eight niche nonfiction books before I found an agent for my fiction. AND...I had seven novels in the closet before I got my first nonfiction book contract. But I'm SO glad I kept trying. My agent has helped build my career, and worth every single penny of her commission. And those unpublished books? Rehearsal for the actual event.
If you don’t sell your first book? Maybe it wasn’t ready to sell and maybe you need to accept that it wasn’t good enough. I would never market those first seven books. Weren’t. Good. Enough. And I refuse to offer my readers work that isn’t my best effort. Those seven books? Practice. It’s okay. I’m content with that thought.
And lastly: Don’t ask me how to get an agent. Don’t ask me how to get a publisher. Go to your library. Look up the books on my recommended reading list. Read them. Learn. Do the legwork. Do the research. Don’t complain about it. If you want to be a career writer, get used to the fact that you have to learn about the business and marketing aspects. Are these parts fun? Not always, but you deal with it because, people, it sure as hell beats digging ditches. (Unless you like to dig ditches, which I don’t).
So, you want to write? Get busy. Go do it.