Kate Elliot over at DeepGenre has this to say for budding SFF novelists:
There's a lot more good advice to be had if you follow the link.
First, if you’re not willing to work hard at writing, don’t bother.
I am sure we can find the exception that proves the rule, but every writer I know who has been successful
- however we are defining that term today, and I tend to be ecumenical in my inclusiveness, so let’s just assume that I mean in a pretty broad sense not limited to the pots-of-money sense and frankly just about every working writer I know will laugh sadly or even perhaps a tad hysterically when you ask her or him about the average annual earnings of working freelance writers -
has worked immensely hard, turned or churned out a lot of pages in the journey through apprenticeship toward some level of mastery, and kept writing despite setbacks, rejection, cold feet, and those soul-sucking periods of doubt.
By that I don’t mean quit writing for enjoyment. Anyone who wants to write because it pleases them or soothes them or excites them, should absolutely write.
Please never let anyone stop you from writing.
Writing is a gift, a blessing, a catharsis, a joy. It’s yours; cherish it.
Also, writing is just too difficult for it to be worth doing, in my humble opinion, if you don’t love the process or feel driven to write (which are not quite the same thing).
But if you’re not willing to work, and work hard, and work stubbornly, then don’t make plans for a brilliant career. That is, be realistic about what you’re willing to put in, and therefore what you can potentially get out.
I have seen cases where people
1) talk about the novel or book they want to write that is really fabulous
2) write and rewrite the first 50 pages of that novel but never move on
3) write the first draft of a novel but never revise it - or revise it sufficiently - while meanwhile expecting that naturally a publisher is going to pay them pots of money (see above) for their fabulous soon-to-be-bestselling manuscript
4) never write a second novel, and a third, or multiple short stories, in order to continue learning and improving
5) say to themselves, ‘well, if s/he could publish, then it can’t be *that* hard’
The way to succeed as a writer is - to write. To write something new. To write more. To keep writing.
It amazes me how many people fail to grasp that essential truth.