I've been researching a publisher that I really like and one of their chief editor's, Lisa Mangum, gave some advice that stuck with me. She mentioned a quote she saw at Disneyland that is good for all of us fledgling writers to keep in mind:
"Don't worry. Don't hurry. Don't stop."
So, like an old-school rapper with a 50-pound boom box on his shoulder and a blinged out grill, let's...a-break-it-down...
Don't worry: Well, easier said than done, especially if you are neurotic like me. But, Lisa reminds us that for the foreseeable future, unlike our boom box-toting friend, reading isn't going out of style. She says, "There will always be a need for books, new writers, new ideas, new voices." Don't worry over your story, confident writing makes for better reading.
Don't hurry: Sometimes this is even harder than trying to stop worrying (in which I have a Ph.D. by the way). I remember finishing the last page of my first manuscript and sending out my query letters within 24 hours to various agents. Bad move. Stupid move. Dumber than installing a screen door on a submarine. The manuscript wasn't ready. The query FOR SURE wasn't ready. Our mission is to write good books- that takes time. Lots of it. Don't hurry your craft! Sometimes letting things marinate for a while produces better results. Just ask the delicious steak I had for dinner last night.
Don't stop: I'm a big fan of The Office. I love the main character Michael Scott because he is an absolute bumbling fool who sometimes, even if accidentally, gets things exactly right. When talking to Jim, a boy in love with Pam, a girl engaged to a loser, Michael gave him this advice: "Never, ever, ever give up." Point taken Mr. Scott. Deal with the rejection that is bound to come. Put on your extra coat of thick skin and don't stop.
So whether you are writing a book, making some kick-butt barbecue, or just trying to keep hip hop alive in the streets- Don't worry, don't hurry, don't stop. Good advice Ms. Mangum!
I recommend reading all of Lisa's advice for new writers at this website: http://jordanmccollum.com/2009/09/slush-pile-lisa-mangum-book-academy/
Her personal website can be found here: http://www.lisamangum.com/