Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting on the Arts & Communications panel at a local middle school's career day. I was joined by piano instructor, an ex-ballerina/arts marketing professional, and a guy who produces giant rock concerts (you know, Lorde, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis). Guess who got all the attention? Seriously, though, the two pieces of advice that I heard myself repeating over the course of four sessions were...
1. Take your time to write, revise and submit your work. Don't send something out that you don't feel represents the very best you can do at this point in time.
2. Realize that, in addition to saying things (writing) well, you need to understand what you are actually trying to communicate in terms of plot and character arc. A well-drawn character who feels and reflects but goes nowhere or a string of scenes that take place in expertly imaged fantasy worlds but do not link together to create a story make THE BEGINNINGS OF A NOVEL and not a ready-to-submit novel. Read, study, reflect and learn to spot the difference in your work.
Maybe these two thoughts should be numbered in reverse. Hmmm. Regardless, it occurs to me that this advice still applies to me with two published books under my belt. So, maybe it's worth consideration by writers at all ages and stages.