The best writing advice I ever received was to just keep writing. It seems obvious. I mean, of course you need to write to be a writer, but it’s not always that easy.
The moment I finished my first book, a member of my writing group asked when I was going to start my second one. I looked at her like she’d sprouted another head. Start my second one? Why on earth would I do that? I needed to focus on my brilliant baby, this wonderful creation that had taken years to complete. I had query letters to send out, synopses to write, and agents to find. I couldn’t possibly waste time on the next book.
Besides, what if an agent liked most of my first book but wanted me to rewrite some parts? I would hate to start a second book and have to scrap it based on changes to the first one.
What I eventually realized, after begrudgingly starting book number two, was that even writing a book that might never reach print was a worthwhile exercise. It helped keep my skills sharp, maintained my momentum, and reminded me how enjoyable writing can be. So I kept plugging away at that second book while still querying the first one.
And lo and behold, eventually I did find an agent, one who was able to sell my book to a publisher. As luck would have it, the publisher also wanted two more books. Boy was I glad I’d already been working on the next one. If I hadn’t been partway finished, I’m not sure I would have met the deadline.
I learned a valuable lesson with that experience: always keep writing. You never know where it might take you.