FAQ #1c: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Aside from the tips in FAQs #1a and 1b, here are some things I've learned:
Buy an ergonomically correct, comfy chair and sit up straight. When I was young and frivolous I thought all that ergonomic stuff was a bunch of hooey. Then, after several years of ten-hour days spent sitting in front of a computer, my fingers started tingling and going numb in the middle of the night, and I decided maybe I should start paying attention to my posture and hand position throughout the day. With a few simple adjustments like elevating my feet under my desk (I use my son's step stool for this) and making sure my wrists are in a comfortable position, the numbness and tingling went away within a month. Repetitive stress injury is definitely not a bunch of hooey, especially if you hope to spend the rest of your life writing.
Don't get too discouraged and don't give up when you get rejected. It's hard getting rejected when you've spent several years of your life writing a novel. In fact it's downright depressing. But rejections are an inevitable part of being a writer. The first few are the worst, but they do get easier after a while. Really. In fact, rejections can become rather amusing after about the 99th one. All writers get rejected a lot, especially in the beginning. But even experienced, published writers get rejected. You definitely have to develop a thick skin as a writer. Just don't give up.
Keep reading for pleasure. Even when you're working on your own novel, it's important to keep reading the kind of books you aspire to write. And don't just read the heavy stuff or the classics. Read the fun stuff, too.
Follow your heart. Write about what you're interested in and whatever excites you the most.
Did I say get a really good chair?