This post is for all the gonnabe writers out there. This year you will:
1. Write prodigiously.
There is no way around this one.
2. Finish what you write.
There's an old saying that stories are not finished but abandoned. There comes a point at which all the rewriting and revising in the world is not going to make the story any better. To the contrary, it's going to make the story worse. You have to learn to stop when you reach that point.
3. Submit your fiction to paying markets.
It's entirely possible that the best writer in the world is named Hieronymus Lafcadio Smith. But since nobody by that name has ever been published, we'll never know.
4. Continue to submit your fiction until somebody buys it.
I've known a lot of talented writers who couldn't take rejection. You've never heard of any of them.
6. Refrain from giving me a hard time for ripping off Robert Heinlein for this advice.
That's what dead writers are for. Feel free to steal everything you can -- save actual combinations of words -- from them.
Above: If proof were ever needed that I'm not much of a photographer, there it is. The Philadelphia Mummers are the most photogenic people on earth. Their parades are filled with images straight out of dreams -- or even hallucinations. If you ever get a chance to see them in person (television is nowhere near as good), by all means do.