Something that's been on my mind today is confidence--confidence in your work, confidence in yourself. It's not easy to find, and as a writer, it's easy to burn a lot of emotional energy looking for validation. The terrible thing about working in such a subjective field is that you can't trust other people's acceptance or rejection of your efforts. You can write a terrific story, but if the editor you submit it to has reached the end of their tolerance for zombie tales, you're not going to get the warm response you're dreaming about. Or maybe you send a mediocre story to an editor who is so desperate to see a zombie story that she snaps up a piece that you know, deep-down, isn't your best work. You feel crappy, no matter what.
The more you rely on others to tell you if you're any good, the more you second-guess your efforts. The only thing you can do, as a writer, is focus on your love of creation and the knowledge that if you are working hard, you will get better every day. Maybe just a tiny, immeasurable bit better, but still, a bit better every day. You can trust in that. And you know, no matter how bad you started out, if you keep improving at that snail's pace, someday you will be good.
I don't know if I'll ever be a great writer. The odds are high that I'm not going to be my generation's Ray Bradbury. But I can work hard to uncover the best word-smith I have buried inside of me.
And who knows? Maybe she's not half bad.