Experts to the left of you, experts to the right of you, peddling every which-way wares. Where's a young writing dude or dudette to begin? I'll leave the nuts and bolts of writing to my learned colleagues. After decades in the field, I'm still learning the art and the business...as I'd damned well better here in EbookLandia where the funhouse floor keeps shifting and William Goldman's mantra--Nobody Knows Anything--is, more than ever, right as rain.
The things that I can talk about are the handful of things that most interest me--matters of the spirit, matters of the head. And chief among these is the need to find or carve an arc to one's career. Some find it by waiting patiently for the world to come around while they continue to do their own thing. Others hack or carve their way through the opposition, delighting in the fight. You have to know which way is right for you and then follow it truly. For the time frame's not in our control, though the odds are in our favor if we hang in long enough and refuse to bow.
That said, whichever path we take, we can be sure of this: No one can escape the need for occasional shock therapy. Remember that groovy old TV show, The Prisoner? In one episode, the ex-spy Number 6, learns that he has been 'rewired' by his captors: in an effort to break his will, they've changed his memories through hypnosis, his complete sense of himself. Formerly right-handed, now he can't stop himself from eating with his left. Etc. And, desperate to regain his Self, he contrives to change his wiring back-by half-electrocuting himself every time he uses his left hand.
Not one of us will escape the need to do the same. Our confidence will be shaken to the point where we forget our incredible faith in our talent. Our vision of our potential will weaken and blur as we age. The succor that we've always found in those sweet inner voices (You're great, baby. Yeah, you're a star...) will be lost in the waves of bleak voices (You're one of millions...You're a putz...) And we will all require new ways to rewire our hard drives and rekindle our faith.
Keep your footwork cool and cocky.