The advice I always give the aspiring writer is persist — and don’t get stuck on one manuscript. I think that’s a mistake that a lot of writers make. They write one manuscript, one book, and then they spend an awful lot of time trying to improve it, to get it just right, whereas in fact what I think they should be doing is going immediately on to the next book and starting the second manuscript. So that’s my advice to aspiring writers: Don’t get stuck on your first book or indeed your second. Go on and write manuscript after manuscript after manuscript. Writing is like playing the piano or long-distance running; you have to practice it.
— Alexander McCall Smith