A great post by Sarah Duncan is an inspiration to aspiring writers. It shows the importance of not giving up what you love, even when circumstances can get discouraging. I've decided I'm going to keep writing, whether I get published or not. Because I love it, and because I'm compelled to. Besides, you may be surprised at who is getting published these days, in addition to the sometimes preventable fall out that affects publishers.
Lately, I've been concerned if my book is agent ready. In addition to Eliza Green's post I received very good feedback from today's #askagent session from Sara Megibow and Kevan Lyon on Twitter. It revealed the importance of critique groups, and the importance of letting go of a piece once it's been properly tampered with. Along these lines, a good friend of mine (who used to work in the publishing biz) gave me the following advice: Don't treat your novels like your children. Embrace them as an extension of you, not as a part of you. In other words, cut the cord! This sort of distance will allow you to better accept necessary criticism when it (inevitably) comes your way.
But before submitting, do check out this very useful post, Submissions 101, by BookEnds, LLC, a great agency blog to check out if you haven't already.
So, by all means keep striving to the top, but learn as much as you can on the way, and try to pay it forward if you can--newly published authors need our support to help garner their audience! And, for perfectionists like me--when your work is ready, cut the cord, and don't be afraid to release your written art to the world.