So, in no particular order:
1. I wish I didn't query so soon. While I learned a lot from querying four novels, I also think I caused myself more pain and rejection than necessary. The thing is, deep down I knew my work wasn't really ready, but I'd hoped to get in anyway. I was being lazy, trying to do as little as possible.
2. I wish I didn't spend so much time online. I have made great connections and learned a TON from being part of the online community, but at the same time it distracted me from the most important aspect of being a writer—writing. I did it the wrong way. I networked first, focused on my writing second. It should be the other way around.
3. I wish I hadn't cared so much about getting published. That probably sounds weird, but it's one of my biggest regrets. I spent more time trying to be a Published Author than trying to be a Good Writer. It was only when I put being a Good Writer first that the whole Published Author part followed.
4. I wish I'd spent more time studying the craft. I used to think my natural talent would get me through the gate. I would write stories without much thought to if the plot worked or not, if the characters were real or not, if the world made sense or not. I feel like I squandered my talent for a long time because I relied solely on talent instead of pushing myself to get better.
5. I wish I took editing seriously. I spent way too long doing edits that did not cut it. Sadly, it wasn't until my 8th book that I really learned how to revise. Before that, I would do as little as humanly possible to satisfy my crit partners' concerns. I never made big enough changes, never believed I NEEDED to make bigger changes. It was only when I really dug in, saw my story as malleable, that I truly improved.
6. I wish I didn't follow publishing news so closely. Learning about major deals and tours and cover reveals and all that only made me antsy and frustrated. I could have used my time obsessing over those things to write a stellar book. Or five. And I would have had more confidence to do it, too.
7. I wish I spent more time living and less time waiting. Sitting around refreshing my inbox got me nowhere. It sounds harsh, but I wasted a lot of time letting The Wait torture me. I could have been living, doing new things, gaining experiences that would create new stories for me to write. Writing, while it is a lot of work, also requires inspiration, and I let myself get low on that.
8. I wish I read more. I'm a slow reader, but I'm also a bit lazy there, if I'm being honest. I would rather write than read. I wasn't that passionate reader growing up—even then I preferred to tell my own stories. But I could have been learning a lot from reading more. And I always get inspired or learn something new about the craft when I read the work of others.
9. I wish I spent more time with my family. I'm not proud of it, but there was a time that I seriously lost track of my priorities. I let the pursuit of publication take over my life, and well, it made me miserable. No matter what my goals are, I should have never let it jeopardize the rest of my life.
10. I wish I would have focused on being a better writer sooner. It always comes back to your writing. That's one of the biggest lessons I've learned the past five years. Everything goes well when I stop freaking out and just get back to my writing. Becoming a good writer, always seeking improvement, writing stories that challenge my ability, this is the foundation for everything else. When I work on my craft, the rest falls into place. It may not seem like it, but all the other stuff (yes, book deals included) comes second.