1) Fear of the query—I rarely submitted my work because I was afraid I couldn’t write a good query. As it happened, I only queried five people—four of whom I’d met at conferences. The fifth person was a writing instructor’s agent so I “knew” her through her client.
2) Fear of the synopsis—ditto what I said above. This one still gets me—my editor will read new partials, fall in love with them, and then the whole process is held up because I’m stalling on the synopsis.
3) I thought each person I sent my story was THE ONE who would fall in love with it—so when I did query, I would wait patiently for months and months before getting rejected. (OK, not so patiently—and you’d think haunting an empty mailbox for months on end would have inspired some simultaneous submissions, but alas—no.)
4) I ran a couple of mini-conferences—by myself. While it’s nice to know some of the people who attended did end up getting published from the connections they made at my conferences, I spent way too much time crunching numbers, contacting speakers and answering emails. Volunteering feels good, but I lost countless hours I could have spent writing—or perfecting a query.
5) Children—Just kidding. My two darlings were hardly a misstep, and when I had just one, I had grandparent help, but when kid number two came along seven weeks early, there wasn’t a lot of time or energy to put into writing. I never did perfect that balancing act, and much of my writing was put on hold until both kids were in school.