I found a link to a blog I hadn't been following but might just need to. Chase Jarvis is a photographer, but like most good creators his advice is pretty universal, and when he lists the ten things that all creative people need to know, it's advice I'd take to heart. Yes it's more for photographers, but I'll be bold and say if you can't make the application to your own career, then you might just be in the wrong line of work.
It's always odd to read someone's advice blog that starts off telling you "don't pay too much attention to expert opinions and advice blogs." They make up such a large part of the author internet circle it seems like there's no other way to connect. Well, except for conventions of course. It seems our choices are advice columns or dressing up as Star Wars characters.
For the record, any business where you can dress up as a wookie and do business is a good business. That should be the theme of the next SFWA party.
My new character creation system is working I think: I haven't even started the actual prose, and yet I've created detailed characters I care about and can't wait to tell stories with. I'm not sure which one I'll work on first, but I've got the sordid tale of two small-time thieves getting caught up in the politics of Paladins and Polytheism, and the first heist of a thief blessed and cursed with the power to make anyone do exactly what he says.
I seem to be caught up on rogues lately, but that's understandable. I think I've played a magical rogue in almost every RPG I've ever played. Really, why would you want to fight an orc when you could turn invisible, take his stuff and convince him to go out and fight for you?