Today I received and email from a business colleague about a friend of his who is writing the next 'J K' success. He wanted to know what to do next.
My first thought was 'Oh no'. How do I inject some basic commonsense into this. I'm the first to encourage anyone to have a go at writing but I know from my own efforts that the first few pieces are often derivative.
It's a natural stage to go through and none the worse for that but we do need to go on from writing like someone else to writing like ourselves. In the long term that's what will work for us and what will give us the most satisfaction. I know that if I were trying to write like somebody else, I'd never know if it my own writing that was successful, or the writer I was copying.
My advice to anyone is the same regardless of what they are writing. Look at the market and understand it to see where or how you can fit in. Unfortunately, that's how most of us will be viewed by agents and publishers.
The true original will always rise to the surface because of the power of their writing. But we need to understand the reasons for rejection and deal with them. Sometimes they are nothing to do with our competence as writers, but more with the needs of publishers.
Here are two websites that are excellent sources of information for writers.
If you have the urge to write, then giving up shouldn't be an option. But I believe in giving yourself the best chance possible so arming yourself with skill and information is always a good thing.