#15: I answer these three questions about the novel before I start writing, from Structuring the Novel by Meredith and Fitzgerald:
~What's my intention (what's this book about, the elevator question)
~What's my attitude (what do I feel deeply about in this story)
~What's my purpose (How do I hope a reader will be changed or "In this story I'm trying to prove that....." I write many pages but try to get each question to one sentence that I paste on the top of my computer so I can look up there when I get lost half way through the story. When I'm finished I may rewrite these based on what's changed in the draft but then use it for revising. A great exercise for me. Might help others.
#16: Always do your best. Never think it's 'good enough' or that no one will notice when you haven't done your best.
#17: Never stop learning. Never. Take courses, go to workshops, use software, but above all, write. Write and edit and polish then write some more. The wise person who said you should write something every day was right though it might only be an observation in a journal.
#18: Be willing to take advice. In fact, seek it out. Find people who will offer advice be it critique of a complete manuscript or brainstorming ideas. Pay for critiques if you have to. Join groups who will offer you feed back. Enter contests that give comments.
#19: Make sure your protagonist is sympathetic from the get go. Don't expect to have an unlikable character for the first 3 or 4 chapters and then try and convince a reader to like her/him. Make sure the characters are sympathetic and honestly motivated.