So, continuing along the line of posting my writer's tips, I'd like to put forth an opinion of mine and fish for a little feedback.
As a writer, it's ultimately your choice as to how you fare in the end. Yes, yes, I know...those looking for an agent are dependent on an agent actually accepting them, and of course, publication with a major publisher...
But all of these things are end goals, and getting there is what you have control over.
So, one thing I would highly encourage any writer truly wishing to reach their goals is to surround themselves with successful writers they know. Hang out with them, seek out their feedback on issues you're facing, and take their advice to heart. Now, it depends on the amount of success an author has (most of us aren't going to be sitting down for tea and conversation with J.K. Rowling, for example), but I've found that most authors enjoy hanging out with other authors, even if they've gotten a measure of success.
The alternatives are where I see many authors go awry. They often like hanging out with other writers who aren't serious about their craft, and then wonder why they don't end up progressing in their own journey. These writers are those who spend twenty years working on their grand masterpiece of a novel, or have started thirty different novels and have never gotten past the third chapter, or constantly show up to writer's meetings without ever having written anything to share (no offense to anyone who may be bearing witness to those, and reading this post).
But if you're serious about a career as a writer, this is not where you want to get your motivation and your advice. You want to hang out with those who've gotten contracts, those who have publications under their belt, and those who have reached the level of success you wish to attain. Because ultimately, those are the ones who know the path to get there and can lead you across the Red Sea, Moses-style.
Listen to what they have to say. Take their advice on your writing, and apply what you learn. Above all else, surround yourself with as many of these successful authors as you can stand...because it's ultimately about increasing your chances of reaching that same level with your writing.
As always, comments, criticisms, and general discussions are more than welcome!