Rachelle Gardner with some sound advice:
If you’re a fairly new writer, unpublished, you should probably be focusing on art and craft. Sure, it’s fun to spend your leisure time cruising the Internet and learning about agents, publishers, and how the industry works. But the bulk of your time should be spent on writing. Learning to write is first and foremost. Are you a freshman writer? If you’re spending more time learning about publishing than working on your writing… do you think you might be getting ahead of yourself? None of the business aspects will be relevant to you if your writing isn’t strong enough.
I think this makes good sense for all writers, not just those who are new to the game.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about 'chunking' - the idea that to stay focused it's a good idea to separate large pieces of work up into smaller, more manageable pieces. I think the same logic applies here too.
It can be very difficult to concentrate on the here and now when the slightly sexier stuff is up ahead. It's easy to lose track of what you need to do to reach that sexy stuff.
Unfortunately, concentrate and keep track is exactly what you and every other writer needs to do. There's no point thinking about the what ifs if you don't have a complete piece of work.
First thing first is exactly the right mantra. Focus on the work that needs doing now - on being a better writer - and let the rest take care of itself in good time.