I live in southern California and have been writing stories since the age of seven.
I have learned over the past decade that the key to good writing (for me, at least) is the willingness to rewrite as many times as the story needs to reveal itself. I can’t tell you how many times I thought a book was done, only to realize that it needs another go through. I’m in this for the long run, so it doesn’t make sense to cut corners and compromise a work.
Honestly, my stories would be a shadow of themselves without the help of SCBWI and the two greatest critique groups on the planet. I’m so grateful to be in the company of such amazing talent. It keeps me on my toes and makes me strive to be a better writer.