But I don't think it's the number one thing. Hands down, I think the number one thing is.... are you ready? It's...
After all, if you persistently do something wrong, that's not going to get you where you need to go, is it? And the only way to make persistence work is if you're teachable every step of the way.
Even when your critique partner tells you something you don't want to hear.
Even when it comes from someone "behind" you on this road we're all traveling.
Even when it's constructive criticism.
Even when you think you have it made.
Even when it comes along with a rejection from an agent / editor.
Even when you're a NYT bestseller.
Even when it means a major overhaul of your manuscript.
Even when it hurts your pride.
Even when it is ohmygosh so. very. hard. Because really, sometimes it just is.
ESPECIALLY when it's so. very. hard.
If you can stay teachable every step of the way, YOU WILL MAKE IT. You will reach your goals. And when you do reach your goals, it'll help you reach the next ones. And the next, and the next....