Dani Shapiro has a depressing but ultimately hopeful essay in the LA Times, "A Writing Career Becomes Harder to Scale": "Every single piece of writing I have ever completed — whether a novel, a memoir, an essay, short story or review — has begun as a wrestling match between hopelessness and something else, some other quality that all writers, if they are to keep going, must possess." Read the whole piece.
A most excellent essay by A.S. King (and I recommend checking out the whole series it's a part of–The Writer's Middle Finger), "When You Lose Hope, or Hey–Don't Aim That Thing at Me!": "There are plenty of fine books that are never published. I can't tell you if yours is one of them, but it's a fact. Yours could be one of them. And I’m not talking first books here. I'm talking about this happening any time. There are people who’ve been on Oprah's book club who have had to put beautifully written books back into the drawer. It happens."
Tansy being smart on "kickass" heroines and urban fantasy: "What I love about the urban fantasy genre is that it tells the story from the POV of the kickass female protagonist, instead of presenting her as someone hot to look at who acts conveniently exactly like all the guys in the same story. Where she is at her most effective, Ms Kickass has a network of supporting characters who show her as a complex, three dimensional character, more than just a montage of karate chops, cleavage-in-vinyl and hair-not-tied-back-while-kicking-arse-omg. Sadly she is still, very often, the only strong woman in a man’s world. I love it when she isn't." And, again, let me recommend Margaret Ronald's first Evie Scelan novel Spiral Hunt, if that sounds interesting to you. Bike courier heroine! Really great writing! (And her new one, Wild Hunt, is out or out soon, I believe, though I haven't gotten a chance to read it yet.)