Unsolicited advice from somebody that is not unsuccessful:
Whatever it is you want to do, do it every day on a rigid schedule. Treat it like work. If this sounds antithetical, this is not what you should be doing, whatever it is.
This list will be about writing, since that is my frame of reference. Moving on -
Write in as many different modes as you have the means to, even if one does not strike you as being exactly what you want to do forever and ever: poetry, fiction, journalism, magazine writing, updates, feature writing, blog posts, tweets, grants, press releases, ad copy, letters - moving progressively into new realms for different reasons, it keeps you aware of how you sound and why you’re saying what you’re saying.
Be proactive and extend your services to people who need them. IE: a new cafe opens down the street, you like them, they have no room in their budget for marketing. Write them a press release, build them a tumblr, pitch a story/interview to your local newspaper or magazine.
Publish a lot. Make sure it’s good. Support friends’ publications and shoot high at the same time. You should have enough work on hand if you are writing every day.
Read a lot. New things from houses you like and tiny tiny presses. Figure out who you believe in and support them (promote their events, interview writers/editors).
Go to school but then get out, unless you want to teach which I think is great.
Don’t listen to other people, I would say almost especially people you like and who like you. That is not to say don’t make friends but don’t take anything work-related to heart, which is easier to do with someone you admire than a detractor.
Be sure before crusading into the building of your content that you are indeed equipped with points to make and you are not just writing because you want to write and so you have to write something.
Consider your own desire justification for your hard work, as opposed to money. Doing something for the money is perfectly justified, but if the money is not there that second, it absolutely will not be there when your desire is not there.
Do read author bios and mastheads always every time you like something, look at where the people you admire are publishing and what they’re doing.
Tell somebody when you like something (the person who did it, the internet, your parents, your friends that read).
“So many dreams are crowding upon me now that I can scarcely tell true from false: dreams like light imprisoned in bright mineral caves; hot, heavy dreams; ice-age dreams; dreams like machines in the head.”—Anna Kavan
“Listen to your heart when it’s calling for you. Listen to your heart, there’s nothing else you can do. I don’t know what you’re blogging and I don’t know why. Listen to your heart before you get self-conscious and quit.”—Zach Lubow
Part of me thinks it’s too soon to be writing about this because I don’t think I’ve completely processed how I feel, but I also think maybe this has happened to other women and I should talk about it in as raw a way as possible. I’m still really embarrassed and ashamed and garbled up inside, but maybe this can start a helpful discussion in terms of women and comedy.