So Kristin Nelson had a very important lesson on her blog today. A lot of famous authors have had to learn that lesson as well. Brandon Sanderson and his agent Jashua Blimes have commented on the drawer full of novels he had written and were not good enough for Elantris, his first published novel. And Marie Lu's first sale is a huge one. I actually send my condolences because the pressure for her next novel is going to be a bitch. Good wishes and all the support I can offer that she rises to the challenge. (I think I would be a mess.)
This is a lesson I'm having trouble with but not having trouble with. I have a rule, one new novel per year. Rewriting does NOT count as a new novel. New from scratch, never been finished before, that's new. Between requested revisions and non-requested revisions, I didn't finish my first novel this year until September (PRINCE OF CATS). I honestly don't know if I'll finish my second before the end of December (WHAT'S BEHIND THE CROOKED DOOR?). I won't have a completed draft of either before years' end. That's rough.
Here's the catch. I write fantasy and in fantasy, the world is effectively a character. I'm not so much consumed with the stories. They couple I've rewritten have changed to varying degrees. What I'm married to are the settings. The notion of abandoning the settings for new stories is something I haven't been able to do. I love those settings and I want other people to see them too. The problem is, having written a story in them (or a couple, for one world), it's hard to completely divorce what you've written for that setting and start fresh.
So, I excuse the whole thing by saying, as long as I write one new novel a year, it doesn't matter if the rest of my time is spent revising. That may burn me in the future, but for now, it's a middle ground I've found for myself.