Someone asked me where to start... I sort of covered this the other day, but feels this needs another go-round.
Myth one: If you write, the editors will love whatever you do as long as you have an original voice.
Truth: Not quite.
If you understand the mechanics of writing and are willing to withstand the bluntness of a GOOD critique partner, you have a chance. BUT don't think you'll get the first thing you write picked up on the first go. It doesn't happen often. Many of the big writers started out doing magazine articles, writing short stories for free publications, writing shorts for low paying publications. You have to evolve and grow as an author. If you make it right out of the box, good for you, but you are part of the slim minority.
Myth two: You'll make lots of money right away.
Truth is, once you sign the contract, you'll have at least a year before you see the financial fruits of your labor. Even then, if you sign with a smaller publisher, the sales won't be the same as a NY publisher - that's just common sense. You may have great sales, but to make the zillions, it takes time.
Myth three: Self publishing is just as good as a standard publisher.
Truth: Ummm, no.
There is a "law" that states the money runs down to the publisher. It's true. If you have to pay someone to publish your work, then your best interests aren't at the heart of the work. Theirs is. They want to make money and take yours. Am I stepping on toes saying this... probably, but if you're paying someone to publish, then they make the money from your payment and the royalties of your work. You get what's left. That's not much. Plus, the larger publishers tend to look down on self-publishing. You may have quality work, but ANYONE can self-publish, so there's a lot of garbage going up against your work.
I have some more myths, but I'll save them for another day.
If you want to write, by all means, go for it. I'll be the first one to back you up, but if you do, take your time and do it right. Use spellcheck, use a thesaurus, have blunt people look at your work, take criticism and improve.
Remember, no one gets it right straight out of the gate, otherwise, editors and proofers would be out of jobs.
So, back to my bat cave.