Tip #3 to be traditionally published: Be playful
I suggest you stop thinking of these tips of mine as work and start having fun with your writing.
First, dress the way you would for a reading, featuring only you in front of the literati of New York society, all of whom have paid $250 each to see and hear you read. Have fun preparing for this. Pick out just the right outfit from things you already have, make yourself recklessly handsome, startlingly beautiful, with whatever you think will make you stand out as the world's greatest writer. Some writers will wear virtually nothing draped cunningly over their female bodies and a huge thick sweater buttoned in the middle. Some will try to decide between the bookish look and the elegant. Whatever your idea is of the perfect appearance for this all-important reading, make it yours. Men, wear your five pounds of 24k gold chain, or a cashmere scarf or the perfect tie - loosened or not; decide on your sock colour and pattern, decide whether you want to look a tiny bit unscrubbed, whether you'll wear your trousers rolled, and what about hair gel? A key-tag for a Mercedes from the dollar store could fall out of your pocket as you open your briefcase... or not. Maybe no briefcase? A folder? A stack of dog-eared papers? Make this role yours. Women, you're already just fine at choosing the role for the occasion. The big question is, boots to the knees, sensible pumps, stilettos or birkenstocks? Answer that, and all the rest will follow.
Become the much more important and much better writer than any of the writers you've been reading in the anthology or the magazine.
Think yourself into the role, and you will be surprised at your own writing.
Attitude changes how you write. A desperate attitude comes through into your writing. So, if you are desperate, let go of your desperation. Be more casual. Let loose a bit.
Do not think, "I'm doing this stupid workshop to get published, I'm desperate to get published, I know I'm not as bad as lots of the writers/illustrators I see out there, so really all I have to do is follow a magical formula which they know and I don't, and then I'll get published."
Think, instead, "I'm taking this workshop to have fun with words and with other writers and just to have fun, period. I'm already better than 90% of the writers I read, I know that, so maybe the reason I'm not published traditionally yet is that I've just been a bit too serious with my writing till now. From now on, I will work in order to have fun."
Yes. Work to have fun. I know from personal experience that *that is the magic formula to get published traditionally.
You might think it's just pretending, so it won't work. Wrong. What this is, is a way to enter into your own inner self who is already a perfect writer, and to write your way back out of your inner self, bringing the words of your work of art with you.