After speaking with multiple authors at Science Fiction Conventions and learning how much work and effort goes into every novel, I decided I would write for myself, and worry about getting published later, if at all. To that end, I started keeping a personal journal. I wrote down dreams and bought books to help with writing exercises. I learned how to turn off (or mute) that little editor in my head which tells when something I write is stupid or wrong. After I learned how to turn him off, I learned when to turn him back on to write something I wanted to share. It's amazing how much easier it is to write that first draft if you can shut-up your internal editor.
Fast forward some 24 years when ebooks are finally making a mark in the world, and I just happen to have a (nearly) finished manuscript ready to go. A few hours of research, another Science Fiction Convention, and I now know I need to hire a professional editor before I dump my nearly finished manuscript on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
I sent off part of my manuscript to a full-service editor I met at Miscon. The estimate for developmental and copy editing was full of praise, and seems to have raised hopes of something interesting and fun to edit, but it was very high. After careful consideration, I've decided my manuscript has been in development for years, so I can safely go with a cheaper 'polishing' service. I've got a couple of months to wait, so I may record the book as a podcast and see if reading it out loud (again) will help me to fix any remaining problems.