I'm sitting here watching Project Runway, and thinking of what I can learn from this show that will help me in my own work. It may not seem like a reality show about designers and real life creative writing may have much in common, but here are some things to keep in mind:
-Be ready to push through sickness, time constraints and surprises. These designers get things thrown at them all the time, but in order to make it, they have to be ready to deal with it. So do writers.
-Be dedicated. Work as hard as it takes to make deadlines. The difference between you and your competition is how hard you work.
-Be professional but also unique, both in your writing and as a person. The girls have to follow the rules and create pieces that fit modern style and the tastes of the judges, and writers do too. Our readership is our judge. We can't create something so out there they just don't get it, but we don't want to create something that just blends in with the crowd either.
-Be teachable. From what I've seen the girls who make have the most success are willing to take advice from professionals. Again, you can't give up your own unique voice, but don't discount advice from people who have made it further than you have.
-Be observant and attune. Get inspiration from everything around you, especially things that other people might not notice. This is one situation where I can imagine it would be helpful for writers to carry around a camera, and just practice seeing the world through a photographers eye. But don't just observe visually, be aware of sounds, insinuations in things people say, smells, the way things feel under your fingers. Let it all inspire you.
Hope this helps. Happy writing!