When you feel like you have a pretty good handle on your writing skills and your unique voice, not a lot can stop you. You can structure a story with your eyes closed. Your writing muscle is well lubricated. You know the rules, and have fun breaking a few.
You’ll always have the self-doubt, the hair-pulling story problems, the late writing nights, the mental blocks and stumbles. But you're climbing miles up a mountain while newbies are having fun in the sandbox (what a glorious time without worries).
And you know that because of your level of experience, you probably don’t need heavy developmental editing. That doesn’t mean you won’t ask for help if you need some—you’re smart enough to recognize when you do. It just won’t cost as much.
I recently rambled about the difference between working with new authors vs. experienced authors:
When you’re experienced, I won’t be busting a kidney to explain point-of-view or giving you a bazillion examples for how to fix a story problem. Well, only when you need me too. (I never liked that kidney anyway.) But usually you get the idea. And you run with it. Beautifully.
Bottom line? You’ve given less work for a book editor to do. That’s money back in your pocket.
I want you to have that money in your pocket. Buy the wine. Buy ALL the wine.
Getting to this level isn't easy. I encourage new writers to do as much as they can on their own, especially if they can’t afford an in-depth editing process. Spend time practicing in the trenches. Join other writers at your level and grow your skills (we learn faster with others). Get as far as you can from books on craft, workshops, and writing all the time (even in your head). Fail a little, question everything, and keep trying.
Never give up on something you care about. Especially when it eats at you, fighting its way out.
In the end, the time you put into yourself is well spent.