I'd like to start with what I've learned as a writer in all my years pursuing a literary career, what it has led to, and more or less an explanation into the madness of such a pursuit. I would like to touch on the things that have helped me as a writer, in the hopes that it helps others to minimize mistakes and strengthen and quicken their writing, all the while becoming a better writer in all aspects.
With that, let us examine what it takes to write well.
When I set out to become a writer, I was well into my twenties. I wanted to start with something simple, something I could do, something realistic and that could be accomplished. I began to look at short stories for young people, teen boys mainly. I bought into the science fiction and fantasy genre, thinking it gave me the most room to do things with short stories. Naturally I started at the beginning. I did light research into the field and found an appropriate place to start, the 1930's, learning in my light research it was really the dawning of the genre. I bought a few anthologies and when I found a few writers that did things I wanted to emulate, I began to research those writers a little more in depth. Isaac Asimov was a particular help because he wrote so much. I found anthologies of stories from every year of the 40's and 50's, usually put together by the writers I enjoyed reading, like Asimov. I tried to read briefly in each year, maybe select four or five stories in any year and read read read. I bought old pulp magazines of science fiction, and really began to enjoy surrounding myself with the popular figures of the field, those who were considered the best, and I gobbled up their material, all while experimenting with my own stories and sentences.
Six years later - (I know, well, writing understand first is a consuming career but I really enjoyed the writers and stories) - I had my own short novel for teen boys on Amazon getting five star reviews. https://www.amazon.com/Goblin-Remedy-Nathan-Murrell-ebook/dp/B00XS3FWT0 (Yes I write under many names, use many pseudonyms.)
That in a short explaination is what it takes to begin a journey.
Surround yourself with the writers you want to emulate, buy into what you're writing and read heavily. Stephen King said in his book, "On Writing" to always be reading.
Find a place to secure as your writing domain. It doesn't have to be a great library. A closet works, as long as it's ventilated. Write with music, write in silence, write at two in the morning in the fog of sleep, write at noon...figure out a place and time that works and do it consistent.
I was once told in a college creative writing course that a professional writer averages about two thousand words a day. Listen, that's great and all but that's not a necessity, what I've found that helps is to just be consistent, write four-hundred words a day, after six months you will surprise yourself with how much a little over the course of time can do. Shakespeare himself said, with one of my favorite quotes:
"And many strokes, though with a little axe
hew down and fell the mighty timbered oak"
Most of us are nice people by nature, but by being a writer one has to be a little greedy, which is not in most of our nature. You have to find time to write, make time, don't delay. It's okay to be stingy with YOUR time as you become a better writer. Stephen King also said in his book on writing, he has a set time of 9am-Noon, and with that on a daily basis he is able to accomplish and write all he does, just three hours a day.
Get greedy, make time for yourself, an hour or two a day or during the night is necessary, not just a suggestion.
And one thing I want to emphasize is clarity. Writers so often get caught up in the fancy use of words and want to expel that onto others and force people to look up words seldom used in this day and age and never used in common dialogue between people.
Be clear. Always speak clearly.
And as a writer, always work toward an ending. When you come up with a story idea, ask "where do I want this to go, how do I want this to end?" And write toward that end. It's okay if the ending shifts or if the idea changes or something alters from how you the writer had it originally planned, let it go, change it to how it works best for you, as the story teller. I have found this cures writers block, always write toward the end and you should rarely get lost on the road to an ending.
Lastly, to be a writer, don't be afraid to Sell Out. That little tid bit about me in the beginning is all true, and I became an avid science fiction and fantasy fan and never was prior to that time in my life. Then the television series "The Big Bang Theory" came out, a bunch of adults who carry on their lives surrounded by science fiction and fantasy and comics and many other things, in my mind that was a clear signal that it's okay to sell out and surround yourself with the objects and themes one is writing about. Read books on writing while reading books in the genres you enjoy writing in, explore what has been done and what is being done currently in the field. Write all the time, it's okay, sell out. I remember a science fiction convention where I was on the panel and a young aspiring writer asked, what does it take to become a good writer... I answered immediately, the only solution I've ever found, "One has to write." And if you write, do it well, with intention and clarity.