1. Always ask questions. Whether you plan on writing fiction (stories you created) or nonfiction (real-life stories, news articles, how-to, biographies, etc.) you need to be able to ask questions and learn from them. Those answers then inform your work.
2. Ask more questions, and don’t be afraid to ask the same questions in different ways.
3. Read … a lot! This one is a little non-negotiable. In order to be a good writer you have to be a good reader. Notice I didn’t say you need to know grammar inside out or have a huge word bank in your brain, I said read. Only by reading will you learn how to string words together to form beautiful, insightful, engaging prose.
4. Writing is, in many ways, like teaching as you are educating the reader. While this is more true for nonfiction writers, I believe even novelists are educating readers about their characters, their world and their viewpoint.
5. You will need to be your own cheerleader, boss and critic. As you are starting out and learning your craft the sad fact is you will need to be your own boss. You will have to set your writing times and stick to them. Unlike your day job, no one is going to come up and say did you write your 500 words today? Did you edit that story you keep talking about sending to the local newspaper? (If you can find someone you can be accountable to — your parents, your spouse, you best friend — that’s even better.)
6. Practice makes perfect. The more you write, the better you will write.