I often get asked this question – especially from people who want to write but are scared to start. So here’s my two cents.
You only need three things.
First, you need self-discipline to write. No matter what, you set a goal for yourself and you write. Most authors will write a chapter or 500 words every single day. No matter what. No matter how you feel, you put in the time. You write a terrible page, a sub-par chapter or words that don’t feel right, but you still write. That kind of self-discipline goes a long way. At some point, writing will become a habit and you will re-write all those pages and hope that it will flow and make sense and hit home.
Second, as a direct consequence of the first habit of self-discipline, you need a willingness to learn. Be your own worst critic, find better ways to convey a thought. If you keep doing this, and course-correcting as you go along, your spelling, grammar and skill will get better.
Third, you need to read. If you don’t read, you don’t grow your treasure chest of ideas. You don’t expand your ideas and viewpoints, you don’t become a better writer. Reading is wealth because it’s a conversation beyond time and space with someone who wants to share her deepest thoughts with you. Thoughts which you won’t get when you small-talk about the weather, or your weekend.
That’s really it – no matter how you feel, write, read, and re-write.
“The only kind of writing is rewriting.” – Ernest Hemingway