In most industrialized nations, literacy is well over 98%. This means that nearly everyone is capable of reading and writing and, as such, are capable of being writers.
However, only a very small fraction of people who can write ever attempt to actually become serious writers and, of those who do, only a fraction ever become successful at it.
There are many reasons for this, some of which include natural talent, time and other issues over which there is little control. However, there are several habits that separate those who become successful writers from those who never go anywhere with their writing.
In short, while taking on these habits may not guarantee that you'll become a successful writer, not having them will virtually guarantee that you won't. As such, they are crucial for any writer to have if they want to make a career or even a reputation out of their writing.
Successful writers write almost constantly. It's important to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) at least once a day to keep your mind in the writing mindset.
Try to set a word count goal for yourself every day, even if it is a low one at first, and try to hit it. Not only is this a great way to tackle longer projects, such as a novel, but it forces you to write even if you don't have a deadline looming, letting you work on projects along and along rather than rushing to completion.
Most great writers are also avid editors. While it's important to have others read your work and to take their suggestions humbly, you have to be your own best editor.
Learn how to edit your work carefully, reading the words aloud as you go back over it or even reading it backwards to ensure you take your time and look at what was said. Very few great works come out as diamonds in the first draft and most need a lot of polish to make them shine.
To be a successful writer, one has to read as much, if not more, than they write. Reading not only lets you see what works and what doesn't but also lets you feel the natural cadence of the written language and bring that into your work.
It's important, however, to read a variety of content. Newspapers, books, blog posts, etc. all have different styles and different elements that you can incorporate into your work. Exposing yourself to all of the content you can is crucial to having a broad understanding of writing and being able to bring in the best of all worlds.
Writing is hard work and there are many distractions that can cause you to lose your focus. Finding ways to keep on target and keep putting words on the page is crucial to completing projects, which, in turn is essential for being a successful writer.
Whether you use a full screen word processor or just sheer willpower, finding a way to stay focused on your words will help you immensely as you try to hone and improve your writing.
5. Self Promotion
This one is a problem for many writers as marketing is not a skill that comes naturally with writing talents. However, in order to go from being a talented writer to a successful one, one has to be prepared to tastefully trumpet themselves.
Marketing and promotion is far from easy, but the quicker one masters it, the faster their career will grow.
Finally, all of the above habits mean nothing if the writer isn't capable of delivering what they promise on time every time.
A writer who hasn't submitted a completed work hasn't written anything at all. So getting into the habit of meeting deadlines and constantly turning out excellent work when you do is the habit that will build your reputation and help you climb the ladder of success.
All in all, there's no real magic to becoming a great writer. It's all about working hard at your craft and constantly churning out high quality work in a timely fashion.
However, these are not skills that one develops so much as they are habits, habits that become ingrained by making an effort to do them over and over again.
Once that happens, there's almost nothing that can stop you from finding success as a writer. At that point it is only a matter of time and patience.