1. Read. Read something you enjoy, but be aware why you like it and use that to teach yourself. Never plagiarize, but analyze, study, and try your hand at a mentor sentence. Copy it onto paper, dissect it, and use its structure to form your own creation.
2. Finish a project all the way through to its finished manuscript form. Have someone read it, but ask them specific things to look for – Where is it difficult to understand? Where was the pacing slow? What would you edit out? What would you have added? Listen carefully to their suggestions and consider them while your revise and edit for one last time.
3. Learn the business. Unless you are writing to store all your work in the top drawer of your dresser, or to bore relatives with private readings at Thanksgiving, you will need to learn where to market your work. You will need to learn how to market your work. What editors or agents would represent you the best? Who publishes your genre? How do you gain a readership? How do you sell your product, especially in this brave new world of self-publishing and e-books?
4. Feed your body, mind, and soul. Whether your sit, stand, or lay down while writing make sure you mix it up. Find time to exercise once a day. Eat well balanced meals. Meditate, pray, read uplifting materials. Read something totally opposite from the genre you write. If you write fiction, try non-fiction. If you write novels, read poetry. Socialize with others and keep in touch with the outside world. Do good deeds. Caring for your body and your mind helps to feed your soul.
5. Never stop learning and creating. Learn a new dance, try a new recipe, take a trip, make a new friend, then grab your laptop or a pen – and write. There is no substitute for it – to learn to write, you have to actually do it.