According to research by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, to become an expert in something, you need to spend 10,000 hours practising it, allied to some talent.
He goes on to prove that theory for sports people, musicians and computer programmers.
The question is, how does that apply to writing? Is it just the writing that counts. or do we include researching, planning and reading?
In short, what skills make a good writer and what do we need to practice at?
Here's my list:
Writing of any form. Emails only count if you put time and effort into creating them.
Critical reading. Whenever you read with one eye on style and substance, such as reading a book with the aim of writing a review of it.
Planning. Programmers. musicians and sports people plan their training in order to get the most benefit from it, so why discount it for writers.
Researching. Knowing what to leave out is as important as knowing what to put in. Discovering what makes a good story can only help you write a good story.
If you can put in 10,000 hours doing those things you will be an expert. It may even help you get published!