Not an easy one to answer quickly, but here are four top points: 1. READ as widely as you can, not only within the genre you plan to write in, but across many genres including non-fiction, poetry, memoir, journalism as well as long and short fiction. This is a painless way to learn about style and form. All good writers start off (and continue) as keen readers. 2. Write something every day, even if it's only a journal entry. It helps you establish disciplined writing habits which will stand you in good stead when you find yourself having to meet deadlines. 3. Don't try to tailor your work to the market - what is hot right now will be out of fashion by the time you finish your book and start to shop it around. Instead, write the story you passionately want to write, the one that's bursting to get out. 4. Don't expect to get rich and famous quickly - that very seldom happens. Writing is mostly hard work for very little reward. We do it because we love it. We do it because we can't NOT do it. You will keep on learning and improving your craft all your life. And that's a good thing.