Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that one out. So far, all I know is you’ve got to be more dedicated to the craft than your liver; more dedicated to your liver than Bukowski (unless you are Bukowski or Dylan Thomas reincarnated); and so dedicated to your words that even low wages and poverty doesn’t discourage you from chasing that dragon.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to have an relative in publishing or journalism. Seriously, anyone have a relative in publishing (ha).
It seems as though the best writers simply exist as such, but don’t believe the hype. Even the most prodigious and respected prose-crafters spend hours on sentences and decades honing their skills–which is fine if you have a publisher or a patron feeding you and housing you.
For the rest of us, we just need to keep developing our savvy and running with the jagged edge of our hubris until either our head breaks that brick wall or we die trying and get a very nice epitaph. Although, please, for my sake, don’t die trying. Even the written word only barters for so many pictures.
Good luck, friends and colleagues. I’ll see you on whatever side there is.