So if you have no life, no experience, no understanding, no empathy, no perception and no imagination can you still be a good writer? If you are talentless, closed-minded, prejudiced, work-shy, self-involved and self-righteous can you write anything of quality?
Do you need me to answer that? Really?
Ok, here's the long answer:
Even a great story can't be saved from a dullard
We've all been there – some guy at work starts to tell us how he was kidnapped by aliens after managing to escape the bank-robbery he accidentally stumbled upon whilst rescuing the injured nun from the rabid wolf-hound. But because his delivery is dull, his timing absent, his voice monotone and his details irrelevant, we've sloped off to talk to the wall before we die of boredom.
On the other hand, Jane the receptionist has us hanging on her every word as she regales us with tales of how god-awful her ironing pile is, how she overcame the challenge of her ever increasing dirty-dish tower, how she resurrected the roast-dinner she'd sacrificed five minutes before her mother-in-law showed up – because she does it with humour, sensitivity and an ability to engage her audience.
'Write what you know' is awfully close to 'boring your reader senseless'
Ever ask someone something at work and they start banging on about what they know, ad nauseam, rather than what you need to know. Even worse, they tell you even if you know it already, and it's still not the damn thing you asked them about? Imagine that person writing a book. Now, try and imagine yourself buying it…
A happy ending is no ending at all
I'll get closure if I get that promotion. Everything will be all right if I just take a holiday. I will find eternal happiness if I marry that hot girl from marketing. My life will be complete if someone will just publish this horse-shit of a manuscript.
No you won't. Nonsense. Complete tripe. Dream on. Those things aren't goals – they're starting lines.
I could go on, but you'd probably like the short answer now.
I've said it before and I'll keep saying it – writing isn't just about words. They are a small part of it – to become a better writer, you have to become a better person. What that means, only you can decide.