Genre writing is all well and good, but what about the writing that makes people remember that they’re living in the same world as the characters. I like that because, like all classic literature, it serves as a record of the past.
You don’t have to be that smart to write well. It helps, but raw intelligence is only part of the equation. Another part is life experience. The third part is intuition. The last bit may come as a surprise, so let me elaborate.
Good intuition means that you can judge someone in a single glance. It doesn’t have to be accurate judging either, it just has to be fast and assured. Confidence in judging people translates into confidence in writing. Practice makes for confident writing too.
Sound intuition can also come with practice. To be a writer it helps when you have a natural predisposition towards accurately judging people in the same way it helps if your IQ is over 120.
There’s always someone who’s better than you, smarter, more well-traveled, more innate sense of street smarts. All that you control is how hard you work. Derek Jeter’s parents used to tell him that when he was a kid.