Well, I'd say LEARN THE CRAFT! You don't have to take a degree in creative writing, and I understand they vary in quality. Read widely to see what other authors do, and read books on writing by Sol Stein, and my own favourite, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne, which is less discursive than Stein. Then write 30 or 40 stories in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person, present and past tense and as many genres and styles as you can manage. After this you may be ready to tackle a novel!