1. Writers write. Writing requires time and focus (and talent, but I'll get to that). If you don't have the drive to sit at your computer for hours and write, then you're probably not going to write anything. And if you don't write anything, you're not a writer.
2. It's okay to suck. I can't count how many times in the last thirty years I started writing a story and stopped because I didn't think what I wrote was good. Of course it wasn't good. I hadn't written enough to know anything about writing. I think I had it in my head that good writers are born. There is no such thing as "the writing gene." When I finally realized it was okay to suck at writing, I started writing and couldn't stop.
3. Get gooder. Getting a Master's Degree in English is a great idea, but I'm convinced the best way to learn the craft of writing is to join the community of writers in your area. Join Wisconsin Writers Association, Wisconsin Romance Writers, or a writing studio like Red Oak. Go to critique circles, workshops, conferences, and participate in write-ins. Talk with other writers, get their feedback on your writing, learn from them. I have found writers to be incredibly encouraging, inclusive, and willing to share what they know with others.
4. Take criticism. Join a critique circle, find an on-line critique partner, or use beta readers. Then put your big girl pants on and listen to their criticism. Doesn't matter who gives it—published author, unpublished writer, or reader (never underestimate the source). Listen to what they have to say. Assume it is a valid point. Take the note gratefully and see if you can apply it to your writing. More often than not, you will learn something new and your writing will improve.
5. Give criticism. Learn how to give a constructive note. Take the time to read the work of other writers and give feedback with great consideration. The time you spend critiquing others is time spent learning more about your own writing. My mother-in-law used to say, "She can see a fly on someone else's nose, but she can't see a horse on her own behind." I'll see things in other people's work and realize I've been making the same error. Believe me, it's time well spent.