Your big gift as a writer is creativity - images bubbling from your unconscious to become the jottings you store in your notebook. Your big weapon is tenacity; the will to keep going. Many thousands of manuscripts are landing in publishers' slush piles each year; the odds of breaking out are staggering. As a writer, your only chance of success will come on the page, and you relish the opportunity to use your words.
You don't need a huge vocabulary; just use the one you have with energy, efficiency, and honesty. Let your voice come through. You do need drive, determination, and a sense of humour about your work. Find folly in yourself. Expose yourself to readers. Let them in.
Most of all, you need to stay open to ideas, insights, form, technique, rhythm - new ways of looking at writing. One way to stay open is to bring a character onto your stage and experiment. You sketch her first. You give her a past and some dreams and a place to live and a wardrobe that fits her lifestyle. As she comes on stage, you take notes. She lights a cigarette. What brand is it? Light falls across the glass-topped table to illuminate a film of dust. Is she the housekeeper? Where does the light come from? When she stands up, leaving her chair, where is she going? You won't know until you write it. For a writer, writing is the best test. Immerse yourself in the writer's life. The real writer's life; the writing.
... Establish a writing routine to avoid slacking off. Get each writing session going by warming up. Do mind-maps, clusters, lists. Stretch your writing muscles to clear the cobwebs. Open the mind's eye. Getting into a routine makes your weekends productive. Waiting for inspiration will cost you a lifetime of wasted writing time. Start with warm-ups:
Today most popular fiction comes with a label attached. Crime, young adult, thriller, mystery, history, chick-lit, science fiction, fantasy, romance. These interbreed so we also have chick-lit mysteries and historical crime. Then there are sub-genres such as noir, steampunk, gothic, hard-boiled, legal, police procedural, speculative and alternative history. Some of these terms have geographical limitations. American readers are always surprised to learn that the word 'mystery' means precious little to their counterparts in the UK. The US term 'cozy' - used for a crime novel that avoids nastiness such as overt violence, sex, and bad language while still managing to kill people somewhere along the way - is equally foreign to most readers outside America, though the kind of book it describes is universally popular.
Rail against the rise of the genres as much as you like, but you would be foolish to ignore it. One way or another your book will probably be defined as belonging to one of these categories, even if only tentatively. Accept that fact and start to understand how best to use it.