When I got out of the service I decided that I wanted to make a career as a writer. I was given an introduction to a successful writer who offered this advice on how to get started:

"Go somewhere and write for a year."

I was a bit disappointed in the Zen Master style of this advice but given that the guy was quite successful and also taught writing I figured, what-the-heck, why not?

I put in a full year and just about wore out a portable typewriter. During that time I found my "voice" as a writer, along with the self-discipline needed to eventually produce a long and very complex non-fiction bestseller.

If you need extra income as you write, find some mindless job that won't distract you too much from writing. I've seen too many cases where new writers chased money before developing a personal creative style that set them apart from the pack.