Most people know that in addition to my day job I teach writing classes on the side, and have been for two years.
No matter how classes I teach, someone, usually on the first day of class, raises their hand and asks, "How do I go about getting an agent."
If you're in my class, the answer is, "You don't."
I don't know what it is about writing that makes everyone think that they can do it, and on top of that, make money off it. Just because someone can string sentences together and write e-mail does not mean that they can do this for a living. Being a writer is just as difficult as any other job, yet I am amazed by how many people think that doing what myself and so many of my friends do as easy. Techincally I can play the guitar, but you don't see me in a recording studio laying down tracks. I have enough sense to know that there is more to a music career than just writing catchy tunes.
Any writer will tell you that sometimes the act of writing is physically painful. It hurts to sit in front of your computer all day, usually hopped on caffeine or some other stimulant, and force the creative out.
There is a certain dizziness that comes from being inside your head all day long, and it's a dizziness that can only be stopped by a long run or doing manual labor around the house. Too many writers try to stop the mental exhaustion with liquor and drugs. A musician can spend all day long in his room, write a song and then play it at an open mic, and get immediate feedback. A writer doesn't have that luxury. Feedback can take weeks or years. That's a long time to wait until efforts are validated.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. People who don't write for a living need to understand that writing a book is the destination. The journey will take many steps, many drafts, and much frustration. The first step is sitting in the class taught by myself and so many others like me. The second is sitting down and writing. And writing. And writing some more. When it starts to drive you crazy, you know that you're on the right track.
In the meantime, don't think about agents or how to meet an editor. Don't think about whether you should self-publish or how much it costs to retain a publicist. Don't worry about what people will think if you open yourself up on the page. Sit down. Shut up. And write.
You want to be a writer, dont' you?