I was a psychiatric nurse at the time. I just started writing stuff to kill time on summer evenings. This is why I'm always telling people who ask me what they need to do to succeed to give up, do something else. Because giving up and doing something else (nursing, for me) was exactly what eventually led me to making music that other people wanted to hear. People will complain that they don't want to wait around for lightning to strike, but why not? If you invest yourself in chance, the potential for disappointment is pretty low.
-- John Darnielle
A bit of extreme advice, but I have heard similar musings from a couple other respected people.