So, it depends on your goals, really. It depends on how much you’re trying to make (full time living vs side gig or fun money) and what you want to write. Are you dedicated to writing only fiction, or are you open to writing on real-world topics?
Actually, first let me say in full disclosure: I’ve had fiction published in mags and journals for $ (very little) and have a book out. I also have a steady music-journalism side gig (decent money and gives me the opportunity to talk to people like the B-52s). I’ve also done lots of one-off freelance gigs, everything from outdoors blogs to editing engineering manuals.
Through all of this, I’ve kept my day job as a science editor. I got to the point where I was confident I could leave my job and freelance fulltime, but was offered some great incentives to stay.
Geez, this is getting long already but I want you to know I would never give unqualified advice. I will tell you only what I know and not exaggerate what I’ve done (something which is far, far too common among writers).
You know, this can just ramble, so if you wanted you could message me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can at least point you in the general direction.
In the meantime, places to look to get those first paying gigs:
You can also pitch magazines directly with ideas. Really, it’s hard to answer exactly because I don’t know your goals nor if you care what I have to say (ha). So, feel free to email if you care to. If not, no worries, I don’t take it personally!