Writing and performing your own music is a passion shared by thousands of young musicians looking for a way to get their music heard. For many it can mean years of hard work with little financial reward aside from the odd CD sale here and there, monthly iTunes payments and gig fees that barely cover your recording costs. As a musician myself, I spent 10 years going for the big time, looking for the big break and doing it "DIY".
I was lucky enough to live rent-free with my parents during my hermit years as a musician; they knew what it meant to me and quite frankly I can't believe they didn't kick me out. However, they also had a very high work ethic and so I wasn't going to get away without earning some money to get by and I certainly didn't get handouts.
As a band, every penny we had went on studio time, PR, video production, pluggers and all the rest of it; those things don't come cheap and CD sales weren't going to cover our costs. As an independent band your aim is to make your recordings fit for radio and your promo material as professional as possible and that means you either need a manger with deep pockets or a way to earn as much cash as possible without working a 50 hour week.
At 19 years old, we were already out every week on the pub circuit and whilst that was enough to end my three year stint at Maccy D's, it wasn't going to bring in enough income to record the album I'd always dreamed of. And so while I was searching the net for music agents, I stumbled across function bands charging enough money in one evening to pay for a week in the studio! We made a few changes to our repertoire, rehearsed like crazy, used our pub fund to pay for a couple of demo's and photos and before long had our first wedding gig in the diary. Ok, I know wedding bands aren't renowned for being the coolest bands in the world, but for us, it solved our financial problems and gave us some breathing space.
Instead of spending my days working in Tesco (or any other well known supermarket) we were writing songs and rehearsing, on the net making friends, socialising and more importantly, making fans. We had a budget for advertising on Facebook and Last.fm (now Spotify perhaps?), were able to make proper videos and record in decent studios.
If that doesn't appeal to you, then the other old and trusted method is of course teaching. It's not for everyone but I tried it for a few years and found it easier to build up pupils than I thought it would be. If you're at a high playing ability and are also on the ball with theory, there's no reason why you can't make a good living by teaching guitar, bass or any other instrument. You've got to have patience though and above all, you have to enjoy it.
Failing that, you could just wake up at midday, record demo's on your grandads reel to reel, print flyers on the library photocopier and get darn good on the guitar!