I'm sure anyone with a significant number of stories sold will likely read this and think, "noob." :) Veterans probably don't go "squee" when they receive a little bit of recognition. I just found that a story of mine has been selected as a finalist for the DragonComet short story contest, with final winners announced at next year's LTUE conference.
I doubt you've heard about this contest unless you're a regular attendee at LTUE, a writer-centric conference held each February in Provo, Utah. It's not a big name contest. My world won't likely change much based on being a finalist. The upside is that becoming a finalist (and possible winner) puts a new paving stone in the path.
I've read quite a bit recently about how short stories are a good way to break into writing. They give you contacts, references, and in general ease your way along in the market. Not to say it's ever easy; just that it can be less difficult.
This has proven true with me. In the past year and a bit I've attended a steampunk convention (twice), Salt Lake Comic Con, CONDuit, and LTUE, have had my short story "Revolutionary" published in the anthology Steel & Bone based on another writing contest, and have made a lot of new friends. Some of those friends and acquaintances are writers, editors, agents, small press publishers, or (like myself) have recently started to take writing more seriously.
So if you're wondering whether to jump in and start writing, or if you're wondering what to do with your writing, or better yet if you MUST write and you figure you might as well make something of it, there are lots of contests out there to get you started, and many are free to enter. Good luck to you as you plow through the learning curve, no matter where on that curve you are right now.