Depends on where you're trying to write, as in, to whom and for whom. If you're an author, I personally think it helps to have another author mention you. So, it's true - it's not what you know, it's who - often enough.
Papers: it helps to have a journalism degree and an impeccable portfolio of writing columns, editorials etc. But newspapers are on the decline; I don't have to mention why this is. It has to do w/ 1's and 0's, but not those on the Franklins papers are bringing in.
Blogs...Hubs... I wouldn't bother, though from what I see on
Hubpages, Hubbers are more deserving than Bloggers of their earnings. There is overlooked talent on Hubpages, in my humble opinion.
Of these, I would get to cranking out either novels, or non-fic if you've the credentials to write non-fic. And I would join a writers league, go to conventions, push, push and push your work more and more with outstanding query letters to targeted agents known for representing your genre.
I don't think there is a better rule of thumb than to keep at it, ultimately, since no one knows you until they do. That means being persistent even when you feel like your Hubpages #'s don't reflect what you believe is quality writing. I'm no one in my own eyes, but I feel I write well enough to turn a few heads from time to time. The law of odds/probability is certainly in favor of try, try again, and again and again ad infinitum if necessary/possible.
There is no, "real world," and that helps us as we work toward getting published and earning deserved accolades from those who happen to matter. The world is more often than not, pretentious and cold. Fake! & bubbles - burst them yourselves before someone else does to the effect that it halts your literary inertia. Once you get that breath of fresh writing air into your belly knocked out, it is REAL WORLD HARD to get it back.
To make a living as a writer, though, is a real likelihood in spite of the phonies that you're definitely going to have to steamroll over in life, which is undoubtedly the only way to make a living - steamrolling over the competitors.
Beat them to the punch with an idea they are 3 chapters behind you on by getting it prepped and ready for the agent to tell you - "YOU ARE JUST WHAT WE"VE BEEN WAITING FOR." And that, is REAL WORLD AWESOME -- or so I would imagine.
You see, I have the same question, and look at me trying to answer it for the both of us... LOL :)
Good luck beating them to the punch! Strike 1st!!!