Well, it's a big ask. I was going to suggest books, but I see that you and your friend are ahead of me.
I have two suggestions. This kind of big question might be a good one for http://sweetwater.com
, which is a big music hardware and software outfit. They have a big staff to handle questions like yours; they never seem to get tired of answering and helping musicians--- and you can talk with them online or on the phone, free.
They have a big section with a lot of useful books, and there is software to help you write and record and score your compositions. Once you get that far, there are books that tell you how to market your work, and how to avoid the worst, at least, of the problems that can come with it.
I can tell you that they love musicians and will go quite far to help you find resources that will work for you. And, music education is an emerging part of their business: they have a regular series of classes on things like you have asked for: live teachers, there in person, hands-on, veterans of the industry. BTW, I am a happy customer, not an employee.
If you just have to get your hands on something right away, Guitar Center has a store (or more) in Chicago, and you can go talk to them and see what they have. (They are online as well, of course.) I don't mean to throw shade on them by not saying more; I think much of what has been noted about love for music and wanting to help applies. But, when you're there, they can say it themselves.
As for straight-up music education, including songwriting, there are community colleges that offer classes that would support you. And I would also say, take a look back in time to the great talents who have written wonderful songs, which have spoken, heart to heart, to the life experiences of so many. You can learn about their lives, study their work, see how they have made their mark as you're preparing to make yours. Used book and used CD stores will be your friend; these things go out of print so fast you'll have a hard time finding them at the likes of Barnes & Noble. And your music education dollar will go a lot further. The web: great resource. Wiki will answer questions about as fast as you can think them up. Also, don't overlook the Library of Congress online collections of everything you've ever heard of, including music. There's a little trick to figuring out how to use it, but it's a true mine of precious gems, free. Your tax dollars at work.
One last tip, this one from Dolly Parton: keep your publishing rights. It costs very little to register your work, and it is by far the most valuable asset. So, don't throw it away or let it be mopped for nothing. So says Dolly. Started poor, rich now; priceless advice. And--- ok, last-and-a-half: ask people in the industry to tell you things. You can write, asking for an interview. Ask how they got where they are; ask about songwriting. You don't mention your genre, but whatever it is, there will be a library that will specialize in it. I'm thinking now of Broadway musicals. New York Public Library. Or country: Nashville. Or film: (where else) Hollywood. Archives bursting with valuable information--- soak it up, and write the trip off as a business expense the first time you sell a song.