As a writer, I have made $150,000 (No way! That's great! Wow! You're rich! Where can I sign up?) ...
... since 2000 (Huh? But it's 2013 now, so what gives?).
Including HubPages (let's see, that's about $2 in two months), royalties, advances, revenue from Kindle titles, and university honorariums from speaking engagements, I average $12,500 a year (before taxes) as a writer.
I have not given up my day job. I will not give up my day job. I cannot give up my day job.
My living (teaching) pays the bills. Writing pays the "frills," and these frills aren't that frilly: braces, Lasik eye surgery, our first house, college tuition, textbooks, gasoline ...
In 1985, I had the choice of an entry level position with Sports Illustrated ($12,000 a year living in New York City) or a first-year teaching position ($12,186 a year living in Virginia). It wasn't the extra $186 that swayed me to become a teacher. It was the two months off to write during the summer. I have only been "off" seven times in 28 years. I now teach at a year-round school.
Here's some advice:
1) Get a job that can support you (or you and your family) first. If it involves writing, great. If it doesn't, great.
2) Write when you can.
3) Keep submitting your work--the worst anyone can say is no.
4) When you DO make some money writing, don't give up your day job, especially if it has benefits.
5) Whenever anyone asks what you do for a living, always tell them about your day job first. You'll get more respect that way.