But. I may never have been paid for a piece of my fiction, but I do get paid to write. One of my three jobs is freelance copywriter. It may not be in the way I originally dreamed (and still am going to make happen!) but I am a professional writer.
Copywriting might seem pretty divorced from writing novels at first glance. It's technical, it's specific, it's short. But if your love is writing, and you want to get paid as a writer, it can be a pretty cool option.
For one thing, can I just tell you how gratifying it is to get money for something I've written? Honestly, the first time I got paid for it I called my dad and was so excited to officially be making money (any money at all!) as a writer. It's a confidence boost!
Plus, any job where I get to practice my writing is invaluable to me. Learning to write in all different modes is essential. The versatility of being able to switch up your tone, word choice, and sentence structure can only help you in writing novels. Maybe you'd never use that technical writing ability in a novel, but picking up on a style that's so different from your preferred voice might help you with a tricky first person story or a character who speaks very differently from those around her. You never know.
And, even if I'm in a rut with my fiction, I'm constantly writing. I'm still used to cranking out several hundred words in a day, or a couple thousand a week. I'm using those muscles no matter what. Going from copywriting to novels might be like switching from one sport to another, from cardio to weight-training, but I'm always writing.
Freelance isn't for everyone, and neither is copywriting, but I hope I've given you all something to think about, especially younger people trying to figure out how to make a career and a life out of being a writer!