I have signed two contracts this year; I have sold two pieces. One was a poem, the other an essay. The amount of money I’m making from these sales is truly negligible. Nobody is getting rich writing but if you want to share your work and tell a good story, it’s very rewarding to be paid for it, even if that payment isn’t large.
My one piece of advice for those of you interested in starting a career as a writer: You can submit short pieces to places that won’t pay you and that’s fine, but never pay to have your work published. It’s not about vanity—it’s not about you—it’s about the work you do.