John Scalzi is my hero. Not just because he's a kick-ass Sci-fi writer, reknown blogger, or a Buckeye, but because he is a truthteller, even when the truth is painful to hear. A recent post in his personal blog, Whatever, is sobering yet inspiring for anyone hoping to become a full-time writer.
His tips for writers (I paraphrase):
Prepare to be broke. I have that nailed.
Don't quit your day job. Oops.
Marry someone with a real job who knows how to handle money.
Your income is half what you think it is. Ouch!
Pay off your credit cards now and then use them like cash.
Don't have the cash for it? Then you can't have it. My favorite bit of advice.
Buy the best you can afford, then use it up. No more new cars every five years.
Get the hell out of NYC/SF/LA and move where the cost of living isn't burdensome. North Dakota is nice.
Know the entire market and accurately value your work.
Writing is a business. Act like it. (does that mean I have to wear pantyhose again? Dang! -- eds)
I highly encourage you to read his entire post, and maybe pick up one of his novels. Old Man's War is a good read.