And here's a meme from Charles Stross about the difficulty of breaking in to writing professionally:
Current Status: Child of Fire: still waiting for the copy edits. Hitting the shelves next year.
Everyone Loves Blue Dog: Just sent it to my editor today.
Man Bites World: trying to turn all these characters and problems into a coherent story.
* Age when I decided I wanted to be a writer: 5.
* Age when I got my hands on a typewriter and taught myself to use it: 12.
* Age when I wrote my first novel: 30.
* Age when I first submitted a short story to a magazine: 16.
* Thickness of file of rejection slips prior to first story sale: 2 inches.
* Age when I sold my first short story: 33.
* Age when I next wrote a saleable novel: 40.
* Novels written between age 5 and age 40: 2. (One might be picked up later. Why such a low number? Because instead of focusing on novels the way I should have, I spent those years with screenplays and bong hits.)
* Age when the second saleable novel finally sold: 42. (I sold three at once)
* Age when I finally became a full-time novelist: next year, maybe.
* Age when the money coming in exceeded my previous employment: 42. (I've never made much money)
* Age now: 43.
* Number of books sold: 3 (novels)
* Number of titles in print: 0. First book comes out in September, 2009
Consider this an LJ-meme: if you write professionally, feel free to post your own equivalent of this list. (Obviously you'll need to customize it to track your career path -- but you get the idea.)
Stross' version of this meme is f-locked, but you can see Jay Lake's here.
edited to add the "Current status" section: