It is indeed difficult to make a living as a writer, and my advice to anyone contemplating a literary career is to have some other trade.
That's my gutsy advice to any young writer: write only about what you know well.
The worst advice a young writer can get is "Write what you know." Imagination is more important than experience.
Writer advice... Write. Finish things. Go for walks. Read a lot & outside your comfort zone. Stay interested. Daydream. Write.
The only advice anybody can give is, if you wanna be a writer, keep writing. And read all you can, read everything.
Listen to advice. You don't know how many writer's conferences I've taught at where at least half the audience fights all the conventions of the field.
As a writer, you have to first of all write what you want to. Listen to advice, by all means, but don't get bogged down in it.
I can give advice to anyone interested in writing in one word: Read! I think it's much more important to be a reader than to be a writer!
When people ask, "Is there any advice you'd give a young writer?," I say write short stories. They afford lots of failure. Pastiche is a great way to start.
Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.
Writers don't retire. I will always be a writer.