I said what I said because as an amateur...
I totally got that, and that is exactly why I responded in the way I did. I was an amateur once, too. What I saw in your phrasing was a base assumption that it was silly to think that you could ever do what you loved and make money at it, and I wanted to be a counterpoint to that way of thinking.
Anyway, the way I did it was through Marketing. I learned how to market things, how to do marketing writing, etc. You get $20 for this article. And then $50 for that one. And then do a package of three on the same topic for $75. Etc.
After a while, someone will like your work. Then they will send you more work. And they will ask you to write other things. "Hey, I know you normally write blog articles for us, but do you think you could do ______?"
Yes. Yes, I can! Because writing is writing. It's all stories. There is a goal to be achieved at the end of the article, and there are facts that need to be presented in a coherent order to tell a good story, and you need to not stab your eyes out with a fork when you write it, so you throw in some artistry in the sentence and story structure, and... $500.
Then you get offered a $10k, 6-week contract, working on a product launch for a high tech company that needs you in their office, 8 hours a day, developing "content" for their web site, marketing sheets, booth materials, etc. You have just made HALF your annual income in 6 weeks.
Anyway. Now I write sales proposals for a tech-ish company. Some organization needs to buy a product that does X, and they put all the details into a thing called an "RFP", and send it out to potential providers. I read it. I figure out if we can do it. I research their company, their use case, our products, what we can do, what we can't do... and then I write a 50-100 page document that tells the story of how amazing these products are and why the customer wants to buy ours.
That work hits a lot of my "loves": technology, research, writing, storytelling, etc.
Then for fun, I have a bunch of freelance work I do in the evenings. Writing articles, customer case studies, blog posts, editing other people's work, etc.
Small things - transcripts, article editing, etc - I get $100 a piece for. I have one client that can send me 4 of these in a week, and they each take me about an hour to do. Sometimes I can do four of them in an hour.
Larger Case Studies I get $500 each for. Two or three a month. These can take 1-5 hours each.
My day job pays me very well. (Actual amount redacted because it felt weird to write such a big number.)
I have two books in the works, one fanfic story, a TV series, and two other screenplays I work on to keep my creative juices flowing and to scratch the creative writing itch.
So yeah. I get paid to write, and make a good living at it. It took me 10 years of concerted effort to make it happen, but I did it.
The whole reason I go into all of this is because I don't want you to sell your dreams short. There are lots of people like me. But we don't talk about it in public. We just say, "I'm a writer." It feels weird to talk openly about this... there's kind of this unwritten rule that we writers don't really talk about the money end of things. But. Now ya have it.