For my fist 18 months as an amateur photographer, I didn't charge a dime. I didn't feel like my skills and level of quality were at a place yet where it would be worth the money. I was simply shooting to get better, build a portfolio and meet people.
Once I started charging clients, I became a quite an advocate for photographers getting paid. Because after all, this is our job and we've got bills to pay too. From then on the question was always there, and became even more of a matter to think about once I graduated: How do you make money and sustain yourself with the art you're making? It was a question all musicians friends were asking themselves and trying to solve as well.
But I came to a point where I was getting booked for shoots in the few months after graudtaion, and after turning down some opportunities to shoot for free, I began realizing how pointless that was: why should I give up an opportunity to make art with other people just because it wouldn't help me pay rent? It didn't help that people kept asking if I was getting paid for my shoots...
Then I spent 3 weeks in Scotland and Ireland, andI think I've realized the problem here:
We're making art, making music, shooting, creating, for the love of it. We're not making it with the intent of selling it later, we're not thinking about how we're going to put it on iTunes before we even record the song. We're not thinking about selling our watercolor postcards, paying our bills, and so on and so forth before we even sit down and dip our brush in the paint. We're making it because we love it.
NOW. If we're making money WITH our art, then that's a different story (make it's a commision-ed work, maybe someone hired your skills out, maybe you're employed for said skils). I think it's the intention I'm talking about.
Anyway, I sincerely hope you're not making your art with the intention of paying rent.