I don't mean to say "writing is hard" to bring you down, discourage you, or imply that you're better off doing something else. I say "writing is hard" because it's the truth, and I hate when people downplay it by comparing it to something ridiculously incomparable, like being a surgeon.
I say it because you, as a writer, should give yourself credit for how long you've been sticking with it. Because it's hard to stick with it. Not hard in the same way that it's hard to do emergency bypass surgery, no, but it's hard to put your proverbial heart on a platter and serve it to the proverbial wolves, again and again, and still maintain your public persona as reasonably positive and supportive. Of yourself, and others.
Being a writer requires taking risks. Daily.
Being a writer is something many people stop striving for. Daily. Because they didn't realize how hard it would be to keep on keeping on.
You will feel certifiably bipolar. I can say this with conviction because I live with someone who is just that, and I often sense myself mirroring his ups and downs in direct correlation to my writing life. When I start a new project, I'm manic about it. It's all I can think about. It's all I can breathe. When I've been sending out a story for months and the rejections are piling up, I'm depressed over it. I can't even fathom subbing the damn thing to one more editor... just one more editor... And this is after I've already spent countless months working on it, to the point where the sight of it nearly makes me sick.
It's craziness. This is the world of insanity.
Yet we do it anyway. We love it that much.
Writing is a profession we choose, definitely, but I also think there is a "calling to it" involved as well. Those of us who stick with it, no matter what obstacles appear on our individual career path, have all said at one time or another, to either ourselves or someone else:
I do this because I can't imagine not doing it.
And there's magic in that sentiment. It means writing is more than just a career to you. It's a way of life.
I'm one of those people who has been writing stories since I was very little. I think I wrote my first real story-- with an identifiable beginning, middle, and end-- at six years old. Sometime after high school, Real Life took over and I stopped writing for about ten years.
It didn't take long for me to realize how much I'd missed it, and then determine to never let it go. Ever. Again.
But even with all this love and determination, the struggles can occasionally wear on you. The "writing every day" can make you feel like a workaholic, often with little to show for your efforts (especially in the beginning). The exciting adventures in your head can become mundane, even if just for a little while. A rough patch.
That's why our community of writers in this generation, linked together through blogs and Twitter and [insert social media of choice here], is so important. I think all writers, no matter what era they lived, needed/need this support. It's just the nature of the beast. It's taxing, and the worst thing you can do when at a low point in your life is isolate yourself from people who have been there, who understand.
Take, for example, the following quote from Mark Twain, 19th-century author.
I think it's safe to assume that, were he alive today, Mark Twain would have had one of the best inspirational/motivational blogs for writers ever in existence. He'd also be crazy popular on Twitter with all his quick wit and humor.
The world keeps changing so we have to learn how to adapt. Writers aren't going extinct. Humanity needs storytellers as much as they need physicians. We are medics for the soul.
So yes, writing is hard. Being a writer is hard. If you have solid doubts, it's okay to step away. But if you truly believe you've found your purpose in life, as a storyteller, then you must also believe that no matter what hurdles you encounter, you will prevail.
Writing is hard. Recognize that hardship, and own it.