I am reposting this blurb, courtesy of Vicki Hinze. It is invaluable and I personally need to see this frequently.
"Anna, you wrote: "When should a person give up on becoming a writer if they don't publish?"
I'm going to be blunt; you deserve the unvarnished truth.
If you can quit writing, do it.
If you're meant to write, you won't be able to quit, and that is the fastest, most fool-proof way of determining whether or not you're a writer.
Being a writer and writing to sell are two different things. A writer can write for many reasons aside from selling and still be a writer. It depends on why you're writing.
Many write because they have something to say they want others to hear. That seems from your note to be the group into which you fall. You want to write to sell.
You also say it's a part of you, you feel it deep inside. That means you won't quit. How long it takes is less important than doing it. You're writing for a purpose.
That makes the question, have you defined that purpose? What is it you have to say you want others to hear? Discover that. Explore it.
When you do, you'll be writing with direction and toward your purpose. That means you'll be writing to your author theme.
Every author has one. (Mine's healing. I write stories and books about wounded people healing.) It doesn't matter which genre you write in on this, your theme will follow you because it is the intricate part of you that defines the lens through which you see the world. The things you consider important. How you see the things you consider important.
When we write to our theme, we are writing what comes naturally to us and that puts passion and compassion into the work. It infuses it. And that creates the magic.
It took me 15 books and countless proposals to learn what I've written to you above. Had I learned it earlier I would have respected the writer within the author earlier. But I had to learn via the school of hard knocks with tidbits learned here and there.
The bottom line is it takes what it takes. Keep reading, keep writing, keep studying craft, keep learning. There are a ton of articles on writing in my library. It's free, it's at www.vickihinze.com. I've always spoken frankly about my journey and perhaps in reviewing what's there and on the My Kitchen Table blog, where more often than not, I talk writing, it will spare you some of the challenges I've gotten into and help you in your quest.
The journey is the key. Loving it along the way. For me, writing hasn't been about building a career. It's been about building a purposeful life. One I feel has been worth living.
You see, you can look at many bestselling writers and see unhappy people. People who are always struggling for some undefinable goal. But you can also see many bestselling authors who are content. Still striving in their work, in their lives, but content with their journey because it is infused with purpose.
That intangible makes the difference.
Lastly, Anna, if you feel the desire, then know--don't think, but know--that you're never given the desire without also being given the ability to gain what you need to manifest that desire. As long as you're constructively working toward it, you're succeeding.
Don't give up. Don't give in. Don't focus on selling so much as writing the best book you can possibly write. One that most matters to you.
Each book you write, ask yourself, "If this is the last book I write, is the last book I want to have written." If yes, do it. If not, keep seeking that last book.
Every book demands that kind of intent and focus and desire to be its best. And since you're investing your time in it--that's your life, Anna--shouldn't you also require that much? I say yes. If it's worth this slice of my life, it better be worth it.
And know you're not alone. Brand new or been around a while, every writer needs support and encouragement to keep going sometimes. We all need that, whether or not we admit it aloud--or even to ourselves."