The best day of my writing career was the day I finally sold a book to a publisher. It was validation of my writing, and of the ten years I’d spent hoping to reach that point. It cleared the path to a completely different future for me. I do not underestimate that day’s importance.
Getting published didn’t make me rich.
It didn’t make me famous.
I still need a second source of income to get by.
Writing is still hard for me.
The work of writing a book is still exactly the same: me, with a keyboard, alone. It didn’t become more glamorous.
Getting published was vitally important to my sense of identity (whether that’s healthy or not is a different question!), and to the direction my life has taken. But, it didn’t change what the work fundamentally is, and I made more money when I had a regular job.
Still, I wouldn’t trade ‘being published’ for a job that gave me ten times as much in annual income. Writing novels gives me a sense of satisfaction that nothing else ever has.