For much of the past four years, I've written 1,000 words a day, nearly each day working on one novel or another. During that span of time, I've written three complete novels and most of a fourth. I've learned a lot over the past four years, and not just about the mechanics of writing.
I've learned about patience and persistence. I've learned about frustration (it passes) and disappointment (it passes, too.) I've learned about following my joy. I've learned that I'm basically an optimistic person--that even in the face of rejection, I continue to write, to believe in the heart of the stories I am telling.
I think you have to be an optimist to write a novel, particularly if you have hopes of publication. The odds are so stacked against you. It would be more realistic to beat the house in a casino or win the lottery. (Though as addictions go, writing is probably safer.) I've experienced a lot of 'no' in my quest and a fair amount of 'maybe'. I'm still waiting for the 'yes'. The optimist in me believes it will happen. My guiding vision continues to be an image of someone on the T (the Boston Transit system) or at an airport, or sitting on a park bench, reading one of my stories. It's always been about that. About the joy of sharing a world and characters that once only existed in my head.
In the meanwhile, I continue to read, to write, to hone the craft. When the 'yes' knocks on my door, I will be ready.