The process of writing a novel is truly a learning curve. Much different than the hollywood image of a writer who gets to devote every waking moment to developing the masterpiece, living in the old shack...by a lake...with no distractions to keep her (or him) from the all-important task of "the novel".
I find most of the writers I talk to are living a life far removed from that image. Many are trying to eek out just a few minutes per day to devote to their masterpiece. Sometimes it means writing during a lunch break, writing with the kids screaming in the background, or maybe (like me right now) trying to write early in the morning or late at night (while concentrating on keeping the eyelids open long enough to get the words on paper).
Some are trying to tackle a freelance career, AND trying to write their novel at the same time. That's no easy task either. You pour all your creative juices into the writing for the freelance work that it leaves little left for your own projects.
It's not easy, but then again nothing worthwhile ever is.
Whatever our situation, we must persevere. We must remind ourselves that this is what we're meant to do. And if we keep at it, and believe in what we're doing, we will one day call this our career. We are writers!