I realized today that I stopped trying. I haven't honestly been trying for about 9 months. I haven't written any stories to completion. I haven't submitted any writing wholeheartedly. I haven't been searching for sweet, awesome jobs in my field. I've been in a rut and spending all my free time on short-term distractions. I haven't done anything of consequence.
Arguably, everything done is something of consequence. I have gained experience in life. I have gained life experiences. I now know the part of life that I want nothing to do with because I have slept with it.
That said, I could have been perfectly happy not knowing so intimately what it is like to not do anything productive. If the last 9 months were spent focusing on my projects, or even just one project, and putting in those free hours every day into creating and revising and editing and honing and polishing, I would be far better off.
This may be a lesson you have to learn first-hand. Maybe all lessons need to be learned first-hand. But, if nothing else, consider the advice to not stop trying.
I have repeated my teacher's advice: You are only a writer on days you write. It is true. But it is also never enough. I have kept Cheff Salad active throughout this whole span, and it does keep me as a writer, but it's not enough. You have to do more than write; you have to try.
No matter what you are doing, you have to actually try.