There is a plethora of advice out there for new authors concerning the importance of having a support structure. For me, the first thing that always came to mind was writing groups. It seems like every successful author has a writing group attached. And having a bad group is more damaging to a work of art than not having one at all.
But that isn't the sum total of it.
Support on the home front is just as important. If a writer is bombarded with dissent about their talent, their ability to be successful, how worthwhile their writing is, it drains on the creative forces. And let's face it, not everyone is going to be supportive of a fledgling writer. Generally, this lack of support is meant to protect said writer.
"It's good that you have a hobby, but you need to focus on how you're going to pay the bills."
"Writing is something you should worry about when you're older and established."
"The chances you'll make a living doing that is slim."
"Don't you think you should have a backup plan in case this doesn't work?"
Believe me. I've gotten each and every one of those comments. Don't get me wrong. Those comments were made with the best of intentions. But each of them suggests that writing isn't a real job, and the writer couldn't possibly be successful at it, even if it was.
To anyone who has said one of the things above. Quit it.
To anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of one of the things above. Don't listen.
I'm not telling you to quit the job that pays the bills and live out of a friend's basement. I'm telling you not to give up. Keep working. Keep trying. No matter what kind of art fills you with passion. Pursue it, regardless of what else you do with your life, pursue that passion. A person can live quite comfortably on a small budget if he or she is plugged into that power.