Writing is one of those occupations that takes and gives a lot.
First of all writing takes time. It takes a lot of time to reach a point where you are comfortable with your writing, know all of the grammar rules, and find your voice. This process takes practice, practice, practice. No shortcuts. Just hard work. It takes time to develop a character that can last more than a few pages. It takes time to learn how to pace the story. It takes time to develop the plot that will spread out over a novel.
This is not hard physical labor but a mental labor that can be very draining and frustrating. This is not work where you get a steady paycheck or even a good job. This is a labor of love, of stubbornness, of that spark of fire within you that whispers that you can. Writing is a hope and a dream that gnaws at your sleep and eats at your free time. It chains you to your desk, to the pad and paper, feverishly writing terrified that the image you see will burst like a soap bubble and disappear.
All of this does not include the time for research, reading, editing, changing out empty ink cartridges, or making red marks on pages. But a writer will not belittle these things. They will simply grumble at the interruption, fix the problem and go on.
The payout for a writer is when they send the story, segment, or manuscript to someone and certain words appear. A smile forms on the readers face. We watch for the response hoping that we molded the right words into a whole projection of the world we see.
Writers are creatures that feed on that tiny bit of hope that we can craft something that brings our readers into some other sphere of reality. When we do not, we figure out what went wrong, and try again.
When we do, we fly.