I don’t mean to keep quoting Neil Gaiman, but… I’m gonna do it again. Sorry.
From The Sandman: The Wake–the last book of the series. This is William Shakespeare–not the real Shakespeare, Gaiman’s characterization of Shakespeare–talking about going through life as a writer (bolds included–this is from a graphic novel, after all):
“I wonder… I wonder if it was worth it. Whatever happened to me in my life, happened to me as a writer of plays. I’d fall in love, or fall in lust. And at the height of my passion, I would think, “So this is how it feels,” and I would tie it up in pretty words.
I watched my life as if it were happening to someone else. My son died. And I was hurt; but I watched my hurt, and even relished it, a little, for now I could write a real death, a true loss.
My heart was broken by my dark lady, and I wept, in my room, alone; but while I wept, somewhere inside I smiled. For I knew I could take my broken heart and place it on the stage of the Globe, and make the pit cry tears of their own.
And now… I am no longer young. My health is not good, and my daughter consorts with a lecherous ape, which her fancy amends to a gallant prince. My wife sleeps in her father’s bed, far from me; and she treats me like a foolish child.
And Prospero and Miranda, Caliban and Gonzalo, aethereal Ariel silent Antonio, all of them are more real to me than silly, wise Ben Jonson; Susanna and Judith; the good citizens of Stratford; the whores and oyster-women of London Town…“