It's not hard for a writer to feel like a failure. If he's not writing, then he's obviously not doing what he's supposed to. If he is writing so much that other responsibilities slide by or he doesn't live in the realm of reality between writing sessions, then he's obsessed and clearly off in the head.
Now, obviously there is a middle ground, but finding that balance between writing and living is remarkably tricky.
I, for one, frequently feel like a failure when it comes to writing. I fall in the first category. I spend so much time taking care of people and trying to maintain a semblance of sanity and cleanliness against a losing battle, that when I have time to write or edit...I sleep in. Maybe I'll pick up a book, one that's already been written and published by someone else, not my own. Oh, no. That takes too much emotional commitment and too much energy.
But I work, too. I co-teach and I tutor, and I love my jobs. Twice a week I get to talk about the workings of story and writing to the next generation, and I get paid for it! It's quite the pick-me-up, and I get excited to work on my stories. But, and there's always a but, when I pack up from the "office" I get sidetracked, distracted, and sometimes guilt-tripped into taking care of something that's more important or urgent (like, you know, people are very important).
So, I'm a caregiver more than a writer right now. Not exactly a "success story" of a writer, but still, I can't stop being a writer. It's part of my core (like phoenix tail, not a canary feather or a frog tongue, was in the core of Harry's wand). That means, that I will always come back to writing. Like this blog post right now. I have to go run some errands (after all, I need sweet tea), but I had a thought, and I needed to write it down.
So, what is one to do? While I can't speak from experience about a writer who does nothing but write, I can speak as one who hardly writes. When I'm not writing, when I'm living in the fantastical realm of reality, I'm gaining experience in the world and understanding of the aspects of it. I'm learning about myself and others (in short, people), and I'm learning about how creation works, and even more about Who created it.
And, later, that will be useful to writing and editing stories.
So, even though I'm not writing much, and I don't feel like a success as a writer right now...
Nothing is wasted. It just adds suspense and anticipation.
Just like in a polished work of fiction.