My first articles were published in 1976 and went to three continents. I got letters saying my words touched them, made an impact. THAT was highly motivating. as I saw the power of the written word. It was another six years before I felt writing to be a calling and made a commitment to excel at it.
A few things I did early made a big difference. (1) I read books on writing and focused on being as good as I could be. (2) I attended a writers group where I found a mentor who was instrumental in showing me the ropes of how to query and present my work professionally. (3) I attended a couple writers conferences where I learn useful information and made contacts. I wrote every day after work, and began getting published in magazines and periodicals so that in four years I had a portfolio that opened the door for a writer's job. (I'd been painting apartments).
KEY FACT: Life is much longer than you think and if you write every day and apply everything you learn along the way, you will produce accomplish way more than you can even imagine.
If you email me I can send a few links to specific website pages at ennyman.com which I created in 1995. My blog is called Ennyman's Territory.