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One of the perks of being a writer is getting lost in the research of the new world you are writing in.
... But what kind of job demands years of uncompensated service before giving you even a chance at wages?Nice, Adam. Well said.
All of them, it turns out. It's called college.
College is 4+ years of work that pays nothing and (these days) doesn't even guarantee a job at the end. That's exactly what we're doing when we sit at our computer, typing a story nobody may ever buy.
It's better than college, because it's free. Better because it's easier to hold a job while writing than studying. Better because if we don't get a job with our first degree (i.e. novel), we can write another and learn more...
So long as you live life, working to get published is as valid an education as any other.
Keep writing. It's your education.