In both my major of Theatre Education and my not-so-secret life as an aspiring writer, my work is play. The reason I'm pursuing these two careers is because I get to play all day!
That's not to say that it's not a lot of work. Countless hours go into rehearsal for a play, and even more hours go into the preparation--choosing the concept, refining the design elements, etc. But for me, the term play is literally that--play!
The same goes for writing. I can't tell you how many hours of my life have been devoted to a series that is not represented and not ready to be self-published (if I decide to go that route). I don't think it will be published for at least another three years. During those three years, I will still be working on this series, never stopping. But why? Because it's play for me!
But here's the thing: sometimes, it doesn't feel so much like play anymore. When you get writer's block, or when you consistently get rejected by agents, it's easy for the play to become work.
It should be the other way around. Your work should be play! Remember why you started this in the first place! Don't deprive the world of your wonderful characters, your captivating story, and your unique writing voice! No one else can write the story that's in your head, and I want to hear it!
(This is a pep talk for me as well as you :D)