From “Ang Lee and the Uncertainity of Success” at jeffjlin.com:
If you’re an aspiring author, director, musician, startup founder, these long stretches of nothing are a huge reason why it’s important to pick something personally meaningful, something that you actually love to do. When external rewards and validation are nonexistent; when you suffer through bouts where of jealousy, wondering “How come so-and-so got signed/is successful/got a deal/etc?”; when every new development seems like a kick in the stomach, the love of what you are doing gives you something to hang onto.
It’s hard to overstate how important this advice is, regardless of the particular dream you’re pursuing. Outcomes are tough to predict and largely out of your control. What you can control is your effort, attitude, and perseverance in pursuit of that dream.
The other thing you can control is who you choose to go through life with and how you spend that time where “nothing” is happening. Ang Lee married a woman who believed in him and supported him through his lean years. They raised kids together and everyone had a roof over their heads and food on the table.
That’s a whole lotta something for a period of nothing.