Everyone has many ideas about the "artist" or the "writer," often based on historical biographies and depictions of them in our medias. They can be characters, wild, reclusive, prone to partake (heavily) in booze/other drugs, have the strangest and most dysfunctional relationships etc. etc. etc.
As an artist, I can say that these kind of things really offer me a lot of freedom to explore myself and the world around me, (sans a lot of it)... But, basically, I think that there is one main thing that makes anyone an artist or a writer... and that is, at the very base of it all, a hard worker who is willing to take risks. Serious risks. We're talking hours and years of your life (hard work) spent with no guarantee of return... And yes, I am mainly talking about financial return. Because, well, paying rent is cool.
I suppose that is how many people feel in many different circumstances. In fact, all of life can be like that... no guarantee of return.
I look at my hero artists of today, and I have to be honest, none of them are the Pollocks or Picassos or definitely NOT the Dalis or Van Gohs. Well, they might be, since all those mentioned worked their arses off. But there is a common number I've noticed and it is 30. 30 years they have spent painting (okay, give or take a few).
That is 30 years of hard work putting brush to canvas, messing up over and over again, correcting over and over again, and learning over and over again.