Can very much relate to much of this; loving the act of creating but also still wanting some form of recognition. Social media is highly frustrating, what does and doesn't get likes, I think there is a lot of people buying fake followers, and people who repost the same photos that do well again and again (this actually seems to be a genuine technique to increase followers). The whole networking, commenting on other peoples work so they do so on yours, posting on a very regular schedule I find very difficult, I don't have a constant stream of high quality work and am probably just not social enough to enjoy the process.
I am also a photographer (or trying to be ) @PeteJ I did quit my job that I hated, ( I didn't hate all parts of it, but it felt completely empty to me, I had been at the same place for many years and knew that that career would never bring fulfilment, only money ) I went and studied for a MA in Documentary Photography, saved up a load of cash before hand to keep me going, and I loved the degree, it was definitely the most fulfilling thing I have ever done apart from travelling. Many of the lecturers were very clear; making money from photography these days is very tough, traditional roles that related to photojournalism just don't really exist to provide stable pay anymore. Everyone doing the course knew this, but of course you finish and reality comes back to find you. I went through a pretty tough time really not knowing what to do and what direction to go in, spent a lot of savings just living, and not wanting to go back to my previous career path.
There are a few ways to make money with photography, weddings is a great one, sadly I'm one of the weird people who really don't enjoy weddings, portraiture and events can also generate some money, many people I know do some photography and subsidise their income with other means. So I finally landed on product photography through some luck and chance, and since September a colleague and I have been building a portfolio, I know it can pay, its possible I really believe it, and whilst it isn't documenting meaningful events, its still creative and I work with a camera in my hand, having said that 2 days a week I still have to work in my previous career just to try and make ends meet. Not really sure if this is failure or success yet, time will tell I guess.
@multi You really sounds like you enjoyed it, life is short, get back into it if only for yourself. Where can I see your work?