Getting published is about getting the same rejection form letter five thousand times until someone is dumb enough to tell you yes.
There's little in the way of criticism involved. Pretty much none, in fact, unless you seek it out yourself (and there are authors both capable and shit who do not) and draft some friends into it. Drafting? A ridiculous notion. Many people can and will write by the seat of their pants and get published, it really has no bearing on your ability to get published at all since regardless you'll only ever send them the final version. Careful editing? They hire other people to edit your crap, at least until you develop name-recognition and they stop editing you at all except to fix your spelling.
Beyond a very basic level of ability, the publishing system doesn't recognize writing skill. It's not designed to. The system is designed to protect itself, which means it's risk-averse rather than interested in promoting quality work. (Shades of EVE.) The only true statement you've made is it requires time, time wasted on those five thousand rejection form letters I mentioned.
Losing your will to live generally involves wandering into a less-populated fandom and confronting twenty cases of mindless slash between characters that hate each other...and realizing that's all there is written. At least with something like Twilight you can always hit the button for the next page and hold out some hope.