A friend once asked me, if I managed to get a book published, would I be happy? I said yes, for about two weeks. There is something in me, however, that does believe that getting a book published, people buying it, appearing at readings, will somehow make me permanently happier than I am. In the summer I won a competition and fully expected that at least one of the agents on the panel would offer to represent me. None of them did. I subsequently went through something very close to depression. Being that close to getting what I wanted and then not getting it was too much.
In talking to another friend about this, I realised that, in part, I had thought that if was able to get all the things I wanted, I would somehow have been able to transcend my everyday self. My friend has had his work published and he expressed the view from the other side: that he had thought that it would bring him a certain recognition, and it had not; or at least, not in the way he had hoped.
In end, he said, published or not published, you always come back to yourself.