Wow, I didn't realize that you are quite as young as you are...heck, I'm 43 and I think I still have some shoes that are older than you...LOL!!! I wasn't advocating any "one night stands" or "casual flings", as those are quite empty and don't help anyone emotionally. The girl for every day of the week, plus backups, is a load of horse-hockey if you ask me. People that can say things like that are quite cavalier in attitude, and clearly don't get the depth of your sensitive nature. I'm impressed that someone of your youth realizes that advice like that is pretty hollow. Yes, you are young, but you have your whole life ahead of you. As I am older, at least chronicallogically so, I've had time to live a lot more and have more experience, but that, by no means, makes me any kind of expert. My relationship with my BFF is right for me at this stage in life, but since our lives are on two very different paths, I just cherish the closeness we feel, as that is a constant in our lives. Heck, I even have his name tattooed on my wrist, just as he owns a patch of territory in my heart that will always belong to him, even if I were to meet a new partner in life tomorrow. It's not like it's the name of some "ex", that I would feel embarrassed about if I'm with someone new.
I just can identify with how you feel. When I was in college, I struggled between learning something that I could use to support myself if I stayed single, versus studying something that I loved or made me happy. I wasn't much of a dater in high school, so I struggled with the idea that I might not ever find a husband that I could share the cost of living with, thus, I was pretty conflicted. This caused me to change majors six times, and I never did complete my degree. Years later, after taking time off to work for a while, I went back to a trade school to be a computer technician. I actually met my ex-husband there, but in hindsight, I should have spent more time on my studies and less getting to know him.
I worked fulltime as a nanny for my goddaughter and her older siblings while I was in school. I had spent the previous several years as a traveling baby photographer and district manager. I got a lot of experience with child-raising, but I never ended up with any children of my own. All I ever really wanted was to have a family of my own, but it was never the right time to bring a child into the world. Being spawn-free is one of my biggest regrets in life, but ever since my divorce, I recognized that it just wasn't in the cards for me. But who knows, maybe I still might meet someone that already has kids, I'm just not counting on it at this point. YOU, on the other hand, have all the time in the world to find a partner, get married, and raise a family. Take comfort that you are so young. One thing I've learned over the years is that when you aren't looking for something or someone, that's when opportunity tends to knock. Comparing yourself to the friends you have is easy to do, but remember, chances are about 50% that they will be back in your position, sometime in the future. They may seem smug about how well things are going for them now, but statistic show that half of them are doomed to fail at least once. The longer it takes to find "Mrs. Right", the more time and experience you will have on your side. Ms. Right-Now is never a sure bet.
As for your planned book, it's quite a coincidence, as I've just started to write a book myself. It's just in the beginning stages, but I can tell you that the process can be quite cathartic, regardless of what your writing is about. I don't have my format all planned out, so I'm just writing small chunks at a time, and figure that eventually the proper structure will emerge in its own time.
To sum it all up, you have a good head on your shoulders, and the emotional capability of having a good, stable relationship when the right person shows up. Take all the time you need, and remind yourself that Rome wasn't built in a day, and that you have all the time in the world to get things right. You have ever right to mourn the loss of your relationship, and take all the time you need to put things in perspective. There are no time requirements when it comes to love, and as you go along, you will realize that what is meant to be, will be...sometimes it's just a pain in the ass waiting for your destiny to fall into place. Heck, I'm twice your age and my life is still a work in progress.
Sorry I got to rambling so much, I just wanted you to know that all is not lost. Life is a journey, not a destination...(oh, geez...did I really just say that???) I guess it's easier to say than do sometimes.
Please keep us updated on how you're doing. We are always here for you.