Research is like foraging; you enter a forest looking for one ingredient and end up with several you had no intention of finding. It's one of my favourite parts of writing.
Novels, depending on the genre, allow the reader to bring much of their own personal life to their stories, whereas plays are a different beast and rely on a great production and great acting.
For me, writing real stories or stories based on truth is a more responsible job; it requires skill and authenticity, as much as possible based on whatever information you can obtain.
The profession you have chosen requires a great deal of patience, with people keeping you waiting, never responding, or never reading your work. It's just the way it is. Don't take things personally.
I've watched films that have been adapted from books or short stories and then I read the original material to see how close the adaptation is to the source material; it's enjoyable, and a really good exercise.