Here's the part where I try to put things in perspective: I have to keep reminding myself of where I am at the moment, fully acknowledging that I'm not anywhere near "ready" to start pounding the pavement with a portfolio. And, most of the people whose work I admire so much are at that point. I've only just determined that this is a serious pursuit, and I'm really just starting to develop my skills as well as my own voice.
I just need to keep working in earnest and see what comes out - learning what I can from those who are ahead of me. In the meantime, I'm reminded of my main focus (and inspiration) at this stage - they are the "here and now," while illustration is for farther down the road.