This is an interesting question. The person who writes unpublished poetry for themselves once a week is a writer. The person working on their second self-published novel is a writer. J.K. Rowling is a writer. The child creating stories about their favourite DND characters is a writer.
And yet we as writers seem to forget this. We get caught up in the world of statistics, reads, book deals and basically not being the superstar that is Stephen King.
Truly it doesn’t help that as kids, if we mention that we want to become writers, we are generally met with the world saying “uhh…no honey, do you know how hard it is to make it? You have to be incredible and let’s face it, you’re no Jane Austen.” Well no, I’m not, thanks very much for your shitty opinion anyway.
But of course that’s not how we take it, we accept that we could never be at the same calibre as people we love to read. Or stuck in the mindset that our only path to success is exactly the same as the big names that exist in the industry. Or that if we just write to make ourselves happy, we’re not really writers.
I don’t know why this kind of judgement exists around us wordsmiths. We could chalk it up to people being jealous of you pursuing your creative ideas. Or fear for you because you’re not embarking on a “safe” nine-to-five at your local bank. Or simple ignorance of the spectrum that exists within the writing world.
Because it is a spectrum and it should accept anybody who claims themselves as a writer. There is no reason why we shouldn’t embrace those who write simply to comfort themselves or others, to get down their feelings, to see something written down that came from their own mind.
So I suppose the answer to the question is simpler than we seem to make it. If you write, you are a writer, be proud of it.