Do you fill notebooks? Do you write a blog? Do you write short stories, books, poems, essays, plays, screenplays, or copy? You are a writer.
Don't put too much weight on the word "writer".
You don't have to be good at it to be one.
You just have to do it.
The word describes what you do, not how well you do it or whether or not you get paid for doing it.
There is no objective scale of quality by which to measure your writing and legitimate your status as a capital-W Writer.
A writer might write absolute shite for seven months and then bust out a short story that brings humanity to its veritable knees. During that seven months of shite? They were still a writer.
If being paid for your writing is what makes you a writer, the bar is too low.
My first paid gig had me writing about wheat quality, and, let me tell you. that's not my birthplace.
As with paid writing, if being physically published in a newspaper, magazine, or book is what makes you a writer, we need a new system.
We cannot rely on an industry to be the arbiter of what is considered real writing and who is a real writer that prints books by celebrities most noted for being drunk and unintelligible.
Use the fact that there are a lot of terrible writers out there calling themselves writers as a catalyst to improve both your craft and what it means to be a one.
It is unjust to let poor examples lead the herd.
You can be a writer regardless of your level of education.
People regularly graduate from colleges and universities with terrible writing skills. Some people just don't have it, and some people do, whether the diploma says so or not.
You might hate nearly everything you write down. So what?
Who are you to judge? Writers don't love every last thing that dribbles through their keyboard. They do the work and keep going.
That real writers must love writing is a horrible piece of misinformation. Forget you ever laid ears on it.
Some writers do love the act of writing, some pursue it as a means to an end, and others, like me, have a love/hate relationship with it. Language is a complex tool that doesn't always behave itself, so it's okay to be a writer that struggles with his or her affection for both the craft and the tools.
If it makes you feel too vulnerable to introduce yourself as a writer, be more specific with how you describe what you do.
People don't always know what you mean when you say "writer". I'm a writer, and I don't always know what you mean when you do that. Tell people that you are a novelist or a copywriter or, god forbid, a blogger. They will better understand what you do, and you will come across as the more purposeful and accomplished writer that you are.
Are you reticent to call yourself a writer? It might be because taking ownership of your creative work means owning both its successes and its failures, its strengths and its shortcomings.
If this is the case, stop wasting your time in the shallow end. You won't become a better swimmer in the kiddie pool. Dive in.
Again, as we began: do you fill notebooks? Do you write a blog? Do you write short stories, books, poems, essays, plays, screenplays, or copy? You are a writer. You are a writer.