Anne R. Allen is one of those writers who managed to find her way to success through the side door. She is a published writer--her latest is the comic novel So Much for Buckingham--and a successful blogger helping writers navigate the increasingly complicated publishing world.
I asked her what it means to be a writer and she responded with simplicity and clarity.
"A writer is a person who writes."
Hard to argue with that. It cuts to the heart of writing as well as where many fail. They admire the image of being a writer while failing to sit and write and develop their craft. Writing is hard work and it requires a work ethic, but also the desire to write for the sake of writing or for the pleasure of writing or because you cannot not write.
She and I also agree on another important point: There are far more people making money from writers than for writers. I've noted quite a bit that there is a proliferation of people selling the secret of success to writing a la Tony Robbins rather than acting in good faith and as authentic mentors to those seeking to learn and improve on their craft and understanding of the business.
Her blog is well worth reading and makes for a good place to learn, kvetch, and commiserate. You can find it here.