How do you know when you’ve crossed the line from ‘writer wannabe’ to official writer? When someone outside your family says it’s good? When you get something published?
Everyone has a slightly different definition in their own mind. And for good reason – I don’t think we can point to an official line and say, “Left of this line, you’re a writer. Right of this line, you’re just a wannabe.” I’ve read published writers who I would throw in the ‘wannabe’ category. And I’ve read things posted on humble blogs that screamed to be in print.
The key, I think, is to keep in mind the fact that you always have something yet to learn about writing. Always. Writing is thinking, and until we’re perfect (which won’t happen in this lifetime), we will always have rough edges. Hey, there’s a reason that we don’t read first drafts in bookstores. Professional writers are just people who are good at fixing their mistakes. (Eventually they get good enough that they fix their mistakes beforehand – when the story is still in their head. Even still, who ever has prose that turns out sparkly the first time?)
You haven’t ‘arrived’ until you realize just how far you are from arriving. That’s the first step toward being a great writer. Delusions of grandeur plague all of us, but the mature among us are those who don’t believe the daydreams.