Somebody on the HubPages forum asked about people's thoughts on when it's appropriate for someone who posts (on that particular site, but I'm assuming that would apply to similar sites) to call himself "a writer".
I don't have a lot of Hubs on my "WordCrafter09" HubPages account (because I've deleted some since I first started that account five (or so) years ago. In recent times I've been using the WordCrafter09 blog as a "transition site" as I've shifted from using a long-time, online, pen-name to my own name.
Since I've only recent removed the "WordCrafter" blog from my HubPages profile (and replaced it with this one), I thought this post would make sense (at least for now and while there are not many Hubs on the "WordCrafter09" account.
Also, I thought it may make some sense to copy my long HP forum post about online writers' calling themselves, "a writer". Here's the forum post:
To me, if you're, say, earning your full-time living as as, say, a hairdresser; and you write about hairdressing on HubPages; or if you're earning your full-time living as, say, an auto mechanic and all your Hubs are about that; AND if you're earning enough from your Hubs (or other, similar, online, writing) that you need to file a self-employment form... I'd say you should call yourself whatever you are in your full-time work but with the earnings from HP it would probably be correct to call yourself "writer". (I forget what any of the options on the self-employment form are. I do know there's the thing about sole proprietorship - but I forget what other options there are for "calling yourself something" There's also the "other income" thing on tax forms. So, I don't know, someone who makes a few extra dollars writing Hubs but not enough to file a self-employment form may (if this is appropriate for them, but, I don't pretend to know anything about anything other than what I've done myself with the self-employment form) end up using the "other-income thing" on their "main" form.
If a hairdresser or auto mechanic who writes about their own field of expertise makes little or no money with their Hubs they don't have to worry about what to call them-self (other than what they always call themselves on their tax forms). If I were writing on those terms on HP I'd call myself "hairdresser" or "auto mechanic" on here as well (in the author bio, on the profile) because I think that would work to anyone's advantage.
For a writer who is working for a company in any writing capacity and/or for someone who earns his/her living writing on their own, I think that goes back to thing about what would belong on tax forms associated with that one line of work, writing. I think that person should obviously call himself, "writer".
I think the person who has made money in any writing capacity, including freelance writing could "legitimately" describe himself/herself as a "writer" on here. Also, I think if someone devotes serious time to one or more writing projects of any kind but hasn't yet reached the stage of marketing and/or earning anything from it; it would be reasonable to call themself "a writer" (or "published author", which would be better still; but particularly for someone who, say, writes creative fiction or poetry, I don't think there's anything wrong with just saying that (but if the person is a hairdresser in "real life" I don't think there's anything wrong with saying (on this site, at least) that one is a hairdresser who is working on a first novel. If the person writes fiction (for example) on here, I don't think there's anything wrong with just calling himself a "fiction writer" working on a first novel" on here (this site).
I had times when my kids were little when I was only making part-time money writing and/or when I'd do more writing at one time than at another time; and whether way back then or in more recent times, I've had projects that I've worked on but put on one or another back-burner. Then, too, I've had times when I've made money writing online, on through some online company (and sometimes earned more from writing than at other times).
Depending on who (or what form) was doing the asking, I've at times called myself, "unemployed writer", at other times called myself, "writer", and yet at other times called myself, "part-time writer". Then, too, there have been times when I've had one or another "writing thing" going on but just called myself "unemployed" because it was easier to just say that than try to explain either to someone unfamiliar with "the complexities" of my own writing-related efforts, aims, long-term, goals, etc. (not to mention the complications of a number of things in my life); or else to someone who wasn't interested anyway.
I have always separated any offline writing efforts and any "for-hire" efforts from what I write online "for myself". Since I've made income with both (enough to need to file those tax forms) I think it's reasonable enough to call myself "writer" on here BUT I've always tried to highlight my background/efforts as they relate to the stuff I write online, and for myself (and/or because I just want to for one or another reason).
If you think about it, the only times one has to decide what to call himself are generally either on forms or one kind or another), on things like profiles/bios (in which case, I'd say, "aim to be as honest as is called for within the context of whatever the profile/bio is" (and if you're a hairdresser who bakes wedding cakes as a hobby then just say that). In offline/personal life, there are the people who know you and don't require you to call yourself anything. Then there are the people you just meet or are just getting to know, in which cases there's usually also opportunity to explain things like, "aspiring novelist" or "online article-writer".
These days, at least until I see what I want to do from here on and with regard to stuff I've written online, I'd call myself "nothing" while I re-organize, sort out, and decide about stuff/accounts that need spiffing up, polishing, or deleting. The only thing I've been writing ONLINE in recent times has been what I call, "blah blah", on one or another of my own blogs. When I decide what to do with any number of the pieces/projects I have stored in my PC (because of any number of issues with online posting and/or because they aren't things I'd post on the Internet anyway), then I'll stop calling myself "nothing", "part-time writer", and/or "unemployed writer" and take it from there. (Tax season is months away. I have no real need to worry about what I call myself right now anyway. :) ).