My second answer to the question of what makes someone a writer is a big one:
You have to be a risk-taker.
You have to be willing to risk it all...now I'm not talking about your life, or your health or your money. No. You have to be willing to risk something that is even harder to let go of.
You have to be willing to let someone else see your writing AND you have to be willing to learn from the experience.
An example from my writing past:
About five years ago, with a few easy readers and picture books under my belt, I decided to try and write a chapterbook, or perhaps an easy novel. I had a title (this is where most of my writing starts) and characters and kind of a rough idea of how many chapters and such so I sat down and wrote. Being the non-outliner that I am, I had no idea when I was going to be done until I actually finished it. (Along the way, I had mentioned the idea to my editor and she was game, so I kind of felt like it was a slam dunk.)
It was not a slam dunk.
Here I had risked my pride, my writing reputation, writing in a different style, taking a chance and she did not buy the book.
Let me say that again: She did not buy the book.
Especially hard because she had been quite enthusiastic about the premise. And then she wrote to me about why she couldn't offer for it, even though she loved the voice, adored the characters, and found the dialoge enchanting. My book had no plot.
I took the risk and failed.....or did I?
I like to think I did not fail. I like to think I did something far better. I learned.
After that, I made it my business to learn about plot, to understand it. And I knew it would take time. Plot is not the same thing as a premise. But the truth is that I never would have really understood PLOT without failing first. And in order to learn the lesson, I had to take the risk.
I am a better writer for trying and failing.
Today, I can look at that old manuscript and I do not cringe. I smile, for it helped me understand things about my own work that I never would have had I not taken the risk and written it.
(Of course, there is NO WAY I am going to show it to anybody now!!)