I think there are two types of writers: Type 1 are writers who write and Type 2 are writers who make it their second job.
One type generally enjoys putting in some quality writing time now and then. They believe they've got talent and the industry will benefit from their unique voice. They usually have a regular day job/career, though some maintain a serious, romantic, tortured artist lifestyle. Life gets busy sometimes, they've got friends, family, and a life to experience, so weeks or months can go by without having written much. They think they'll publish some day, but they'll wait until they finish something before they worry about researching the publishing part, and they rarely finish anything. They usually come in two flavors - the people who genuinly enjoy writing but aren't basing their whole life on getting published, and the people who majored in creative writing, have read all the classics, look down on genre fiction, and spend more time looking the part of the tortured writer than actually being the tortured writer.
The second type doesn't make many new friends because they don't have time because they are too busy writing and researching and being involved in the industry. Also they are broke because they don't have a separate career, just a job, and they've got books to buy in their genre and conferences to go to this summer. For that matter, they know all the major conferences and follow them online when they can't go. Sometimes they worry they aren't talented enough and sometimes they think they are. Everything rides on eventually getting published, one way or another. They don't necessarily finish anything either, though they probably have a lot more anxiety over that fact.
Writers generally know which type they are. Or their friends do.
The outside world, however, doesn't understand there is a distinction. They either lump everyone into the "all writers are hobbiests, some are just luckier than others," or "all writers are tortured assholes wasting their time in coffee shops with empty notebooks and lattes."
They never lump anyone into the "this is a career and we have to work hard at the talent and the industry and deserve respect for all the time and energy we've put into doing this thing that makes us miserable as often as it excites us."
It is my experience that when you tell people you're a writer who don't understand how much you sacrifice to become a published writer, you end up with reactions that can be fairly devestating. To the outside world, anyone can write and those who get published are just lucky.
I'm generalizing, but still. I'm not wrong.
Writing is hard. Creating is hard. Anyone who doesn't think this is just wrong. It leaves you mentally, emotionally, and physically war torn. The process can be as devestating as it is euphoric. Only other artists will ever understand that.
Personally I believe that if you write, you're a writer. If it makes you feel better, you can draw the distinction between published and not published with the term author, but whatever. Symantics. If you write, you're a writer. Few people are going to appreciate or understand this career choice of yours, but don't feel guilty if they don't. I have published friends who are still treated as if they are only exploring their hobby. Don't tell people if it's easier. I don't tell most people because it's just easier, but I'm not ashamed of the fact. I'll talk to people about it if they really care to listen.