I've never considered myself a writer. When I was growing up, I thought being a writer meant being a professional writer like a novelist, journalist or columnist, writing works or art that people paid money for. I never felt I had anything to write about so I wrote what I needed to in elementary and high school and no more.
It was only recently that I learned there is so much more to being a writer than the examples above. I am a writer, and have been, to some degree, all my life. So are most people if they take a minute to understand what the most basic definition of a writer is. According to Merriam - Webster's Online Dictionary, the most basic definition of a writer is ‘one who has written something’. Aside from the above examples of my former perception of what a writer does, the following are a few examples of my current perception of what writer does.
1. Hand written communication - Writing letters to communicate to family and friends is a form of being a writer. It's a lost art in today's society with the increased usage of telephones, cell phones, online video chatting etc. Writing a letter 200 years ago was the only way to correspond to a friend or business acquaintance who was more than a horse ride away. With so many other forms of communication in today's world, hand writing a letter is rare. Taking the time to write out your thoughts and send it in the mail generally means more to the person receiving it than an email (see below). There's something to knowing that someone cares enough to write out a letter, stuff it in an envelope, write your address on it, put a stamp on it, and put it in a mailbox.
2. Keeping a written journal or diary - There are many examples of famous people who have written diaries or journals. And there are so many benefits to keeping a diary or a journal. You can have a private journal or keep it on your shelf in your home library for others to read if they like.
You can write memoirs which are written documents on certain stages or events in your life. Benefits of doing that are mostly to leave a legacy. It's a good way for your children, grandchildren etc. to read about your life to understand who you are at as a person, vs. as a father or grandfather (or mother / grandmother).
A private journal is a great way to get your thoughts out of your head. Writing is a form of therapy for some. Putting your thoughts down on paper is a great way to organize them, be objective about them, and understand them. Venting on a piece of paper about someone then throwing away the paper so no one can see it, is a great way to get it off your mind so you don't keep it bottled up so it builds into something more than it needs to be.
Another benefit is for memory keeping. Looking back at your book lists if you keep one in your journal and maybe putting in a summary of the book from your perspective at the time. Keeping a record of recipes that you love, restaurants you've visited, trips you've taken or any other memories you want to look back on some day.
Some people don't know what to write about in a journal. There are many sites that have journal prompts which are ideas about what to write about if you have a block, or had a particularly boring day and don't feel there's a lot to write about. There are also journaling challenges for periods of time. A 30 day journaling challenge will include prompts on what to write about. It can start with day one saying what you fear about journaling to day thirty saying what you've enjoyed or learned about the journaling challenge. Whichever way you go I highly encourage you to start. The benefits far outweigh the risks or work involved in keeping a journal.
3. Electronic written communication - Most people I know either texts, or e-mails. That is still a form of writing. It's not hand writing, but it is considered writing. When you craft a text it's usually short and succinct (especially if you don't have an unlimited texting plan with your cell phone provider), similar to short hand for us old enough to remember what short hand is. It's an art form in a way in how people get creative to use as few characters as possible to say something i.e. lol for laugh out loud.
Emailing is another form of online communication. Same as letter writing without having to write it out on a piece of paper, stuff it in an envelope, put postage on it, and put it in the mailbox. The upside of emailing is speed and convenience. The down side of emailing is that it's not personal like a good hand written letter.
4. Keeping an electronic journal or diary - An online journal or diary (Blog) doesn't have to be hand written. It has the same benefits as the hand written journal mentioned above, but it's online instead of in a book. One reason for doing this is some people may not have good hand writing. Another is they may not have the storage space or they don't want to lose the journal they've written. Blogging is far easier than some people think. I was intimidated to start a blog as recent as 2 years ago. I thought there was so much more to it, and I thought it was too much of a window to my soul that I wasn't ready to share at the time. Starting out private until you get used to sharing your thoughts and organizing them into a format that will resonate with others is a good way to start. Then simply change the settings to make it private. Or if you want to always keep it private you can do that as well.
The bottom line is, anyone can be a writer. To what level you take that writing is completely up to you.