Cool thing about telling people you are a writer: they are, too, or know someone who is. Writers lurk in odd places. I used to work at a public radio station, and the janitor had published a cartoon book. It was very good. He never pursued another project.
Last week, a friend handed me a short story by a friend who wanted to be a writer. It, too, was very good. My friend said his buddy played around with writing his entire life, but he never took it up seriously, as in, pursuing publishing.
There's no pat on the back for the itinerant writer. They write for the love of it. Which is how any writer goes on. There's certainly very little positive stroking that goes on in this industry (one I've yet to break in to, so my view may be a little jaded). Too many obstacles and critics. But people usually think it's cool if you tell them you are a writer. Much more than when I tell them I'm a journalist or a college instructor.
The short story from my friend's friend was never published. He died earlier this year.