You don’t need your writing to generate an income to say you’re a writer. All you really have to do is write. Most of the time, the effort and intention on the part of the writer dictates what success they’ll have going forward. But everyone’s idea of success is of course different. It doesn’t have to mean making money from your writing.
For me, succeeding means generating an income from my writing because it’s what I do best and will give me the freedom to live life more on my own terms. But really it comes down to helping people with my words in the end.
Of course, at this point in my life right now, writing is less of a job and more of a release. As you mentioned, it feels good to write and let the words flow. And when we reach that flow state and revel in the process, that’s when the results we crave come anyways.
Hope that clarifies things. Thanks for your comment!