There are many stages of The Writer. As far as I can tell, each level you get to seems more populated than the one before. It's like some perverse inverted pyramid of frustrated and aspiring scribblers. Here are the ones I can identify:
This person reads like it's going out of style. Reads tons and tons and then maybe an ounce more. Has many opinions on books, writers, writing, etc. Mildly entertains the notion that he might, just might -- if push came to shove came to forcible coercion -- have a book in him. Refuses to entertain this possibility one iota further.
Firmly believe that they can write. That maybe even writing is in the stars, tea leaves, or the droppings of a particularly prescient goat. Read tons. But now reads tons ABOUT writing, and ON writing (Orson Scott Card's "Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing" and Stephen King's "On Writing" are pretty darned good). Maybe subscribes to a writerseditors/publishers/agents blog. Maybe subscribes to 20 of them.
Starts joining various writer's forums.
Words coming, not so much. Perhaps as quick molasses upstream during a snowstorm. Probably slower.
3) Blazingly Wild Amateur (my current level)
Thinks he's mastered a few tools. Has maybe completed a novel or two. Most definitely has finished a few short stories. Blissfully unaware of the rejection that awaits him. Keeps all his darlings unsubmitted. The looming wall of rejection is pretty scary. He's gone from "wanna write" to "time to see for whom the bell tolls". This process, as far as I've heard, is long and arduous. Lots of submitting, lots of rejection, but most importantly of all, writing and improving, writing and improving.
Other levels shall be detailed in further posts. And purely from an observer standpoint.