I've been playing guitar for over 30 years, performing concerts in our home office where I have my gear set up. Over the years I'd thought about trying to meet up with people and form a band but it never came to fruition, which is fine. I enjoy playing for fun and for an audience of one. About ten years ago, a friend wanted to buy his son a guitar. He asked me for a recommendation: "You're a musician, what kind of guitar to you recommend?"
I admit I stammered and downplayed the fact that he referred to me as a musician. Me? A musician? A guitar player, yes. A guitar noodler (for the uninitiated, a noodler is a guitar player who just kind of fools around on the instrument, playing a little bit of this and a little bit of that), yes. But a musician? Not me. That title is reserved for people in bands. Professionals. People with record deals (do they still call them that?).
Which brings me to my point. I believe if you play an instrument, you're a musician.
If you write, you're a writer.
If you write poems, you're a poet.
If you make art, you're an artist.
If you perform on stage or screen, you're an actor.
And so on.
We often reserve these titles for those among us who've had commercial or professional success. This shouldn't be the sole criteria. There's no anointing ceremony to be a creative. You are the thing that you do, no official title or swearing in needed.
For years, I hesitated to even tell people I was a writer. I've always had a day job, but as my wife Jenn often reminds me: "Tell people you're a writer first." I've gotten more comfortable over time with saying I'm a writer. Or an artist. Or even a musician.
I have to remind myself of these things. That creating art has value. Creative pursuits are legitimate. Important, even.
Go forth and declare yourself a purveyor of creativity. No one will mind. And once you get used to referring to yourself as a writer or other creative type, it's not all that terrifying.