Down through the ages, people have told stories for free. I doubt if anybody paid the stone age artists fpr hacking their stories on stone, or if anybody paid Homer for telling his stories.
Shakespeare made some money—certainly not enough, and Keats' beautiful poems never helped him seek adequate treatment before he died at 25. Many,many people write for free. Some keep journals, others send angry letters to newspapers, and most of us, nowadays, email friends and families.
But for those who wonder if their unpaid poems and stories can let them claim to be writers, I say YES! Keep it up. Don't stop.
Maybe one day in the future you will be recognized - but even if you aren't, even if you're the only one who ever sees your words, you are a writer, and belong to generations of other writers whose greatest pleasure was pouring out their thoughts for themselves.
Writing gives us a place to go. It opens doors, and it closes doors. I met a woman on one of San Francisco's bookmobiles the other day. She was taking out a DVD of Jane Eyre.
"I like this version," she told me.
"But did you ever read the book?" I asked.
"Nope," She told me. "I get my culture through the movies."
I didn't tell her that Charlotte Bronte had two other sisters who wrote - Anne and Emily. Charlotte did make money, Anne maybe a little, But Emily's passionate masterpiece Wuthering Heights was scorned by the critics, and made nothings.
I'm wandering off. Write for your own pleasure. Money is great, but what's really important is that writing for yourself is the only place you can go where you find a safe place, and can use words that give you a unique pleasure.
And you are a writer even if you never earn a penny!