Kim Stanley Robinson, at one of his sessions, referred to the National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers grant program under which he went to Antarctica before writing his novel of the same name. Despite my aversion to cold, I've always been attracted to the thought of visiting Antarctica myself, so I was checking out the site to look at requirements and so forth. Looking at the list of prior participants I was struck forcibly by the somewhat dismaying thought: "Oh yeah, I don't have anything published yet."
That's not the handicap it might be wrt the program itself, as they make it clear they are interested in sending people who are still early in their careers. But it did make me realize I'd managed (or suffered) a definite mental shift at some point, from self-categorizing as someone who wants to be a writer to writer.
I am hopeful of finding a corresponding shift in viewing what I produce with some professional distance. Perhaps some of it is related to learning to view my emotions as valid but not requiring (re)action - I'd like to apply that pause to my work, so that it becomes natural to view criticism and rejection as non-personalized and appropriate to the piece. (In other words, it's not all about me me ME, which can be a relief.) It is much easier to put something in an envelope and send it out the door when it feels more like a product and less like a body-part.
I still have a lingering vague feeling of usurping a title I haven't technically earned, since I don't have much by way of formal publication credit as yet. On the other hand, if simple measures of production count for anything, I do have longevity (28 years), a bushel of filled notebooks, and a Master's Thesis on my side.