A little while ago, I posed the question, "When are you a real writer?". It's a question that Emma Newman thought about over on her wonderful fiction blog, Post-Apocalyptic Publishing (nominated for Best Writing Blog, btw).
I posted a poll to go with the rhetorical list of milestones. Here are the results:
35% - "I write... isn't that enough?"
35% - "I sold something!"
21% - "The IRS has begun to care about my writing income!"
0% - "I won an award that you've heard of!"
7% - "I quit my day job!
0% - "NYT bestseller/Oprah/Hollywood"
If one can accept the wisdom of the crowd (or this crowd, anyway), writing is not about externalities of publication, judgments or valuations by agents, editors, or anyone else.
There's an insight in there somewhere.