It can be hard to take yourself seriously as a writer if nobody else does, and it can be hard for others to take yourself seriously if you're not published.
So how can you keep your head high and your sanity intact when everyone else thinks you're delusional? Here's how to endure that indulgent smile people usually reserve for the completely deranged when they discover you're an unpublished 'writer'.
No-one has to know you're a failure
There's something to be said for acting the part if you want to be the part, but the great thing about being unpublished is no-one has to know you write. If you're serious about something, you're going to do it irrespective of what anybody else thinks, so why tell them? Who needs readers anyway?
No 'second book syndrome'
You don't have to worry about writing a second book that's shitty, because you're still writing/working the first shitty one.
You won't get panned
It's bad enough when your critique group dumps on your writing, but get published, and the whole world will dump on it. People you don't even know. People who actually get paid to dump on you.
It's still someone else's fault
If you were published and no-one liked your book, you'd have to face up to the fact that you were talentless – but when you're unpublished, it's just because those agents/editors are too stupid to recognise your genius.
You can make your mistakes in private
…while you work-through your enforced apprenticeship. If you stick to it long enough, irrespective of whether any publisher notices, you might get good at it.
You'll learn to be happy writing
Or give up trying. Point being, if you're a real writer, you'll keep doing it anyway. Publication be damned.