Experts disagree as to exactly when but at some point in the last century too many people started going to college for no reason. This created an artificial demand for teachers of "English" and "composition" which lead to an explosion in the number of marginally educated types who suddenly decided that they must be "great writers" like all the famous dead white guys they were hearing about in class.
For a time, in spite of a general uptick in the number of hacks who were actually being published and a growing demand for "literature" (see John Updike), vanity publishing remained disreputable, expensive and pointless. That has all changed of course and we now find ourselves beset by a veritable plague of affected amateurs who can publish at will and call themselves "indie authors" convinced that self-publishing has somehow become noble, agents and publishers are not needed, and marketing is free thanks to social media which is of course populated by the same sad friends who would never buy or read one's drivel in the first place.
More and more books are "published" and fewer are read. You're more likely to be struck by lightning than get shelf-space in a book store, if you can find one.
As a result, there is less point than ever to actually becoming a "writer". The imagined lifestyle, however, will continue to attract an enthusiastic following. And why not?