Writer or Author?



Are you a writer or an author? Are they the same thing? Does it even matter? I’ve noticed that a few people tend to get hung up on the words that describe those of us who make up stuff, write it down, put a cover on it and sell it in hopes that people will like it.

I told someone recently that I was a writer, and they replied that no I wasn’t. My book was so good that it made me an ‘author’ not a writer, as if ‘writer’ was somehow a dirty word. I guess for some people if they see you as being very good at what you do (not that I’m saying I’m Shakespeare) it deserves a fancier sounding word.

You see, to me, the truth is we’re all just writers. All of us who do this no matter what title we hang on it are left alone facing the blank page at some point. When I’m there in front of a blank word document, especially if it’s a first draft, I’m not thinking about whether I’m a ‘writer’ or an ‘author’. I’m just hoping the words come. When they do I don’t say to myself, ‘way to go author’. I’m more like, “You finally thought of something you awesome word monkey you! You go you bad ass keyboard abusing Mofo!” 

Yes this is really how I talk to myself when I feel I’ve done well.  Personally I think the word ‘author’ is much to highbrow to apply to me. I prefer to think of myself as a writer. The hired gun by which the muse talks to the world. After all, those of us who do creative things know the truth don’t we? That it really isn’t us doing them at all. It’s the muse and we’re at her mercy. If we get too full of ourselves we risk pissing her off and never writing again.

If you’re creative at all you know this chick is fickle! She can come and stay for days and weeks, or leave you high and dry for months and years without so much as a phone call or a note scrawled in lipstick on the bathroom mirror. “Sorry writer. I have an idea that’s not worthy of you. It’s more J.K Rowling’s thing. Gone off to hang with her for a bit. I’ll see ya when I see ya!”

I don’t want anything, especially a title, to discourage her from coming and staying with me. I’m afraid if I get too fancy she’ll take off and go be with someone who’s not so serious. 

So whether you’re a writer, an author, a word monkey or a keyboard abuser it doesn’t matter. We’re all at the mercy of the blank page and a fickle little bitch who probably likes some other creative soul more than she likes you. I don’t know about you guys but I don’t plan to get too cocky!




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11 responses to “Writer or Author?

  1. Margaret Taylor

    Oh well said Ms. Jessica, well said indeed! I do so hate it when Mr. Muse gets fickle and picky and I have to beg and plead to get him to talk to me again!

  2. vampysbookblog

    Great post! I am a keyboard abuser and darn proud of it. Too bad the computer has to suffer… Lol!

  3. As far as I know, you become an author only when your book is published. If your work is unpublished, you remain a writer. So following that logic, you’re an Author! Well Done… Me too!!! =)

  4. Author or writer, this difference has no meaning to me, if there´s any fixed definition whether one is an author or simply a writer. Never thought about the fine differences between both of them if there are any. Since I started to write fanfiction I mostly did for my own entertainment and for fixing my ideas about characters and events. In the beginning I even didn´t image I would ever upload one of my scripts online anywhere on the web. (There was some shyness about that I might be not good enough that any soul would read it) I´m not educated in the writing matter. In Germany there are often educations offered for people who want to write, whether it´s their autobiography, documentations or novels in any genre. And to be honest I don´t know if this is a factor (at least here) if people are going to read one´s written stuff.

    In any case it takes some courage and/or self-confidence to start posting a script to any public eyes. The worst thing that can happen to the writer is that the reviews are going to flush his/her story down the drain and that would set an end to any further intentions, discouraging the writer. But when I read fanfiction all over the web in a lot of forums or on personal websites like livejournal offers them, I dared to step out of my chamber and posting the first result of my writing attempts. With a grin I would rather call myself a keyboard abuser! First the paper had to suffer from my scribbling, then the computer when I got the possibility to write on computer. LOL

    The thing I´m somewhat uncertain about is the fact that since my school days I´m a very extended and detailed writer. I mostly wrote essays with double the lengths than my classmates. Which needed a flow of words in the tight time frame of a test. I never felt problems about putting my essay on paper.
    For your own purpose one can write as extended and detailed as one wishes but the uncertainty is if the readers will follow willingly. Editing and re-editing is always a question what to add or to tilt from the script without eradicating important context. But this is a question every writer is confronted with in the wish that the novel is complete and understandable and as a result of it entertaining!

    Irrespective to any discussion which definition is the correct one, writer or author, we write to share our ideas with as much people as possible! I´ve read your book, Jessica and I´m waiting for the next one!

  5. Reblogged this on How I'm Surviving On My Own and commented:
    This is a great article…

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