Author vs. Writer

Today I want to talk to you about something that has been bothering me, eating at me really, for a few weeks now. Actually, that isn’t accurate. This issue has been bothering me for over a year and every time I think I’m finally over it, every time I think I’ve acclimated myself to it, I realize that I was wrong and it still bothers me. “What could this issue be?” I’m sure you’re all asking yourselves what I’m up in arms about. Well I’ll tell you: the use of the words author and writer to mean very different things. Such as ‘well I’m a writer, but not an author.” Or “how would you advise someone who is aspiring to become an author.” etc. 

Almost every day I see an interview or comment in which someone is referred to as ‘aspiring’ to be an author, or in which someone defines that moment wherein they became an author as the time they finally published something, etc.

Not to be rude or anything, but I completely disagree! To be an author does not mean that you have published and to be a writer does not mean that you have not. What it means is that you have accepted in yourself the fact that you are who you are, and the way you do that is through telling stories in whatever form of wordsmithery you’ve chosen.

I find it so frustrating to be talking with someone who says “oh you’re a writer/author, what would you say to an ASPIRING author?”

I say there is no such thing unless you haven’t started yet. When you write, you’re a writer. When you’re a writer, you’re an author. The first time you completed the first poem or short story that had anything of your own ideas in it, sometime back in about 1st grade or so, you became an author. In fact, according to the writing process taught to our students, you became a ‘published’ author by turning in a completed work to be read and reviewed by your intended audience (the teacher). So get that concern out of your head. You’ve been there a while.

Dictionary.com defines an author as a person who writes a novel, poem, essay, etc.; the composer of literary work, as distinguished from a compiler, translator, editor, or copyist. As well as, the literary production or productions of a writer: the maker of anything; creator; originator:

The same site defines a writer as a person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, etc., especially as an occupation or profession; an author or journalist. AND a person who commits his or her thoughts, ideas, etc., to writing :

Not to be too sarcastic here but: OH LOOK, an author writes and a writer writes. No where here does it say “An author is a person who is published and you can only use this title when you have an agent, a traditional publisher, a set of editors, and a personal illustrator.” No, it says an author is a person who ‘writes.’ A writer is a person engaged in writing.

They are one and the same everyone! SO please, stop giving advice to ‘aspiring authors’ or “writers looking to become authors.” If you write, you are already both.

I understand that calling someone a ‘beginning writer or author’ is a little less elegant and Jr. author probably isn’t the thing either, but for the love of words, let’s find something that works to show that they are starting out without implying that they don’t actually write!

For the record, I have been an author for my entire life and a writer since i learned the alphabet…not that anyone can read my handwriting any better now than when I was 3. I had poetry officially published a few times throughout jr. High and High school, but didn’t ‘officially’ publish in 2012. That means I’m aspiring to learn more, not that I’m an aspiring author. See the difference?

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