Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You Tell Me. Writer? or Author?

Is a Writer an Author?

Although the titles are similar, and have a few things in common, one being that they both write normally for pay, there is a distinct difference further in Webster’s definitions.

Both are writers, who write books, stories, and articles professionally for pay, normally.

A writer can be as simple as someone able to write and has written something or is engaged in literary composition as a profession, an author, a writer of novels. A writer can be professionally engaged in a wide range of occupations from insurance to operation manuals. A writer is also a title of rank in India (not quite the definition we are talking about).

An author, though a writer, is the beginner, a first mover of anything, a creator, an originator. An author composes or writes books and is distinguished from and editor, translator or compiler. Yet, Webster’s also includes two additional definitions: the editor of a periodical and an informant.

I have often thought of a writer as someone writing for a living, but never fully engaging in completion of novels or full-sized books. And for a long time, I thought of an author as someone published. However, I now realized that upon putting The End at the end of a novel qualifies for the title Author, whether or not we are published. If we are published, then we get the honor of adding to that title with, Published Author.

You tell me. What are your ideas on this? Know of any great links we can tack to the bulletin boards?



  1. I guess to me it is mostly semantics, but nonetheless interesting. Because I mostly write non-fiction I have often thought of myself as a writer, but I'd also agree with Lucy that a completed project, published or not, fiction or not, makes one an author as well. I think I see the word "author" connoting just a little more creativity than "writer." I really do tend to use the words interchangeably, but I think I use "author" more when talking about someone else (not me) who has written something - the author of a news story, for example; I'd never call him or her the writer, though I might refer to his or her job as "news writer." And I don't think I'd ever use "author" as a verb - "She authored that." - Nope, "She wrote that."

    Is that all confusing enough? :)

  2. Thanks for the comments. That wasn't confusing at all. :-)

    Websters did mention Author as a verb, but I tend to agree with you, I would use, "She wrote..." rather than "She authored..."

    Good points and thanks for dropping by.



    There you go. This is where you wanted the link I hope. :)))

  4. Hey, thanks Linda. Nice to see you drop by for a peak. Yep, I pinned it to the bulletin board over there --->

    How have you been?

    Hope you are still writing. I started a new book today, my first stab at non-fiction.

  5. the bulletin board is now on the other side
    <---over that way.

    this design stuff is fun, and a great break from writing just to let the dust settle on fast writing.

  6. I call myself a writer because author I think means "published" and I by no means am published. So I'm just a writer, writing things down, whether or not anyone wants to even read them.

    And...I just spilled words all over your blog.

  7. Well, you are welcome to come spill words all over the place anytime you get the urge.

    I like reading your blog where you spill words all over it, too.

    In just two days, I spilled over almost 20,000 words when a new idea hit me. Today, I read over most of it and...I may have something there. It is my first attempt at non-fiction.

    I feel much like you do about titling myself as an author until published. It seems like it incudes a higher honor of sorts. So, like you...I am still just a writer spilling words all around cyberspace.

  8. Hi Lucinda,

    I found your blog via the entertaining comment about complaining to a 2 year old you left today on Nathan B.'s blog.

    So I guess I'll leave my cent and a half here on this topic.

    My view: a writer writes. an author is published.

    I am not (yet) published so I feel it a little too presumptuous of me to call myself an author.

    But that could just be me. If anyone would like to call me an author, I might just answer to it! haha!

    Thanks for this great topic.

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  10. Thank you, Diane, for dropping by. I love company.

    I went first to your site and checked out your furniture - nice decor. Then, I followed the bread crumbs to your blog. Nice!

    With your abilities and talents, you will be comfortably wear that title "Author" very soon.

    Drop by again sometime.