Writer or Author, what am I?
This was a question that had entered my mind recently. A question that had encouraged Mr Self Doubt to start mocking me for thinking I was either of them, but to silence his noise I decided to look into what the real difference is.
I have seen many websites that say that if you have work published then an author is what you are. I was even told that due to having work published I could call myself an author, but I have always associated the word author to those who have had a ‘novel’ published. So realising that I may not be alone in my confusion, I have decided to do this post.
To start with let’s look at what a writer is. According to the Oxford Dictionary a writer is:
‘A person who has written something or who writes in a particular way:the writer of the letter. A person who writes books, stories, or articles as a job or occupation:Dickens was a prolific writera writer of short stories.’
Looking further into this I found that a writer is also defined as someone who writes, which is the present; this is mentioned on this website. Also if you are a writer you are not necessarily the author of the piece, this I will explain later.
Now let’s look at an author. According to the Oxford Dictionary an author is:
‘A writer of a book, article, or document:he is the author of several books on the subject.Someone who writes books as a profession. An originator of a plan or idea.’
Again going back to the same website I mentioned before, a writer is someone who writes, an author however is someone who has written, so it refers to the past. As I had previously thought you cannot be considered an author of a piece unless the piece is published. Previously I mentioned that a writer will not necessarily be the author of the piece, if you are writing someone else’s idea then you will be the writer but never the author because the idea wasn’t yours. For example, if you write a biography. For more detailed information on this, this website is very useful.
So what do you call yourself? Well if you’re published, you can call yourself an author, if not then a writer. However, when you are suffering with self-doubt you’ll be struggling to call yourself a writer let alone anything else, and at times a label can make things even worse. My advice to you would be to not worry about labels just keep doing what you’re doing, continue on this journey and hopefully one day you will not have to struggle with what to call yourself, you will just simply be.
So my answer to my question is, it doesn’t matter either way, just keep writing. However, due to my self-doubt I think I will focus on calling myself a writer first before I try anything else. It just depends on what you are comfortable with.
To end this post, here is another inspirational quote:
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” – (Ernest Hemingway)
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