Author, Writer, or Neither?


artist artisteI am not a writer. I know, I know, some of you are scratching your heads and looking at the regular schedule of these posts and considering the men with the I love me jackets. Give me a little and I will try to explain why I am being honest. You see, I can write and do so fairly well. At least I have been told that by people I respect. None of us are good at judging ourselves. Just because I can write does not make me a writer, just like the fact that I installed a sink and drains this weekend does not make me a plumber. You can have many skills without being a one of the skill set. I prefer to consider myself a competent man ala Heinlein.

Now you see that the ability to write does not make you a writer we will discuss what does make you a writer, an author, or neither. An Author is easy. Write a book and get published, Voila you are an Author! An author is someone who is published, no more, no less. Certainly they are not necessarily writers. Do you really believe that all of those celebrities and politicians wrote their own books? A few of them sure, a slightly larger number consulted with the actual writer. Most of them have trouble figuring out how to do E-Mail.

Neither is a bit harder. A lot of people talk about the book they are writing. They hang out at the diner or coffee shop and doodle. They talk about ‘when they get published.’ They talk about their plots, and their characters. The one thing they don’t do is write. They call themselves writers but are not. Another type of neither is like myself. I can write, humor, nonfiction, occasional scenes for a friend to build upon, I write reports. I write for this blog. I don’t do it for the writing, I do it for other reasons. This blog is to help the friends starting this E-zine. Since I can turn out material on command I am giving them a regular column. A lot of people can write, and do so only for practical reasons. Whether it be a grant proposal, a short story for a friends, or a work related project, they write it and go on. They are neither writers or authors, they are simply people who use the tool of writing for one reason or another. They do not care whether they write or not. They may even dislike writing. A lot of jobs we do in life we don’t like. That is never an excuse for doing it poorly.

Now we get to the hard one, writers. A writer is someone driven to write. The drive can be for many reasons. Some writers write because they love playing with the language and the words. Some because it relieves the pressure of too many people living in their heads. Some write because they have stories they wish to share. A number of them write because they are freaking insane and want to inflict it upon the rest of us. Writers are those who must write, whether to hide it away under the bed for their ritual spring bonfire, or become fabulously rich from writing bad fanfic. Even the guy in the insane asylum writing his incoherent ravings on the wall is a writer, we are talking about what people are, not how good they are.
So? which are you?


7 comments on “Author, Writer, or Neither?

  1. I’m one of an infinite number of monkeys… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Accepting your definition of writer– I could argue it both ways, and find “someone who has to write to get it out” to be a better one than “someone who has to write to get the story out”– I’m a neither, too.

    I write, and do it well enough to be invited to be filler at a couple of blogs, probably as a “quirky color” type space-filler– my drive is that when I poke something enough, I have to try to make it fit, and then I’ve got to try to tell someone about it. Writing it down is better than fumbling around the words with either folks I might mislead on important subjects, or my long-suffering husband. That’s part of why I’m so impressed with Tolkien and Lewis, and why I think that the need to write to get it down is the deciding point….

    But I don’t write stories. Yet. Lots and lots and lots of snippets, but no stories.

    I really want to be a story writer. Someday. 😀


  3. Another type of neither is like myself. I can write, humor, nonfiction, occasional scenes for a friend to build upon, I write reports.

    *mom-eyes him*
    Unless I have totally misjudged you, you’re in the same class as my uncle, the Bard. That non-fiction you do that is what happened to you is going to have a touch of the sea-story tradition to it….
    (A slightly more famous version would be Patrick McManus, or those blessed with a touch of the blarney.)


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