Thursday, 13 October 2011

What is Thy Name oh Writer?

“Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”–Colette

To begin, I don’t fully agree with the quote presented. So I wrestle with the question is an author an author even though he/she has not been published? Or is he/she just a writer? But we know there are many different types of writers. From technical writers to copy writers and all in between, some stuff is creative, other stuff is factual. And most of this writing is published in one way or another, in brochures, advertisements, etc. So the question remains, are these writers not authors in their own right? Does one have to write a book to be an author? If I wrote an article and published it in a newspaper, am I the author of that article or just the writer?

It has been said that anyone who is published in the printed word (or perhaps these days in the electronic word as well) is an author. You can be the author of a book or a short story, whether it is fiction or non-fiction, and can you also be the author of an article, whether it is fiction or non-fiction? Then comes the question, if I am an author am I a novelist? Are all fiction based books novels? If I write a fictional account of someone’s life by changing the places, the people’s names, descriptions, and a few other things, is this book a novel? And am I a novelist or an author? Or both?

Okay, this I do believe, that if I am a novelist then I am definitely also an author, but just because I am an author does not make me a novelist. That is clear to me. But the author/writer one is not clear. Today there are a million bloggers. Are these bloggers authors or writers? I tend to think they are a mixture. Some are actually authors, which makes them also writers, but some are only writers. So we have a novelist that is also an author and we have authors that are also writers. So no matter if you are a novelist or an author, you are first and foremost a writer.

If you write screenplays, newspaper articles, poetry, short stories, medical or technical articles, fictional or non-fictional books, you are an author because you composed them. But you are still first and foremost a writer. If you write any type of fictional work and publish it, then you are a novelist, author, and a writer. You don’t have to write a literary work in order to be a novelist, any genre of written fictional work that becomes a book with a story is a novel.

So what I get is that an author creates a story, a writer writes a story. A novelist creates and writes a story. Confusing? You bet. My head is spinning. Now I want to know about tweeters. Are tweeters writers? Can one line blips be considered stories? I think not, but still tweeters must be writers because they write, or type or whatever.

The conclusion as far as I can see is that everyone is a writer. Not everyone is an author, and certainly not everyone is a novelist. So next time someone asks what you do, you had better think about it. If you write letters to your friend, or even e mails, and you tweet and you text, then I guess you are a writer. If you write novels, then you are a novelist but you can get by with saying you are an author. If you write articles, poems, any kind of writing and get paid for it, then you are an author. Not many people who do copy writing call themselves authors, but in a sense they are, for they tell a story in order to sell something, they are being creative. So is a song writer an author? I think yes because most songs tell a story. What do you think? Is a journalist a writer and an author or just a writer? Technically a journalist is a writer and an author in my opinion but not many journalists dub themselves as authors, right?

A writer can write as many books as he/she can manage, but if those books never see the light of day as far as being published, then the writer remains a writer forever, and never becomes an author. Even though an author has been said to be a person who is the originator of an idea or story and a writer is the person who conveys that idea to paper and writes it down. This is what is so confusing. Some say an author is anyone who comes up with original ideas, others say a writer does not become an author unless they are published. So I would have to go with the belief that I am a writer until I am published then I am an author, but of course I am also a still a writer and I could be a novelist. I am stopping now because this is getting too confusing for me. Happy Writing and Reading anyway whatever you call yourself. Come on...comment! I'd like to know what you think.

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