Saturday, March 28, 2009


Writer or Author, which comes first?
Is it the cow before the horse?
Author, writer, writer, author,
both create, of course!

Are we writers because we sit and write, or are we authors because we slave across the page? I always wondered which is accurate. How often do people ask you, "What do you do?" "I'm a writer" you respond. "So, are you an author?" they say.

Does a person who writes need to be published before she/he becomes an author or are we authors and when we become published do we ascend to writer status?

Webster is unclear but indicates that the terms are synonymous.

Author - "One that originates or creates; the writer of a literary work."

Writer - "Author; one who writes."

So....Webster doesn't mentioned being published as a requirement to be either an author or writer. "He" does mention "literary" works. So, works not literary ...are written by............

Webster also mentions:

Writer's bloc - the psychological inhibition preventing an author from proceeding with a piece

Writer's cramp - a painful spasmodic contraction of muscles of hand or fingers brought on by excessive writing

So, whether writer or author, let's try to avoid,
the stumbling blocs and the cramps so tight,
and apply fingers to keyboards,
and create as we write.

Writer....Or ....Author?


  1. Nathan Bransford had a post on this and most commenters concluded that writer = writer but author = published. Not saying I agree...but there ya go. Throw storyteller into the loop for fun. I was debating what to stick on my business cards and went with writer.

  2. Martha: I saw NB's post about it too and am leaning toward agreeing with most of his commenters. I also think calling a novel/play "Writer! Writer! instead of "Author! Author!" would have sounded off, though I'm not sure whether it's because the original title is more familiar or makes more sense, word-wise. Then again, what do I know, I'm just a writer. :-)

  3. I agree with the writer = writer but author = published. But even then, I list my occupation as "writer" on my tax forms. "Author" has an air of snobbery to it - Self-aggrandizement.

  4. I think of the word author as more of a title of respect given to someone who is a writer. "So-and-So is the author of the book, Such-and-Which."

    I think most authors, even the most prolific ones, think of themselves as writers, because writing is the actual activity we do. We don't "author," we "write."
    We don't say, "I have a lot of authoring to do today." :)

  5. I'm all about those action verbs. And since I write, I'm a writer. When I'm published, I'll still be a writer. But if at that point, others want to call me an author, that will be fine with me.

  6. Martha: I believe that many commentators would agree that one who writes is a writer but an author is a published writer.

    Bish: Good point that one doesn't say "I was authoring today" They say, "I was hard at work writing today."

  7. Writer = Writer
    Author = Published

    That's how my mind makes sense of those words.