Sunday, March 2, 2008

Merely A Definition?

Don't know if I've announced it on a large scale, though a few of you may have picked up that we're remodeling our house. We bought it almost two years ago knowing it needed a complete overhaul, but seeing the amazing potential. Anyway, we've come a long way, baby. Still yet, there's a lot to be done. And with the spring weather fast approaching (right? tell me it is, please?) the projects are coming to life again.

So a contractor my husband knows is helping us build our new front deck (and the new front wall for the entire house... someday I'll show pictures and you'll see why it's necessary...) on the weekends. He and I chatted a bit yesterday, and he asked, "You're an author right?" Though a part of me inside cringed, wanting to clarify the difference between an author and writer -- ongoing discussions have taken place on AW, arguing that one can only be considered an author when a book as been published in their name -- I just nodded my head. Then that inevitable question: Have you had anything published? I told him yes, articles in print and online, but felt like a fraud when he said, "Cool! Now I can tell people I know an author!" I've felt, in mere terms, like only a writer. I can only be an author once Bliss Lake makes it to print, true?

But then I got to wondering what the literal definitions of these two words are. Here's what I found:

An author, according to Merriam-Webster online, is one that originates or creates or the writer of a literary work (as a book).

And a writer is one that writes: as a: author.

It sounds to me like they could be used interchangeably. What do you think? And how do you categorize yourself?


Melanie Hooyenga said...

I know what you mean. I still don't call myself a writer, I just say that I write. I would cringe, too, if someone put the author label on me. Not that I wouldn't LOVE to earn it, but like you said, I don't feel like I'm there yet.

Thanks for including the definitions. It makes me feel a little less crazy about this. ;)

Anonymous said...

I consider myself a writer. I do publish on-line (blog) and in specialty magazines (philately and postal history), but until I get published in mainstream, will just consider myself a writer. Nothing wrong with that of course. Being a writer rocks anyway, because I get so much pleasure out of it.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Thanks for the feedback, Melanie and Steve! I appreciate what you each had to say.

Come back anytime, Steve. (And Mel, too, of course.)


Anonymous said...

I've always considered the term "author" to be a bit haughty and pretentious when used in self-reference.

"Writer" works fine for me.

A while back, a friend of mine expressed misgivings about even adopting that rather modest label. She didn't know whether she actually met the definition of a "writer". I told her that if she had ever written something, sent it off to someone, received a check in return, deposited that check, and then filled the fridge and paid the phone bill with the money, she ought to have no shame calling herself a writer.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Hi, munchkinwrangler! Thanks for stopping by. And I appreciate your thoughts on defining author vs. writer, too. :)