Author vs. Writer

At the meeting of the Headwaters Writer's Guild today, Nancy added a prompt to the several Judy had sent. Nancy's prompt was simply: What's the difference between a writer and an author?

I have thought about this question before. In the past, I've always considered myself to be a writer, never as an author because I wasn't published. The label "author" seemed like a stuffy title, a glorified name for someone who writes and is widely published.

In reality, "writer" and "author" are one in the same. An author, according to Webster's Dictionary, is "one who writes or composes a literary work."  A writer is "one who writes, especially as a business or occupation."

I am an author and a writer. As funny as that sounds, knowing that makes me feel important. True, it doesn't help me get my novels out there faster, but it makes me hopeful.

Lately I've been grounded. An injury I sustained last fall has resurfaced and I find I am in pain frequently, unable to do my usual gardening or even walking and bike riding with my kids. No, I'm not seeking sympathy. I am dealing with it and hope to be back to normal before summer. What it has taught me, however, is patience.

I have a stack of unpublished, unedited novels taking up space in my "office" that I would like to polish and submit. Life has taken me away from spending one-on-one time with them lately, but I'm trying to change that. Being stuck on the couch for a while (if I don't take it slow and easy, I suffer!), I have more opportunity to focus my energies on them. One simply needs "filling out" and the other is in the polishing phase.

Coming back to the whole "writer" vs "author" concept. I think a writer is someone who writes for the sheer enjoyment of creating. An author, is someone who takes that enjoyment a step farther, writing, polishing and sharing their work with the world.

I'd like to think of myself as an author, coming to a bookstore near you...


  1. First, I'm sorry to hear about all the pain you're in... I know I've been taken away from my projects by obligations with school, so it does get frustrating. I have struggled with the definitions of 'author' and 'writer,' and which one to use for myself. I really shouldn't say struggled with the 'definition,' because I'm not one to usually care what the world thinks, but I've struggled with what each word means to me. Over the years, though, I've come to think of them in much the same way as you have. Thanks for sharing!


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