While reading through Twitter recently, I caught wind of a rivalry within the writing community that I didn’t know existed: the Writer vs. Author conflict. Though well-aware of the positions of those involved in the discussion, I thought it best to do some independent reading to see what, if any, the big deal is. For those unaware, there’s a line that seemingly separates writers–who can be anyone writing about anything–from authors, who are considered to be professional writers of published and sold work.
An article on Masterclass went a little further, mentioning that the category of Writer even includes screenwriters and ghostwriters. After reading that opinion, the initial argument made even less sense to me. When something goes from script to screen (whether that screen is large or small) and when a ghostwriter’s work is featured in a publication or novel, doesn’t that technically make them an author–if we’re going by the aforementioned definition?
I suppose that these lines, along with many others, can easily become blurred. Personally, I use both words interchangeably to describe myself. The only thing I don’t do is to no longer use the word ‘aspiring’ when describing myself since I have published two novels. I also don’t jump to say, “I’m writing my third novel…but I’m an author of two previous works…” I definitely don’t go out of my way to correct someone when they refer to me as a writer rather than an author. I love what I do either way and I guess I just don’t feel a need to hammer home the point.
This isn’t to say that others can’t do as they like and label themselves accordingly. I certainly don’t have a dog in the Writer vs. Author ‘fight.’ A definition of an author is, after all, “A writer of a book, article, or report.” I see neither parentheses nor an asterisk with the word, “published” anywhere in there. There are also writers who have accumulated massive volumes of work while an author may have written and published one thing and never looked back. Does that mean one is better than the other? I do wonder about the wealth of amazing work we’re missing out on because someone already suffering from a fear of failure, or thinking they’re ‘just a writer’ and would never make it, is holding back on sharing something truly great with us.
Why can’t we all just be creatives? Why not just artists, undefined by mediums or what avenues we’ve taken? I am personally no more of a fan of the Writer/Author discussion as I am of those who want to pigeonhole creative people into one genre. Dammit, if I want to write dark fantasy one day, a supernatural thriller the next, and historical fiction afterward–who is it hurting? Imagination is a vast entity…so, why contain it?