If you write things, you are a writer. The definition of the word is, “a person who writes.” You may call yourself a writer anytime you choose to, but a word of caution with this title, people will ask you what you write. Prepare yourself for the following conversation:
Them -with curiosity-: “What do you do?”
You -with pride-: “I am a writer.”
Them -with interest-: “That’s awesome! What do you write?”
All of which will be followed by an awkward silence while one of you tries desperately to find a new topic that doesn’t involve the weather or your lack of knowledge on what you write.
So how do you know when you have become an author? If you follow the definition of an author, it is, “a writer that has written something that has been acknowledged by someone of high rank in the field.”
The history of being authored comes from the days of old. Kings have the power to Lord those that have proven themselves of value. Becoming an author is the writer’s equivalent of being Lorded. A publisher has the power to author you once you have finished your book, or submission for an anthology, or poem contest. The first writer to receive this most coveted title was a man by the name of Andulish from Ancient Rome. He too began with the stages of writer face, until he completed his first poems that were widely spread across the land. When people started reading his words and recognizing him, the word author was created. At the time there was no word that differentiated those who wrote in private, and those who published their works, so the Emperor’s inner circle authored Andulish to recognize his accomplishments.
But what does the word mean in the real world? It means that you can avoid the faces of a writer when someone asks what you write. Also, like a true Lord, you can say you have authored whatever your book is about. That title really makes a difference.
I know what you’re thinking, “Brittany, what do you do in this situation?” Well, the answer to that is easy. I have authored a few things and written many more. So when someone asks me what I write, I avoid Writer-Face by saying “I write a little bit of a lot.” It isn’t a lie. I have many different topics that I write about. However, I have only had three things author acknowledged. 1 – a love poem from when I was 8 years old. 2 – a children’s story about saving Christmas. 3 – a flash fiction about. So I have a variety of things I could say, but it’s more fun to give “writer face” to the people who ask me the question.
So, in a way, I have been Lorded in the writer’s world. Maybe you should call me Lady B now. Gifts for the lady can be left in the comments and subscriptions if you please.
Also, please be aware, that half of this was made up. Andulish may have been a real person, but he is not credited as the first author. Actually, the one given the title of the first author was a Sumerian priestess named Enhedoanna from the 2200’s BC. Research at your own leisure. You’re welcome.
My preference on the topic…authors have written. Writers write. I prefer to be called a writer.
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I think writer is a more flexible identity at the least. Author feels confined to only books and novels, where a writer is open to all branches of the art.