Writers love to say they have a love affair with words. I, however, am the words' prison bitch. I hate them, they love me, and here we go again to work, so happy.

The word that's annoying me lately is Author.

A couple of things: mostly the people who refer to themselves as Authors are not, in the conventional sense Authors. Industry-wise the general sense of the word is "published" and it generally means in book length-fiction, or a bunch of short stories--by which I mean more than two posted on your blog and that (still!) someone bought them--though the line between whether it's readers or a publisher is blurring. It's a flaky, slippery definition, but I've had actual conversations around the word and that's been the general consensus. It's pretentious and just kind of...cocky, and Beware the Cocky Writer (except in erotica. See what I did there? Yeah. Shuddup.) Author makes me think of things like book tours and cover quotes and con swag. It rarely makes me think "story" or "book" or "writing."

But the most damaging nuance of  Author is the past-tense connotation. It focuses on "having written" vs "writing" and that is The Big Difference between wannabes and done-its. If all you focus on is the finished, published book, then, my friends, you've missed the friggin' point of the gig and likely, about 99.9999% chance you will never get a finished, published book.

All the real live Authors I know refer to themselves as Writers. Writer denotes action. It just feels like someone doing something, not having done. Savvy? I even put it on my business card.

But mostly, dude, when I sit to work, I am NOT thinking about my previously published works. I'm thinking about the next fucking word to type (which lately have been coming along 1 about every 5 minutes. I'm typing with my toes to keep the pace.) My job is writing, I write every day (most), and it's what I am, too. Or, storyteller, if I'm feeling precocious.

By any definition, I'm an Author. I've been introduced as one countless times. I always cringe  (and throw up a little in my mouth if I'm hungover, which at a convention is likely).  Cuz that's the least of what I am, compared to the writing.


kmbjohnson said...

Thank you, I am a Writer, I write almost everyday. I have always believed if you write, you are a writer. You said it all.

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Wendy said...

I didn't feel comfortable with any of it, so on my Twitter bio thingy I put "Noun in Charge of Verbing". I thought it was a good compromise and fits me no matter what mood I'm in!

Mike Ruchhoeft said...

Goodness gracious, Betsy

You are a little cranky today. I have a way for you to deal with this issue. Make a character, a pretentious asshole author, and torture him/her in a story. I sometimes do this with people I know. Lots of fun.

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I love that, Wendy!

I already did and called him MIKE.