I've noticed that there's some controversy surrounding the author versus writer topic … and I suspect that , for some people , it's a sensitive issue and they might take offence if addressed incorrectly . On the other hand , I may be off the mark …

To me the word 'author' is more formal and connotes publication , whereas the word 'writer' is more relaxed/informal . Author also conjures an image of the traditional , staid type from yester-year (or is it my perception of the author from back-in-the-day ?) , complete with grey hair , smoking a pipe , dressed in his polo-neck jersey and sitting in front of a typewriter . But that's just by the way …


So here are my thoughts on the issue …

~~ can we safely say that any person who writes is a writer but not every person who writes is an author ?

~~ does this have to do with fiction (author) vs. non-fiction (writer) as well as published (author) vs. non-published (writer) ?

~~ if you only have published articles and no published books , does it make you a writer or an author ?

~~ what about somebody who wrote a novel 10 years ago and nothing since , as opposed to the person who writes on a daily basis , is the former a writer ?

~~ what about a non-published person with a successful blog novel ?

~~ is it more of a status issue ?

To me , whatever makes you happy … it's not really a train smash … I was just wondering , that's all … what are your thoughts on the subject ?


  1. Jes on June 8, 2011 at 3:10 am

    Never really thought about it before, but now that I do…I suppose I always use "author" in reference, like say at a dinner party, saying, "Oh yeah, the Jim guy over by the window is the author of _________" or whatever.  So… other than in reference, publication, I suppose, is the difference for me.  In the same example, at the same dinner party, I wouldn't say "Jim is an author," unless referring to his book/thesis/etc., because it implies ownership, whereas I could say "Jim is a writer," and just not say what he writes, as the word "writer" doesn't imply that element of ownership. Does that make any sense? 
    Truthfully, everyone can physically write, yes, just like everyone can physically cook, yes. Whether or not they should do so often enough to be termed writers/authors or cooks/chefs, well, that's where the talent and dedication comes into play. People can burn water, did you know that? lol. 
    If that seems snotty, I don't mean it to be in any way! Interesting post…

    • mish on June 9, 2011 at 11:21 am

      It makes sense what you’re saying , especially the ownership angle you refer to . Author implies specific ownership whereas “writer” is more vague and would probably cover a wider spectrum including different types of writing which fall under non-fiction .

  2. Beverly Diehl on June 8, 2011 at 4:31 am

    If you're in a theatre, and the play is brilliant, you better call, "Author!  Author!"  not "Writer!  Writer!"   I prefer to refer to myself as a writer – writer of books, short stories, blogs, letters and essays.  It also feels more accessible, which is what I want to be, whereas author is a bit snooty, IMO.  But if it makes you happy to be an author, I'm happy to call you one, just don't ASSUME I will know your preference by telepathy.

    • mish on June 9, 2011 at 11:29 am

      I agree that “writer” is more accessible & “down-to-earth” ! It’s all about connotation , as well . For me , author implies “stiff upper-lip-curl” , whilst writer has a current appeal … it’s hip and snazzy … 🙂

  3. Victoria on June 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I've read about the author/writer debate and it seems most tend toward the published versus not-yet-published definition too. As far as I see it, titles are so limiting. The important thing for me is to enjoy the process. Have a happy day!

    • mish on June 9, 2011 at 11:33 am

      Absolutely spot on ! Who cares about titles ? We must be wary of getting caught up in semantics and missing the real point which is enjoyment & passion for the writing craft !

  4. Misha on June 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Hehehe my thoughts are that someone can't technically be an author unless there's an of coming after it. So, John isn't a authot unless you can say John is THE author OF Other People are Paying to Read my Book.
    If you wrote a book a while ago, but aren't writing/intending to write right now, I think you're still an author, but not really a writer.
    If articles are published, you're and Author OF…
    Ghost writers stay writers even if their work is published, because the work isn't attributed to them. 
    Status issue? I think it's more of a language issue. ^_^ 

    • mish on June 11, 2011 at 9:21 am

      So technically speaking , you’re saying that any person who is published is an author of such and such a work/book/magazine article … etc . Cool ! Thanks for your input !

  5. Michelle Gregory on June 10, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    cool! another writer blog to follow back. nice to meet you. i think i've been here before.
    i think that with the advent of e-publishing, indie publishing, etc. the lines between author and writer have been blurred. in the end, we all write. does it matter what we call ourselves?
    ~ Michelle (who's husband calls her Mich)

    • mish on June 11, 2011 at 9:27 am

      Hey Mich ~ yes you visited during A~Z …
      I said it before and I’ll say it again , it’s all a matter of semantics ! At the end of the day , we all pursue a common goal , which is to put pen to paper !! Titles are limiting anyway !
      Thanks for swinging by and hope to see you again !

  6. Mindsinger on June 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Heavens!  I was beginning to worry about you!  How did she get herself out in the elements without shelter?  Good write.  BTW, I resemble that "author" in only one respect, maybe two.  I'm old and I have white hair.  But i don't smoke a pipe and I sit at a custom built computer!

    • mish on June 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      Ah , then I am in the company of one of the greats ! Nice to meet you Mindsinger !

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