The difference between being a “Writer” & an “Author”

The writing has gone well this week. And that’s all I want to say about that because I am getting superstitious.

The other stuff I’ve been doing made me think about the differences between being a writer and being a published author. So, a list. maybe this is my Friday Five.

1. A writer writes stories and poetry.

1a. An author writes email to the kind people who ask her to visit their school, their library, the monthly meeting of their historical society, their book club, and explain that while she actually likes those kinds of visits, she cannot attend because she doesn’t have enough writing time as it is.

2. A writer writes stories and poetry.

2a. An author writes email to conference organizers with details about airplanes and questions about hotel rooms, and more email declining to read a self-published novel about the “pain and torment of (fill in the blank) and one soul’s journey to rise above it”, and more email declining to share her agent’s name, and more email with questions about publication dates, galley dates, revision dates, and more email inquiring of experts some profoundly obscure facts.

3. A writer writes stories and poetry and reads stories and poetry.

3a. An author writes blogs and reads blogs and comments about blogs and posts pictures to blogs. She writes to her web guy and beats herself up for not writing more content for the website overhaul.

4. A writer wakes up in the morning and eats and moves into her story without pause.

4a. An author wakes up in the morning and eats and moves into the phone call list: to the accountant and the kids and the mother and the mother’s doctor, then she rearranges her Netflix queue, and finally sits down to write …. speeches because she has a bunch of them coming. This reminds her to chase down a couple of hotel reservations.

5. A writer writes.

5a. An author wishes she could write more.

And now you now how the non-writing part of my week went.

In other news…

Thanks to everyone in Bishop who came out to hear me at SUNY Cortland last night. I hope Thursday wasn’t too thirsty.

I am not familiar with the graphic novel, Eightball #22, by Daniel Clowes (though I did like Ghost World). If any of you are, would you care to comment about how the book led to the resignation of an English teacher?

Lunch today: hard-boiled eggs and fresh acorn squash with honey.

I have to fire the Eagles defense and special teams from my fantasy football team. This is killing me, but the boys are not coming through. Sigh.

19 Replies to “The difference between being a “Writer” & an “Author””

  1. I’ve decided that you need a personal assistant. *raises hand* I can chase down your hotel reservations in between my librarian hours and my mommy hours. *grins*

    This is the first I’ve heard about the Eightball #22 situation. I’ll have to explore it some more. Usually, I’m hardcore anti-censorship … but having a third grade daughter makes me step back and look at all sides before making a judgment. It will be interesting to hear what others say.

  2. I think you should wait a week to jump off the Eagles defense. Here’s my rationale:

    A) Any time someone ditches a defense or a player in a fantasy league and I become aware of it, that defense or player exceeds expectations and is the top points-getting squad/player for their position for that week.

    2) The Eagles play the Detroit Lions this week, and if you drop their defense, they will undoubtedly feast on them, and probably get a shutout.

    D) I am a lifelong Lions fan (surprisingly unashamed of this), and would love to see them get to 3-0 for the first time in my life. Getting shutout does not make this a very easy task.

    So please, for Lions fans everywhere (I think there are 5 of us left), do not drop your Eagles defense this week.

    [Ignore the fact that the Lions offense will likely thrive on a quite poor Eagles secondary and put up 300+ yards passing. Think of the Lions fans.]


  3. You make a very convincing argument.

    I have the Vikings defense on the bench. Does that change the calculus for the Lions at all?

  4. Yum that sounded like a delicious lunch. 🙂 I think people forget sometimes how much impact books and words have on people. I sure know when I tell people that I am a writer and hope to be published one day that they almost always give a me a little smile “Oh really. How cute.” Why is that? Is that just an Oregon thing? Or is it because I am still relativly young and they think I will change my mind again in a few weeks? Do you ever get that?

  5. Writer – Author, Actor – Movie Star

    Writer – Author, Actor – Movie Star, hummm see the similarities? I guess this is what happens when you become an accomplished author and your dreams become reality. I know you would say it is all worth it. Promise that whatever you do you keep up the blogs, pictures etc…. You have been a real inspiration to many and especially to me. I think an assistant would be a wonderful idea. I am sure there are many people out there that would enjoy the task.

  6. It caused a firing for two reasons. One, the book’s “content” was taken out of context (a problem common to YA lit as well). Which it has a lot of; Clowes isn’t squeamish.

    Two, it’ll be another 10 years until the educational community even recognizes graphic novels and their important uses in such a way that they don’t feel silly defending them, and also has policies in place protecting them (like some places do now for YA lit). 2a, there is obviously a huge difference between seeing a picture of death/rape/drugs and reading about it, and graphic novels straddle that line in a way that I don’t think anybody has figured out yet. In other words, I would hand a “mature” novel to any high school student without fear. I would not do the same with a “mature” graphic novel. I would never consider handing Clowes to a student in a school setting, and I consider myself fairly liberal wrt book selection for teens.

    It’s a conversation that needs to be had, but isn’t being had because half the fans are shoving to the left (graphic novels are SAVIORS! graphic novels should be read by EVERYBODY!) and the other half is shoving right (comics are beneath attention and childish, except that they are also too grown-up to even consider for teens, somehow!). There’s a middle ground, but of course, as Americans, we are absolutely uninterested in it.

  7. Oh, I used to get that. I have wanted to write since 3rd grade. And I was always hearing “You’ll change your mind.” Or “You know… it’s really hard to do.”

    But, here I am at 26, and I haven’t changed my mind. So, don’t listen to those people. 😉

  8. Too bad you don’t have the Panther’s D on the bench. They play the Falcons, and Joey “I’m not a quarterback but I play one on TV” Harrington is starting.

  9. Re: Writer – Author, Actor – Movie Star

    I hadn’t thought of that comparison.

    The thing is, I don’t really mind most of the “author work” except that it crowds out writing time. And during all those years when I was struggling to be a writer, I never knew that it came with a whole other job attached. So I am still adjusting to that.

    It’s all good, really. It’s just the end of long week and I need to get some sleep.

  10. If you had been aware of the job description that accompanied the position of author, would anything have changed for you?

    PS The good news is that you have an equally powerful impact in either role.

  11. Um? Silly people, indeed! YA fiction is amazing – and much of it is far better than some of the so-called “real” “adult” books published. *shakes head*

  12. Writer v. Author

    As a first-time author, I thoroughly understand the difference now. I feel like a fraud as a writer because I am so busy being an author. I want this book to be a success and in my previous life I was a marketing mgr so I know all the p.r. stuff to do–probably TOO much. But I want to go back and write! There’s nothing like being “in the zone.”

    I am a Bears fan and while our QB may be a gigantic question mark, you can usually count on the defense.

  13. Well, the real calculus for the Lions usually ends up something like. . .

    Graph the highly praised, yet undeveloped offense on the same graph as the defense, which is great in the front 7, but might as well be starting Minnie Mouse in the secondary. Take the integral of both of these. The total area of the graph divided by where they intersect is the probability of the Lions making the playoffs.

    Now throw all that out the window, and watch them finish with 3 to 6 wins anyway.

    So I can’t really say for sure if much would really change that. But I can dream!


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