Writers Workshop: Writer Vs Author

Washington Irving

This is an old bugaboo of mine, a personal burr in my saddle. The question: “What’s the difference between a writer and an author?” What an ancient, persistent and mostly useless hack!

Here are a few answers from around the web, plus a bonus. I’ve avoided the typical cliches and standard online definitions. Instead, I looked for a small cross-section of answers and a few different presentations. If nothing else, these should tickle your sides a bit. Don’t take them too seriously because, well, they’re not that meaningful in relation to cosmic events. However, they do tell you something about those who wrote the words.

My answer is at the bottom of the article, taking its rightful place as last. Perhaps you have a favorite definition? I’d love to hear about it.

A writer is a person who writes a book, article, or any literary piece, while an author is essentially the person who originates the idea, plot, or content of the work being written. (www.differencebetween.net)

Someone asked me the other day to describe the difference between an author and a writer. I tried giving a basic definition by saying most people are writers at some point in their lives—even if all they write is a grocery list—while authors focus on writing as a career. But this person didn’t like that answer and persisted. So here’s my attempt at a deeper response: An author has readers. A writer doesn’t. (www.jasonsanford.com)

An author is someone who has written anything published. Even someone who writes something in the high school paper is considered an author because their work was published. A writer, however, is anyone who writes. For example, I am a writer right now because I am writing. (www.wikianswers.com)

Writer’s Digest has a cool quote on the difference between writers and authors: Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”–Colette (www.slushpile.net)

A writer typically writes for a living, often freelance, or on the payroll of a company large enough to have its own copywriting or journalistic department. An author, however, is a special breed of writer. Don’t get me wrong, all writers are special! But authors see a larger vision. They see the world through the pages of books. Nonfiction, self-help, novels, children’s, fairy tales-you name it; they see it in book form. (www.ezinearticles.com)

Ego. (me)

And your favorite definition is . . .

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