Monday, July 06, 2009


Author Vs. Writer - What's Your Title?

by LuAnn Schindler

In 1913, Gertrude Stein wrote the line "A rose is a rose is a rose" in the poem Sacred Emily. And back in 1594, Shakespeare wrote "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Are all roses equal? What makes one rose, say, an author, while another rose is known as a writer? And then there's that third rose, a.k.a. journalist. And the next rose known as a blogger. The roses continue to bloom: copywriter, screenwriter, playwright, poet, columnist, reporter, biographer, essayist, ghostwriter.....

What started this rant comparing roses to titles? In this social networking world in which we live and write, it's interesting to see what titles people use...and WHY they select the self-imposed title. In a post I read, a writer mentioned she had interviewed another writer and included a link to the interview. In the next post, she corrected herself and said the interviewee was an 'author' and she, the interviewer, was merely a writer.

Merely a writer? Aren't the words 'author' and 'writer' synonymous? The definition of the two are the same: a person who generates or gives existence to ideas.

As a writer/author/blogger/journalist/poet/essayist/columnist/reporter, I've generated many ideas and watched them blossom into existence. Isn't that what writers/authors/bloggers/journalists/poets/essayists/columnists/reporters do?

Is there a taxonomy to writer's titles? Is one better than the other? Do we writers use a different term to describe our writing existence to different audiences because we want to be viewed in a certain way? Do we really believe that an author who publishes one book is higher on the proverbial writing ladder than a columnist who produces a 750-word work every week?

When a writer states she's merely a writer in a public forum, what message is sent to her readers and fellow scribes? In my book, a writer is a writer, whether we write a novel, a poem, a column, or a journal, and a writer by any other name does not necessarily smell as sweet.

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