Fussbudget Here

Quirky is the word that comes to mind when I think about my thought process for “certain things.”  Okay, weird works too.  Oh, just call me anal.  Here’s a good example of what I mean; I refuse to wear a race t-shirt if I didn’t run the race.  Plain and simple.  One time, I entered a race and then couldn’t make it.  Someone said, “well, you can pick up your race bag and at least you’ll have the shirt.”  I looked at them like they’d lost their ever-loving mind.

“I can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because, if I don’t run the race, I don’t deserve the shirt.”

“But you paid the entry fee.  It’s your shirt.”

“Nope, can’t do it.  I won’t wear it anyway.”

“Why?”

Deep sigh.

“Because…, like I said, I didn’t run in it.”

Which made them look at me like I had lost my ever-loving mind.  What can I say?  It’s my rule.  I have the very same rule when it comes to using the term writer or author.  As of today, and until I publish a book, I call myself a writer, not an author.  Friends in the midst of a conversation where I might be meeting someone new have introduced me with, “Donna’s an author.”  I actually cringe, yes cringe.  I say, “Well, I’m a writer, because you know…,  I’m not published yet.”  Heads tilt back and they look at me like, huh?  That’s usually when I flounder around with explaining my rationale, an awkward “well…I don’t feel right calling myself an author, not until I’m published…,” and I can just about see the eye roll they are fighting, while I wish it had never been brought up.  Sheesh, like I said, call me anal, weird or whatever.  But like that road race, the way I’ve thought of this all along was, I haven’t earned the title “author.”   I haven’t run the full race, I don’t own the shirt, not until there’s an offer on the table, and I know the book is coming out.

This has happened enough that I finally decided to look up each term, just to see what the dictionary said.  Here’s what I got:

WRITER

  • a person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, etc., especially as an occupation or profession; an author or journalist.
  • a clerk, scribe, or the like.
  • a person who commits his or her thoughts, ideas, etc., to writing: an expert letter writer.
  • a person who writes or is able to write: a writer in script.

AUTHOR

  • a person who writes a novel, poem, essay, etc.; the composer of a literary work, as distinguished from a compiler, translator, editor, or copyist.
  • the literary production or productions of a writer: to find a passage in an author.
  • the maker of anything; creator; originator
  • Computers. the writer of a software program, especially a hypertext or multimedia application.
  • to write; be the author of
  • to originate; create a design for
As you can see, this did not support my rationale.  You could use one for the other, switch them around, there’s really not that much difference.  I would have bet money the definition of the word author would have had “someone who has written something, and had it PUBLISHED.”  I stand corrected.  Will this change the way I react?  Probably not.  If I’m coined “author,” by some well-meaning friend, and if I don’t say, “well, writer really – I’m not published yet,”  the other person, inquisitive and all, will ask, “what’s the book called?  When can I buy it?”  Which means more awkwardness and foot shuffling.  “Well, you can’t…because it’s not published…yet!”  (I can hear myself now, sheepish, hopeful, worried, followed by a quick “oh look, they’ve got lemon bars on the buffet!”)
Help me out, are you a fuss-budget about this – like me?
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