“I can’t do that.”
“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.”
“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:
- 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.
- 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