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In between writer and author

Have you heard the recent song from American Idol and country music singer, Scotty McCreery? It’s called “In Between” and it’s a fun song that I think a lot of people can identify with because we tend to see ourselves as not all of one particular thing or another. It’s also quite fitting in a world where we often label people in a specific way and once identified as such, find it that much harder to see them as anything different.

As many problems such thinking can cause in our world of relationships, it can be that much more devastating when labels or identification is self-imposed, especially when that assigned identity is less than what we want to be known for. This is particularly true for authors (whether early in their career or even sometimes after being published) where we are quick to claim the title of “writer” but slow to call ourselves an “author”. Even more often, it seems that we identify somewhere “in between”.

So what are you? Are you a writer? Are you an author? Or are you somewhere in between?

When you look for definitions of the two words – writer and author – you may treat the two synonymously. In fact, most definitions of the word author use the word writer to define an author. However, when I consider how the words are used, particularly by those who self-identify as an author versus a writer, it comes down to two distinguishing factors: confidence in their publication status (or potential) and commitment to the writing practice as a career path.

Authors have written with the goal, intention, and likelihood of successful publication of their work. Writers simply write – in other words, the outcome is less significant than the process of writing.

Those “in between” writer and author seem to have a desire to be published, they’ve often created a goal for themselves, but they aren’t yet committed to the writing practice as a means of financial gain and career pursuit. They write (perhaps even often and well), but they have not yet called themselves an “author” and, as a result, often fall short of reaching that goal.

Austin Kleon is credited with saying “You have to dress for the job you want, not the job you have, and you have to start doing the work you want to be doing.”

If you want to be an author, dress yourself with the tools, appearance, and mindset of an author. Claim the authorship of your own identity and then author the work of that identity by doing the work you want to be doing. Too many writers who aspire to be authors get stuck “in between” the two.

Make the leap. Start calling yourself the author you want to be, and then write in the way necessary to achieve that goal. Happy writing!

Eric Schmieder

Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.