Re: "I want to be a writer" Vs "I want to be an author"

#2
At it's most base level, I would say that "I want to be a writer" is just that, someone who puts own to paper and writes words from which they and whomever they might show their work to may derive enjoyment. 

"I want to be an author" suggests a level of professional success, a desire to put ones work out for others to read and enjoy beyond just the close circle of friends and/or family. 

You are a writer if you write. You are an author if you publish, is how I would probably break it down. 

Re: "I want to be a writer" Vs "I want to be an author"

#3
Good question.

I think most people, especially those working around writing groups have met the people who prefer to have written rather than write.

I can give an example I ran across, of this guy who in a letter to his family, announced he would be writing a book(with a lot of pompous language) and how successful it'd be. This is someone writing non-fiction, to my knowledge had never actually written something in a long-form, and sure as hell did not have a publisher lined up for a project without a single letter on it. Yet such emphasis was put on it, and it came across as bragging.

So what's the point of this story?

With any culture or hobby, there are people more attracted towards the outward-facing connotations and public perception of a sub-group than actually finding enjoyment and engagement in whatever actually defines the group. Now, this can motivate people enough to complete and advance, but they might never really enjoy it, in the same way, someone who likes the activity does. I'd imagine this is harder since it brings a lack of care and investment in the actual act since the goal is past it. Some of these people fizzle out, some of them simply do well enough to associate with people who find success and have that drive, and that's enough for them. It makes them feel successful to be connected to those who are, even with nothing actually produced, since they feel like they're in the 'in-group'.

It's not like this is also a strict you are or aren't gradient. At least for writing. People can fall anywhere on the spectrum from the love of craft to wanting to 'be an author.'

And it doesn't mean someone who has the goal of being an author more instead of wanting to be a good writer is wrong or bad.

They can also want to write very well, and have varying levels of professional success they want to find. Never publishing and writing for themselves- to being a best seller.

Re: "I want to be a writer" Vs "I want to be an author"

#7

parkertallan Wrote: Although author implies a more professional aspect, I think writer and author are the same. I consider all those who post on Royal Road to be authors even if they're only doing it as a hobby and never make a penny from their writing.
Oh certainly! And forgive me if I gave a different impression. When I say "publish", I meant in the broader scope of the word, anything from placing it on your blog to getting a six-figure contract with one of the Big Five to Amazon Kindle. Basically, if you're putting it out in public somewhere where strangers can read it, you've published. 

Re: "I want to be a writer" Vs "I want to be an author"

#9
Hm... A writer writes and an author has written, though I certainly appreciate the distinction between the two desires. I suppose I more often want to be an author these days, though that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy writing. When I was younger I wrote because I enjoyed writing. The past few years I've been trying to get back in touch with that part of myself, but too much baggage has been associated with the activity. Pressure from my friends and family to be successful or to quit, the expectation of subjective perfection from critics and other writers, all of the guidelines, the rules, the "social responsibility." There are fleeting moments where the writing itself is still fun, where I get up ready to go and look forward to hitting that word processor. More often it's work, and like work, I have to make myself do it.

Truthfully, fiction is not my first love. Games are. When I was younger, I couldn't wrap my head around programming of any kind (and it's not like I'm exactly knowledgeable in the field even now), and no matter how hard I tried, visual arts were well beyond me. So I wrote. Granted, I've always been a storyteller, and my first "book" would have been "The Power Rangers Beat the Bad Guys" when I was just a little kid, so I've always had some inclination for writing in some capacity. Primarily, I like to explore, mentally, things which I find intriguing, and I'd like to encourage others to explore as well. Writing is the path available for me to achieve that.

Something else is amiss lately. Not just writing is like pulling teeth. Though I love gaming, I have a hard time motivating myself to play them. I don't get drawn into TV like I used to, or movies.

Once I wanted to be a writer. Now I want to be an author. Mainly I just want to stretch out on some far away beach and sleep until the sun cooks me.

Re: "I want to be a writer" Vs "I want to be an author"

#12
I think that the discriminator is whether or not you are writing on behalf of someone else, or writing for yourself.

An Author is one who writes for themselves. They're going to put out content regardless of what others desire. If they are paid for it, they become a "successful" author.

A Writer is someone who is paid or encouraged to write on another's behalf. Think Editorial writers, ghost-writers or script-writers for serialized screenplay vs someone who creates text-books, films or fiction through their own force of will.

While Film often puts the creator of a work in as a "writing credit" they are, in my opinion, the author of the work. It would not have even existed if they hadn't listened to the muse and created their vision.

TLDR: It's the motivation that makes the author vs the writer.

Re: "I want to be a writer" Vs "I want to be an author"

#13
In the end, it doesn't matter one wit.  It's just semantics.  A writer writes.  An author... writes too.  Still, some may want to make them mean slightly different things.  That's just fine.  English is a living language and evolves over time.  There are also regional differences with many words (vernacular).  There will never be a complete consensus on the relationship between these two words, and that's okay.

Re: "I want to be a writer" Vs "I want to be an author"

#14

splattenburgers Wrote: Are the two the same thing, or is there a difference? Is there a difference between fantasizing about wring things Vs fantasizing about having the life of an author? What is the difference?
You wrote a forum post. You have written it, and that makes you an author. A writer is a person who writes. Writers are authors, they're authors of many things, because they "write." An author is a person who "has written" but not necessarily someone who writes.

And that's the distinction. I never call myself an author. I'm a writer.