article, writing tips

Writer versus Author

image of hedge maze

Is there a difference?

I was inspired by author K.M. Allan’s post ’10 Signs You’ve Upgraded To Being A Serious Writer’ย and began thinking about all the ways people who write label themselves and one another, especially on the internet.

If you’re reading this, chances are you like to write. Maybe you fancy yourself a “writer”, an “author”, or an “aspiring writer”? How many times have you read the words “aspiring writer” on the internet this week?

The way writers self-identify is fascinating to me. The way literary circles and internet marketing use these words as labels and identifiers is even more interesting.

Let’s take a look


  • Someone who writes
  • Someone who writes for a living (novelist, journalist, blogger)
  • Someone who writes books (specifically)
  • Someone who wants to sound cool at parties


  • Someone who writes
  • Someone who writes a lot
  • Someone who is the author of published book(s)
    • Traditionally or self-published? Take your pick
  • Someone who is a well-regarded and successful writer of books (upper-echelon, or possibly “mid-list author”)
  • Someone who wants to sound cool, and a bit pretentious, at parties
    • bonus points for claiming “auteur” status

Aspiring Writer

  • Someone who writes
  • Someone who fantasizes about writing
    • but maybe doesn’t write a lot?
  • Someone who writes and still has big dreams because the soul-crushing weight of a stack of rejection letters hasn’t demolished them yet
  • Someone who is the recipient of endless writing advice (of varying quality) on the internet
  • Someone who is the recipient of endless writer-focused product pitches (of varying quality) on the internet
  • Someone who is just trying to meet another someone at the party

I come from the old school thought that “Writer’s write, but authors get paid to do it.” I find it keeps me grounded and helps me remember that writing may be an art, but publishing is a business. However, I know many of you think otherwise.

There’s no lack of enthusiasm and encouragement these days for people who want to write, which is great.

That said, I have found the common thread among all writers/authors I know is their evolution was grounded in rejection, exposure to criticism, and continued perseverance. In other words, “you keep writing even when it gets tougher and less nice”.

What do you think? Is there true meaning behind the way writers label themselves with these terms, or is it all semantics?

What do you refer to yourself as when you’re at parties? For the record, I say “writer”.



14 thoughts on “Writer versus Author”

  1. Reblogged this on Stevie Turner, Indie Author. and commented:
    My own thoughts are that a writer/author is somebody who does this for a living because they are well established and can earn enough money doing it. As far as I can tell from 5 years and 10 books trying to do just this, is that the world and his wife are writers/authors with books on Amazon, but only a lucky few (usually with agents and big publishers) can earn a living from it. Therefore are we really writers/authors at all? I usually say at parties that I’m a medical secretary who writes novels for a hobby. I leave out the ‘writer/author’ bit, because it’s going to be a long time (if ever) before I can earn a living just from writing books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Stevie, thanks for the reblog and the comment. It’s really an interesting subject, and there is a lot of room for interpretation. I think you and I seem to lean more on the side of “showing your receipts”, but I know there are many who are happy to self-identify as writers even if they never show another living soul their work. I think a big part of it is that social media has really reinforced the romanticized idea of “the writer’s life”. All the memes and pictures and inspirational quotes make people want that. That said, it’s not really hurting anything, and most people wouldn’t call you out about it at a party. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks again for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love love love this post! I don’t tell people I write at parties whatsoever. Most people only nod when the fact that I blog comes up in conversation. No one whips out their phone to follow me, no one questions further, and for the most part no one in my age category even bothers to read blogs. Personally, I’m not sure what would come of more serious writing. I enjoy blogging but I fear that if I attempt something driven by finances that I’ll lose my drive to write creatively.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Jess. Whether it is blogging or any other form of creative writing, I think you need to be passionate about it to stick with it long term. If someone is just out to make money, they probably won’t be able to sustain writing for a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

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