Are you an Author or a Writer?

Posted On Oct 31 2013 by


Sometime in the next 12 hours or so thousands of writers will scramble to their keyboards and begin hammering out some 1600 words per day to reach the coveted 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo.

I’m going to ask you a simple question: are your an author or a writer?

An Author is a title of professional status. You do this because you do it well and you want to do it even better. You are either being paid for your effort or honestly believe you will be soon.

A writer…writes. Charlie Brown wrote to his pen pal monthly. He’s a writer. There are about a zillion bloggers out there posting about politics, their dogs, favorite recipes. Writers. At midnight tonight, writers will slam headlong into their keyboards.

I’m not knocking them. It’s fun. You’re part of the tribe. But I’ll wager that few, if any, published authors are among that group. If you are an Author, then your writing time is valuable. If you work on your novel two hours a day, then you should not take a break in November. If you participate in NaNoWriMo, I would suggest this be done in addition to your normal writing time.

Am I nuts?

Of course. I’m an Author. Unpublished (except for that Women2Women column and a few other magazine articles), but an Author in my apprenticeship. If writing 1600 words per day is not part of your normal writing routine, then I forbid you to stop working on your novel to participate in the fun. If you were an engineer, your employer would not give you time each day to participate in a national robotics competition. That’s your own time, even if it is still engineering.

Your Author time is the same. If you are a professional, you will not use your Author time to participate in what is, essentially, a game. Yes, it will build skill. You may even come up with some usable material. But don’t kid yourself into believing this is a career builder. You build your career by producing well-written books. If not sellable, they will move you one step closer to publication.

So, feel free to play. If it keeps you from your valuable Author time, however, I’d bow out.

Now go have fun. Because it’s fun to be a writer or an author.

Me? I will not participate. My outline isn’t where I want it and I don’t have the extra time. I’ll be working on the novel in November. And it will be much better than the last.

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Last Updated on: October 31st, 2013 at 2:40 pm, by Ron

Written by Ron

Just about everything I believe has been shaped by the written word. But books don't force a belief; they stir the imagination so that you, the reader, eventually draw your own conclusions. We grow richer in spirit when we read, deeper in our understanding of the universe and our role in it. That's why I read. That's why I write. To offer you a bit of myself. Come along on my journey, won't you? There's plenty of room.

3 responses to “Are you an Author or a Writer?

  1. Thanks, Ron. I needed to hear that. Sometimes I enjoy the stimulation of writing so many words so fast. It is fun. I’ve discovered several of my favorite characters during the crunch of the first week of November. This year I’m bowing out and I’ll be rewriting instead and that is fun too. I always feel a twinge of guilt saying no to NaNoWriMo. Thanks for helping with that! Betsy

  2. You make excellent points, Ron, and I’m so glad you posted such honest thoughts. I’m not a participant in the NaNoWriMo. I actually dislike that silly name. It reduces writing to a race and mechanics. Writing is an art as much as it is a craft. Writers don’t need NaNoWriMo to produce quality work. If the motivation to write is coming from the heart, then your doing it already whether the month is November or December. What’s the rush anyway? We’re in it for a lifetime.

    • Exactly, Paula. Once I made the decision that this is for real and began treating it like a career, things like NaNoWriMo didn’t attract me. The question we should always ask is: will this help me to produce a quality product? If the answer is no, then get back to work.