Fussbudget Here

Quirky is the word that comes to mind when I think about my thought process for “certain things.”  Okay, weird works too.  Oh, just call me anal.  Here’s a good example of what I mean; I refuse to wear a race t-shirt if I didn’t run the race.  Plain and simple.  One time, I entered a race and then couldn’t make it.  Someone said, “well, you can pick up your race bag and at least you’ll have the shirt.”  I looked at them like they’d lost their ever-loving mind.

“I can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“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.”


Deep sigh.

“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
As you can see, this did not support my rationale.  You could use one for the other, switch them around, there’s really not that much difference.  I would have bet money the definition of the word author would have had “someone who has written something, and had it PUBLISHED.”  I stand corrected.  Will this change the way I react?  Probably not.  If I’m coined “author,” by some well-meaning friend, and if I don’t say, “well, writer really – I’m not published yet,”  the other person, inquisitive and all, will ask, “what’s the book called?  When can I buy it?”  Which means more awkwardness and foot shuffling.  “Well, you can’t…because it’s not published…yet!”  (I can hear myself now, sheepish, hopeful, worried, followed by a quick “oh look, they’ve got lemon bars on the buffet!”)
Help me out, are you a fuss-budget about this – like me?


I used to believe that authors write and publish books; writers write everything else.
Not anymore.
Regarding, books, short stories, essays, posts and published columns, my word count is staggering. If I’m not an author,no one is…BUT…a little part of me still believes that writers get bylines, authors get title pages.


    I guess based on the definitions above, we could flip flop between the two at will, however we want. For me, writer is good…

    I can only imagine if there was a way to really track the words you’ve laid down, staggering is a fitting description. Hey, you get to use syndicated columnist too, something you should be proud of…


I fully appreciate your distinction, both with writer/author and with the permission to wear the shirt. I wouldn’t allow myself to claim I was even a “writer” until I had 10 stories published (fearing that the first nine might be merely anomalies and not evidence of actual, you know, talent). So now I’m a writer. I have seen your distinction about being published as the qualification for being an author in other places (and for me I’m holding out until I have an actual book published rather than my 10+ stories).

As for the running shirt, I get even crazier. It’s a sure sign of a noob to wear the race shirt DURING the race. As you say, you don’t get the privilege of wearing it until you completed the race. Heck, I even get annoyed when they hand out finisher medals for simple 5K runs. Save the medals for more difficult runs.


    I’m with you on both counts…although like I mention above, the word in of itself (author) sounds stuffy, fussy or something. My husband’s always going around the house singing “Paperback Writer,” by the Beatles…I suppose that’s his tribute to what I do.

    As for those running shirts and when to wear them – AMEN. I have never worn the new one during the race (noobie!) and never, ever, ever, if I didn’t run the darn thing. Oh, and AMEN again to the medals! I’ve found that some people – who don’t run – will say “I’m running a marathon!” And I say which one? And they say, “The 5K in such and such place.” I’m almost embarrassed to supply the mileage distinction between a real marathon and the rest of the races. Which…btw…If I can get my foot straightened out, I’m considering a 1/2 for next year. IDK. Strange things going on w/it…so I’ll have to see. I’d like to do another full. The two I did (2004, 2006) are long ago memories. Thinking I need to make some new ones.


I much prefer the word writer, which is how I think of myself. Author sounds like the work is already done, so I don’t mind it if I’m introducing myself as the ‘author of blah blah blah’, but as a profession it’s just weird. I’m a writer. Present tense.


    It’s strange…when I just had that short story put on BLUE RIDGE DAILY, the editor said, “Author, Donna Everhart brings us…” and I was cringing even here…in my seat, at home, where no one could see me. LOL! So, yeah, even “after…” if it happens, I believe writer is what I’ll stick to, although I can’t control what others say.


The writer who wrote that wonderful short story I read recently is one hell of an author.


Naaa, I’m not a fussbudget about it — nice word though — I’m a ranter about it.
I did a blog post related to this a while back. I won’t link to it — you’ll find it if you want to, it’s called Writer or Author, Rant Time, or something like that.
But I do remember it gently suggests to all the “I’m an author! Buy my book!” types, that they should go put put their head in a bag of farts and light it.

Keep being a writer Donna, even once you’re published. Writers write, and that’s as good as it gets.


%d bloggers like this: