Defining an Author
Dictionary.com defines a writer as a person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, etc., especially as an occupation or profession; an author or journalist. That’s a very simple and vague definition of what a writer is, but it does sum it up. I’d like to take that a step further, though. Writing is a lot more involved than just putting words together to form a sentence. What I do like about this particular definition is the word “engaged.” That word defines a vital part of the writing life. One who is engaged in something is dedicated and focused on that particular task. Going back to the simple definition of a writer, anyone who writes something is technically a writer, right? Wrong. This is why as a writer of fiction I like to instead define myself as an author…not simply a writer.
Let’s look at how Dictionary.com defines an author: a person who writes a novel, poem, essay, etc.; the composer of literary work, as distinguished from a compiler, translator, editor, or copyist.
Mirriam-Webster defines an author as one that originates or creates; the writer of a literary work.
Now that sounds more like it.
The Author’s Writing Canvas
Writing fiction is a form of art. It involves using your imagination and telling a story that is original and hopefully keeps your reader turning the pages. This is a challenging process because when you are writing fiction you have to remember that while you may think you have written a great scene, you may lose your reader’s attention if that scene isn’t painted well on your writing canvas. You have to figure out how to capture your audience when telling your story, and more importantly, show the reader the details of your written scene. If the reader can’t visualize what you have written then it may be time to pull out the red editor’s pen.
When assembling your story your work of art includes everything from setting, characters, dialogue, pace, sentence structure and the overall plot. That’s a lot to think about when building a story and it can be quite a challenging process, but that’s part of the fun, especially when your characters disagree with your outline and you have to rethink the whole damn story. Those voices in your head get to arguing about where the story should be heading, and as much as you want to be in control, sometimes you just have to concede and give your characters the reins.
I’m an Author Because I Love to Write
I’m preaching to myself when it comes to all of the details involved in trying to create a story that others will enjoy, and when I’m staring at my computer screen with the deer-in-the-headlights look as writer’s block rears its ugly face at me, I have to step away from my writing canvas and remind myself why I’m an author. When I get discouraged after literally putting years of hard work into a book that doesn’t sell, which I truly enjoyed writing (and enjoy reading), that’s when I have to remind myself that I’m an author because I love to write. That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing less. If I write for the sole purpose of making a buck, then I need to stop writing.
Obviously, I hope people will spend a few bucks and dedicate some of their valuable time to read my work of art, my work of fiction, and enjoy it. However, if I don’t become the next Amazon best-selling author, or even get one five-star review, that’s okay. Why? It’s okay because I’m an author who simply loves to write.
The Author’s Thermometer
If you are struggling with your work of art and sometimes feel like kicking that writing canvas to the ground in frustration because your masterpiece isn’t selling, it’s time to take your temperature, because you may just be getting hot headed about nothing. Are you tempted to stop writing because you are entertaining the assumption that it’s not worth continuing to write because nobody is reading your work? That temperature gauge is getting too high now and you need to cool off. Just relax, take a deep breath and remind yourself of why you are an author. Why did you start writing to begin with? What is it that motivates you to continue writing? How do you measure your success as an author? Do you measure your success based on the amount of copies you sell or do you measure your success in the satisfaction of publishing a work of art? Your work of art!
Write because you love it. Write because you enjoy the creative process. Write because you are an author. Just write! Nothing more. Nothing less.
You might also like:
- Guest Post: “Write the Exercise Way” by Steven Montano
- Beta Readers: Do I Need Them?
- Huge Mistake or Best Decision I Ever Made?
- My Commitment to Writing in 2012