I was scrolling through my new followers on Twitter this morning, and, naturally, a lot of them are writers. Most of them, really. But what's interesting is the way they choose to identify themselves on their profile pages.
So interesting, in fact, that I'd like to point some of them out.
I am the (aspiring) author of [insert title of novel].
Folks. If you are in the middle of writing a novel, you are not aspiring to write it. You are, in fact, writing it. Unless, of course, all you're really doing is sitting on the sofa and dreaming about writing a novel. In which case, you are not an author at all.
Author and writer
Really? You're both? How do you determine which of your works are authored and which are written? Doesn't that get confusing?
Again, one does not aspire to write. One writes. The term "aspiring author" is often used to denote someone who is attempting to get published, but I wonder what the term "aspiring writer" is meant to denote. "I'm going to write one day when I find some extra time"?
Perhaps another case of simply dreaming about writing some day. Except that the bio goes on to say that this person is working on a first novel. Which is more than just wannabeing a writer. Right?
Writer. Aspiring author of [insert title of novel].
I see the distinction that's trying to be made here: This person is comfortable with the term "writer", but wants to make it clear that the novel hasn't been published yet. Is this really necessary? Surely there's a way to say this without sounding like "writer" and "aspiring author" are two separate entities.
My point is not to poke fun (you know me better than that). My point is: CALL YOURSELF WHAT YOU ARE. Own it.
Well, figure it out first. Get it in your head that you don't have to make a distinction between "writer" and "author" in your Twitter bio (or any bio). Yes, there's the implied "author means you're published" thing. (I have debated this in the past.) If you're not comfortable with "author" because you're not yet published, then use writer.
As in, I AM A WRITER.
That about covers it. And it also makes you sound confident instead of wishy-washy or apologetic or confused.
You could try, I WRITE. Or be more specific: I WRITE MG AND YA FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION.
If you're just dipping your toes in the water, you might say, I'M WRITING MY FIRST NOVEL. (Not "I'm aspiring to write my first novel".)
Regardless of where you are in your journey, though, you are a WRITER. Because...you write.
(And on the author/writer thing: When I contact agents regarding entries on the blog, I always refer to the authors of the entries. Not the writers of the entries. As in, "I will contact the author." Not, "I will contact the writer." There's that.)
So call yourself an "aspiring author" if you want to, but don't ever imply that you are only trying to write, when, actually, you are working your fingers to the bone late at night or early in the morning or on your lunch breaks or all weekend long. Give yourself credit for what you do.
YOU WRITE. Period.
Now go write.