Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Tweet By Any Other Name

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?

Aspiring writer

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"?

Wannabe writer

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.


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. 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.


  1. THANK YOU. I couldn't agree more. Great post!

  2. You have a real knack for making your tellings-off sound like calls-to-arms. :)

  3. I had to go check my Twitter profile and can now breathe a sigh of relief. I hate being on the bitter end of your rant stick :-)

  4. Well said! Now I must go check my Twitter profile. LOL.

  5. Hey, remember that post where you challenged your readers to say something nice about themselves, and many folks said something they were good at rather than some way that they *were* good? Seems like the "aspiring" label is an additional degree of separation. I wonder how many would be comfortable saying "I'm a writer" vs. "I write" vs. "I'm an aspiring writer."

    Good food for thought, as always!

  6. Oh pish, Adam -- when are you EVER on the bitter end? :P

    heatherkamins -- I think you're absolutely right!

  7. Oh dude. I guess I'll have to change it.... I didn't really think about it that light.

  8. That is some straight forward advice.

  9. I totally want to applaud right now but, you know, applauding and typing at the same time . . . not very workable.

    I called myself aspiring and wannabe for years, and it was so self-destructive. The day I changed my twitter profile is actually seared into my brain. It was a big moment.

    Well said!

  10. Thanks for this. I had used "wannabe" at one point, then changed it to "novelist by delusion" (as I'm yet unpublished), but you're right! I'm not really owning it, am I? I thought I was, but from here on out, there's no maybe or one day! :)

  11. Like it says on my blog (and with apologies to Yoda): Write or write not. There is no try. :)

  12. Hmmm. Guilty. I'll have to change it now....

    Never e'en though 'bout it.

  13. LOVE THIS! I say it often. There's no such thing as an aspiring writer. If you write, you are a writer :)

  14. Good on you.
    The passion is evident in your words.

    Glad that you do YA Science Fiction as I don't think that there's enough.

    I'd love to see you participate in the "I Write" video I'm organising.

  15. AMEN!

    I used to have this huge wariness of calling myself an author. My rationale: I wasn't published, so wouldn't I technically be a writer and not an author?

    Not sure when my thought process changed, but I realized I have to own it if I ever wanna be it.

    Thanks for the inspiring words!

  16. I love words, and yours today are inspirational. I am a writer. I aspire to a thousand words today. Thank you!

  17. Exactly! And thank you.

    I just posted a link to this. Because, yeah.

  18. Totally! Love You! Another perfect post!

  19. Thanks :) I needed to hear that, I feel proud now.

  20. Well put, very encouraging.

  21. I'd just like to say that this post is even more awe-inspiring if you imagine Idris Elba reading it like one of his speeches in Pacific Rim.

  22. Scribo auctor ergo sum

    I write, therefore I am a writer