Debbie LaChusa

Author vs. Writer

I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I majored in Journalism in college. But I never considered myself a writer.

I was a business person and marketer who wrote, a woman who journaled.

I wrote with an agenda: to educate, market, sell, share, and understand and process life.

Professionally, I labeled myself an author. Externally, to establish my experience and expertise, and I suppose internally, to cement my confidence.

By definition an author is someone whose work has been published.

All writers are not authors. I am both. Yet recently I’ve been re-evaluating which label actually means more to me.

Since I began studying the art of writing memoir, I’ve realized that identifying as a writer is about more than just writing. It’s about working on your craft. Learning to write exquisitely and eloquently, not just effectively. Developing a writing style and voice, not just communicating clearly. Choosing words thoughtfully, intentionally, and creatively, not merely stringing together sentences. Editing and rewriting and editing and rewriting some more until each piece is a work of art, and more than just words on a page.

I suppose many writers aspire to be authors.

I won’t lie, it’s an accomplishment I’m proud of. But I also know how easy it is to publish your own work these days. Anyone can blog. Anyone can self-publish a book. Maybe everyone doesn’t, but with a little effort anyone can. And maybe that’s why the label of author has lost some of its luster for me. I’d much rather be known as an excellent writer than an author, because the former must be earned while the latter can pretty much be bought.

As I learn to write memoir and practice my craft, my intention is to begin seeing myself as a writer. As more than someone who wrote and published blogs and books to build a business. As someone whose writing is appreciated as art.

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