Friday, November 20, 2009

From Author to Writer

How often have we heard someone say, "I'm a writer and I hope to one day be an author?" The implication is that we are all writers, but we don’t become authors until we are good enough or we get that publishing contract or whatever. My claim is that anyone who has ever written something that comes from his own creative thought is an author. The author is the originator of the literary work. So maybe we have it backwards. Instead of being so focused on becoming an author, our goal ought to be to become a writer.

I don’t mean to say that we must become a writer in the sense that we aren’t currently writers. If we write, we are writers, but we should focus on becoming better writers. We can’t become better authors. Either we are an author or we are not. Either we initiated the creative work or we did not. There is no in between. There is no better. But we have a lot of room to become better writers. I authored my first book in kindergarten by dictating it to a sixth grader. For your reading enjoyment, here is the text in it’s entirety:

Jungle Animals

by Timothy Fish

Once upon a time there was lions in the jungle. And they ate something up. It was meat and it had bones in it. It was a fish. They was hungry. They went back to where they was at. Then they hid behind a tree.When a person came they ate him up, because they were mean.

They looked for looked for more meat to eat and they found a monkey. They ate him up and felt more hungry. They they hid behind a tree.

This man come along and thought a stump was one of them and he hit at it. They jumped out and ate him up. The more they eat, the more they get hungry because it tastes so good.

A man's trying to shoot at them, but they come behind him and eat one of his legs off and it makes him fall down.

They ate the rest of him, counting the eyeballs and even his tongue.

Someone else came along and tried to shoot them. But they came real fast behind him and ate his back and his head and even his gun.

They're pretty smart right now.

They get scared of the stump because it looks like a bear. They think it's going to eat them up, and they get so scared they die.

A man comes along and thinks they're alive and shoots at them. They're not dead--they're just playing possum and they eat him up.

Now they go to sleep.

Okay, so its about what you would expect from a six year old, but that's my point. I was just as much an author then as I am now, but I am a better writer. So, as we journey on our quest, the author should seek to become a writer, rather than the writer seeking to become an author.