The writer and the author

I hear typing! Real, live, FAST typing. Productive typing. The kind of click click clicks that are going somewhere, and ain’t stopping for no one, no how.

That’s so exciting!

It’d be more exciting if it were my typing, though. See, I’m a writer. I’m supposed to write. But I don’t. Instead I read Dooce, and I play with my puppy, and I check my email just in case something new has come in the past 30 seconds. (Nope, still nothing.) I do pretty much everything except write. Which I think means I’m a pretty bad writer.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, is writing typing. He won’t let me say he’s writing, because he’s not a writer. He published this book once, but that doesn’t count. That was a true story. (Really? I convinced someone not to jump off a roof? I don’t remember that…)

“What are you, then?” I ask him.

“What do you mean?”

“You published a book, but you say you’re not a writer. So what are you?”

He thinks for a moment. “I’m an author,” he finally answers.

Ah, it all makes sense now.

… o_O

In fairness, once you get into the semantics, it does sort of make sense. See, we writers care about the words. We experience passionate fervor for the craft, the art of writing. We labor painstakingly over each and every sentence, with our trusty Internal Editor reading over our shoulders, scrutinizing our work even in its roughest, most vulnerable forms. We have to go slowly, to ensure that we are creating the most beautiful, perfect expression of thought and emotion that we possibly can. For example, it’s taken me 4 hours to write (and italicize) this paragraph alone!

Authors, on the other hand, actually produce writing.

What this really gets down to is a difference in personalities between Andy and myself. He’s a do-er, and I’m a think-er. Okay, he’s a think-then-do-er, and I’m still just a think-er. And that’s a problem. I need to DO. More importantly, I need to FINISH. Finish my novel, finish my stories, finish my glass of water, finish this entry!

FINISH, WOMAN, FINISH!

Then I too will be a published author, and not just a writer who loves the craft.

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9 Comments

  1. Aisha

    Oh wow I usually take forever to write (short) things as well. I thought I was just a perfectionist freak or something. And often I go over old emails and LJ entries and see something I would have like to have phrased better.

  2. Yeah, it’s the plight of the perfectionists. Andy is a POST-production perfectionist. Meaning he PRODUCES first, THEN perfects. Most of us don’t get that far because we’re perfecting along the way…

    Emails, haha, I don’t usually stress about, though.

  3. Hi, Kathy! Thanks for visiting. I’ll have to give that whole “throw something at him” thing a try. ;)

  4. kathy

    Hi, I just wandered into your blog via Dooce and you’re cracking me up! I can so relate, I have way more productive things I could do, but instead I wander into peoples blogs via Dooce. I figure anyone reading her blog must have a sense of humor and sho nuff! Manage to get some good reading done…but nothing productive. ;) I think if my husband were sitting next to me typing away I’d probably throw something at him and tell him to quiet down.

  5. Yes, this sounds familiar. Keep writing, Kristan. I read some of your other posts. It’s good you’re checking out MFA programs, and it sounds like you’re also aware that the professors you may have will influence (either positively or negatively) the way you write in the future. Bear that in mind. But a writer writes, regardless of place or influence. Good luck! Hope to buy a book by you one of these days.

  6. Aw, thank you, Matt!! You totally just made my day. :)

  7. Wow, I couldn’t relate to this more. Since I was little I’ve wanted to write a book, and my entire family knows that, but they don’t understand how complicated the mind of a writer is lol. Anyway good luck, I hope to see your name in print one day :)

  8. Thanks! Maybe yours too? ;)

  9. aw i just saw this and like this writer. i complete all TOO well with this..

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