One of the tags I use on these blog posts and on Twitter and Instagram, is #writer and just recently I’ve been trying to consider the validity of the use of that word.
I have four books published and available on Amazon (if you haven’t checked them out yet, give them a go) and I feel comfortable with the term author but should I be a writer as well?
Simply speaking, I didn’t write a single word, I typed them.
Now I recognise that this is the smallest of issues and isn’t the stuff to contact the government over but the way words are used can have an effect especially if things change.
When was the last time you wrote anything?
Really wrote rather than just plonk away on a keyboard?
Way back when, a writer was someone who wrote. Be it a story, a poem or anything really. It was more than just the fact that they created words for the consumption of others, it came from the fact that they would have had to actually write the words down. Those words could then be taken and worked into print but for generations, books were reproduced by the painstaking dedication of people copying them by hand.
But things change and as humanity has moved forwards, being a writer no longer holds just the fact of writing. In fact, writers now don’t really write at all, they type. But if I were to say I was a typer or a typist, you’d have in mind a very different image – maybe something office based and vaguely 1950’s. So we have another word that may not fit any more.
So what next?
Should we cling to the former or cast off the shackles to embark on the brave new world?
As with so many things, we move beyond the original name but retain it none the less. How many people called Cooper still make barrels? Do you still say you have to roll the windows down in your car despite having electric windows? Do you tape things from the telly despite there being not a jot of tape involved?
Words are created in response to things, to situations, to almost anything and everything but those things may not always remain. That just leaves the word. A writer on a TV show may type everything but the purpose they fulfil is the same as it always was. The same goes for a writer of books. The role that we fulfil is the important part, not just the basic task itself.
That use of words becomes a form of shorthand that people understand highlights the binding of society by shared knowledge. A writer is someone who places words into coherent order to create a whole, the fact that they use a computer rather than pen and ink is an irrelevance.
All in all, I think us writers have got a few years left before needing to create another term which describes what we’re all doing. In that event, my vote goes with ‘Awesomosimist’.