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  • Writer's pictureRobert Sadler


Because of the artwork I do and have done, I have variously called myself an “artist”. As writing is my most often mode of expression (novels, poetry, essays, blog posts) I have often wondered why wordsmiths aren’t or should be called: “a writist” or “writists”. Sure the term “writer” has been the term du jour.

Oxford English Dictionary:


Pronunciation /ˈrīdər/ /ˈraɪdər/ 


  • 1 A person who has written a particular text. ‘the writer of the letter’ More example sentences

    • 1.1A person who writes books, stories, or articles as a job or regular occupation.

In my copy of (a 450+ page compendium) Samuel Johnson’s original 2,300 page English Dictionary published in 1775, which listed 40,000 words, I found “writer” but under it the word “writative”. A word coined by English Poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744), as a play on the noun talk/talker (as in talkative); thus write/writer becomes “writative” suggesting he (Pope) was not as “writative” as he used to be.

In my facsimile copy of the first (1806) edition of Noah Webster’s A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language Mr. Webster which does not go too far a field, or into the esoteric, I found this succinct entry:

Writer, n, one who writes, and author

Curious, of late, I searched the internet for the noun: “writist” and sure enough the word exists.

writist A word artist posing as poet,novelist,composer or author that transforms conventional writing by means of typing combined with electronic, techonotronic or paper media.”

Such a skilled writist should hold several key positions.

by Hercolena Oliver November 21, 2008

The Urban Dictionary is an amusing amalgam of definitions as presented by various individuals of unknown epistemological or etymological background. As noted the word “Writist” was defined there in 2008 by one Hercolena Oliver, she posts a number of definitions.

However, I like the idea of the word ‘writist’, but to my mind, using the word ‘posing’ in her definition is out of place. Given the syntax of her definition and her first name, perhaps she comes at English from the mind of a speaker of some other first language*. And perhaps, pose/‘posing’ was a mistranslated/misused, which is to represent oneself as something one is not, or to pretend to be someone other than what you are.

Bottom line, an individual cannot ‘pose’ as a poet, novelist, or composer, you either are one or you are not. (Except perhaps in the aspect of being an actor playing a role.)

* A search of ye olde Internet finds Hercolena Oliver is (possibly) a South African poet/artist… hopefully and not (according to her definition) ‘posing’ as one or the other.


As of late, I have not been either a writist or writer for that matter. And no I have not suffered from a bout with writer’s block or (grin) writist’s block! If you know me you know I do not believe in that phenomenon. And you may quote me: “There is no such thing as writer’s block only writer’s not writing”.

Without boring you with all the details I have not been writing for the better part of a month and a half! Quelle horreur! Yes, it has been awful to not be writing to not have that creative outlet. Why was I not writing? The eyes have it.

Severe eye-strain prompted me to push away from the my writing desk and stop using my computer. After a couple of weeks the muscular stress it had caused, was gone. But I wanted to get my eyes checked out. I did that in late July. My eyes had not changed from my last visit so no new everyday variable-lens glasses were needed. I did however get and Rx for some dedicated single-vision, specially coated, computer glasses. Unfortunately because of ‘the virus’ and other SNAFUs I did not get my glasses for over a month.

So now I’m writing full-steam-ahead on “Just before…” my 16th Michael Grant novel. I was past the halfway mark when I had to stop. Such a big break a time away from my manuscript. But since I “write into the dark” (I don’t outline) and had no idea where the story was going when I stopped I am not hamstrung by trying to remember or fit some preconceived idea of where I wanted the novel to go. Instead I just let the characters tell me where they want to take the story.

Bottom, bottom line, I am happy to be a (non-posing) writist again!

P.S. If this bit of rambling about writing appeals to you, check out my book: A Writer's Thoughts under the Non-Fiction tab on the menu header above.

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