Everyone is a writer, to some degree.

After all, the word is pretty self-explanatory: a writer is someone who writes.

In our digital world, despite technology that lets us talk to one another from thousands of miles away, even chatting over video, we seem to communicate these days primarily via the written word once more. We send text messages, email one another, tap out Facebook status updates, tweet at one another and even spend time writing out the perfect caption for our Instagram photos.

We all write. This makes us writers.

Being an author, however, feels different. A writer writes, but an author, we feel, creates. They don’t just scribble down whatever words come to mind; they craft sentences and paragraphs into thematic wholes that express complex ideas and narratives.

Of course, these days, people do that quite a bit too. Just look at the massive amount of fan-fiction pumped out by teenagers on the internet for proof.

But a lot of us don’t feel like it really counts unless it’s officially out there in a physical, consumable way. It must be published. We want to hold it in our hands.

That’s why it was so great to see the three girls at Monroe Area High School honored at the Teen Author Expo Thursday for the books they published through the WRiTE BRAiN program.

By putting their own words to pre-fabricated illustrated works, these young people were able to create books they can show off to anyone and proclaim themselves as authors.

It’s a heady feeling. As someone who puts out words for public consumption on a regular basis, I can admit, it never really gets old. And I produce material that usually gets thrown away within a week’s time. These books will go on shelves to be read and re-read for a long time to come.

I’m glad to see the 21st Century Community Learning Center after-school program at MAHS promoting this initiative, which already has more students working on their own pieces.

In a world where we produce text intended to be ephemeral, it’s great to see teens creating work published to last for much, much longer.

They’re not just writers. They’re authors.

And that makes a big difference.

News Editor

Stephen Milligan is the news editor of The Walton Tribune. He lives in Monroe and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

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