Thanks for stopping by. Mummy Mayhem is no longer updated. I now have a new, albeit smaller blog over at www.jodieansted.blogspot.com.au.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Writers vs Bloggers - Is There a Difference?

A question I’ve asked myself a few times, and I know other bloggers have asked: If you’re a ‘blogger’, does that make you a ‘writer’?

I’ll be honest. I don’t really consider myself a ‘writer’. I write, yes, but I think of myself more as a ‘blogger’. However, I’ve given this a lot of thought lately, as well as read more than one piece on this very subject, and I’ve come to wonder if a blogger is, in fact, a ‘writer’ after all?

When I first began my blog, my purpose wasn’t to start a new career for myself. I mean, yes – I imagine it would be great to write, say, a weekly column in a magazine or something, and certainly - although I’m not sitting here waiting for that to happen - I would jump at an opportunity like that. I think many bloggers would do the same. Why not? It’d be fun. But I’m not using my blog as a platform to kick-start a writing career. I know that, when it comes to my writing skills, I have a lot to learn. (A lot.) But essentially, I’m doing this because I just like writing, and I like to entertain and get feedback (from you)! Occasionally, I like to vent (with a good rant), and I also think that some of what I write might actually help others, even in some small way. I guess this blogging thing is kind of like a hobby to me.

But there are some in the blogging community who do this because they do want more. They want to get their writing out there, and they hope to make this more than just a passion – but a way to pay the bills. And why not? Doing something you love, and also making money out of it, has to be win/win situation, doesn’t it? (It’s a shame they don’t pay mothers to mother. I’d have the best darn job in the whole wide world!) And has there ever been a format better equipped to do this than that of the mighty old blog?

I read a lot of blogs. Some of those blogs stand out in particular. They are written by talented, expressive (and often self-confessed) wannabe ‘writers’. And boy, can they write. I mean, I’m not qualified (in the slightest) to judge their writing skills, but I think if you connect with what that person is writing, and it’s written in an intelligent, entertaining and thoughtful way, then…it’s a winner (in my humble opinion anyway). And I have no doubt that someday I’ll see some of these blogger’s books in my local book store; or I’ll read an article written by that person in some magazine I pick up in my dentist’s waiting room. No doubt.

Is a blogger’s ‘work’ any less desirable because they didn’t start off as a ‘writer’? I don’t think so at all. Here’s why:

Take art for example. I don’t choose art based on who the artist is, or how established that artist is or how many paintings he/she has sold before. Nor do I buy art based on how much it costs (more expensive = more valuable?). I buy art because it appeals to me. It invokes an emotion within me when I look at it. It tells me a story. Whilst I can appreciate pretty much every Claude Monet painting that ever existed (I’ve been a fan from the age of about 15), I once bought a painting from Target because I loved it so much. (My MIL, who not only has a son who is an artist, also spends a lot of time in art galleries. Even she thought it was a really good piece.)

Realistically, what do you think those in the ‘art world’ would think of me buying a painting from Target? Well, I can only imagine.

I read many blogs by ‘mums’. In the ‘writing world’ they wouldn’t be considered ‘real writers’, but I beg to differ.

Just like art, I don’t care if the person writing the piece has written for 10 years and holds a university degree in journalism. On the flip side of that, I also don’t care if he/she has never written anything before. Nor am I concerned if that blogger has over 2000 followers, or 2. Who cares? If I can relate to that piece; if it moves me and makes me think, and it tells me a story then…what does it matter whether that person is considered a ‘writer’ or not?

It’s a shame that some ‘writers’ and editors put down bloggers, and dismiss their pieces as “fluff and nonsense”. Much has been written and said about “Mummy Bloggers”, so I won’t bore you with all that, but it begs the question: Can you really only be referred to as a ‘writer’ because you studied writing in university? Because you’ve ‘published’ something? Do you have to do the ‘hard yards’ first making coffee at the local newspaper offices before forging ahead with a ‘real’ career as a ‘writer’? Do you have to have been a regular contributor in a well-known magazine first? Do you have to have written a book, been rejected by a dozen publishers, only to eventually have it published after ten years of trying to have it picked up, and then - only then – be considered a ‘writer’?

Or, can you be considered a ‘writer’ simply because you write?

I understand that someone who fixes a car isn’t necessarily a mechanic. And I know that someone who balances his or her own taxes isn’t necessarily an accountant. But aren’t there exceptions to this rule?

For example – both my big boys could read and write a little before school. They could count to 100. They could create a thoughtful picture on a piece of paper – all of which was done under my guidance. I anticipate the 3yr old will be able to do the same. I know I’m not a qualified ‘teacher’, but I (in conjunction with their daycare and Hubby, of course) taught them those skills. I helped them develop academically and socially. Doesn’t that make me a ‘teacher’ of sorts?

Fortunately, I communicate on Twitter with ‘writers’, some of which also follow my blog and/or list my blog on their own blog roll. And quite frankly, they couldn’t be more supportive of me, and other bloggers. I’ve had more than one ‘writer’ both encourage and compliment my writing at some point. But admittedly, I’m more than aware that there are writers who wouldn’t dare comment on blogs, or list a ‘blogger’ on their blog roll. Even if they did enjoy reading those blogs. They’d stick with only listing known ‘writers’ blogs. I think (and this is my personal opinion) that perhaps they are concerned that they won’t be taken seriously as ‘writers’ themselves? Or, to be blunt, they just don’t consider those bloggers to be ‘writers’. Just like there is in the art world, there is plenty of snobbery in the writing world.

Don’t you find that strange? I know I do.

Bloggers can be ‘writers’ too. In fact, I’m finding that more and more, I think of bloggers as ‘writers’. In fact, maybe I’m even one myself?

Some bloggers are receiving amazing traffic through their blogs, because they are reaching out to a community of people who really want to read what they have to say. Even the almighty Mummy Blogger is becoming quite influential in shifting opinions and raising awareness of certain issues.

Isn’t that what being a ‘writer’ is all about?



miss carly said...

A lot of people have said to me recently {those from uni - lecturers and peers} why I am doing the course, as my writing is fantastic and that I am in the wrong field. I am not in the wrong field the blog started because of the field that I am in. That is my passion first and foremost. Working with children. Writing/Blogging is something I enjoy and something that creates a bit of money while I am studying {once I start selling the eBooks}..

Difference? I dont think there is. Writing is blogging. Blogging is writing.

MegsyJ said...

Great post, Jodie. I completely agree. I've struggled with this question - when do I begin to call myself a writer? When I've had something published? When I've been paid for a piece? When I've sold some books?

But I don't think that being paid or published MAKES someone a writer. I now think it's the passion and actually doing it rather than talking about it.

Writer, blogger, whatever you want to be called - I love your work, Jodie! And, as you say, moving people and raising issues, or perhaps entertaining them with something funny, are wonderful things to be able to do.

Anonymous said...

You go write ahead and consider yourself a writer. You are. I am too. I just want to be a better writer and to get paid for what I love to do. Passion is what is needed to write I think. Good post

SeraphimSP said...

I tried to straddle the divide between blogger and writer for a while but I now call myself a writer and my blogging is part of that process. Strangely enough what gave me the confidence to call myself one was reading a scathing piece which had horrible things to say about bloggers written by an editor I wanted to pitch an article to. Instead I pitched the article elsewhere and it got accepted for publication. It also gave me the courage to "not give a damn." If people want to read my writing that is WONDERFUL. If they don't, no problem. And fwiw, I love reading your writing.

lisa heidke said...

Thoughtful post!
Of course you're a writer.You write...you're a writer!
Don't let anyone (or yourself) tell you differently.

NikkiP said...

Great post Jodie - as someone who has the degree and 20 years of journalism behind her, I can tell you that blogging IS writing. It's just writing in a format for our times. Traditional writers should not ignore bloggers or they'll miss the boat.

emlykd said...

You are indeed a write Jodie. You are indeed. You are a writer whose work I enjoy and I can many times identify with what you write.. More than most... I don't read many blogs often.. Cos I just don't have enough time, but you always write in such a way as to involve the reader.. No matter the audience.

Heels and Wheels said...

At the end of the day, I personally think the only difference is that blogger is specifically internet. But it sounds almost like an LSAT question. If all bloggers are writers, are all writers bloggers? You're a writer, just by posting this piece alone. Whether people are writing online for expression or their career, it's great to have the free flow of information. Don't get caught up in the words, just keep posting great pieces like this so people like me can enjoy it!

Brenda said...

A to the Men, Jodie!!!

april said...

Has to be said "HOORAH!"

SquiggleMum said...

I don't often jump over from my reader, but felt like I should for this one. Sometimes I call myself a blogger. Occasionally a writer. Every now and then I still consider myself a teacher. Most of the time it's all too complicated so I just go with SAHM!

I'm definitely someone who writes though. I guess I am a writer.

Thea Smith said...

Oh, really great post, Jodie!!

I think of you and a number of my favourite bloggers as writers.
Your posts are always just as interesting and engaging as any newspaper or magazine column I've ever read.
I don't think I am a writer though, I am a blogger. I like to put 'stuff' out there that hopefully people can relate to. My blog is more thoughts, ideas and images, not always writing.
I've been thinking about this difference, too, lately.
I'm happy with being a blogger, I've never aspired to be a writer.
You, however, I think of as a wonderful writer.

And I love Monet, too!! xx

Kylie L said...

Have to say I've always thought of bloggers as writers... if someone wants to communicate so much that they go to the effort of setting up a blog, then regularly updating and moderating it, they're a writer where it counts.

Girlzed said...

Great post Jodie - I suppose by the same rule, then I am a cook (or do I actually have to ENJOY doing the task?), a gardener and a seamstress. Very thought provoking. And for the record, I consider you a writer, your blog is great and I'm pretty sure consistency is a factor ;-D

Nomie said...

Well, firstly, are you in my head? This thought has been churning in my head a lot lately too.
Are we writers, are we bloggers? Is there a difference?
Well, I have finally come to the conclusion there is not a difference... there are genres, but yes we are writers.
I felt wakerish (yes, I know not an actual word!) saying I was a blogger... and even more foolish saying I was a writer. Now I say I am both, because I am. As are you.
I love your writing, it makes me laugh, cry, want more.. keep it up!

fat mum slim said...

Excellent post.

I have new found friends through blogging who are writers, and I always feel inadequate around them because I don't feel even one little bit a writer, and I don't want them to think that I am trying to be them... if that makes sense.

I write words for my blog. They're probably not structured correctly, or even grammatically correct, but it's my point of view... and I can ask anything more from myself.

A writer friend recently said to me that I need to value my 'work' more... and that's one of the biggest compliments I've ever been given.

I don't know where blogging will take me, all I know if that I am enjoying the ride.

Thanks for this post Jodie. It was a great insight... and definitely got me thinking. x

The Dotterel said...

Judging by the overwhelming response to a throwaway offer of mine to run a creative writing e-course, it seems that - however they regard themselves - a great many bloggers are really keen to learn more about the craft of writing and to develop their skills.

Theta Mom said...

Here it is: "...because they are reaching out to a community of people who really want to read what they have to say. Even the almighty Mummy Blogger is becoming quite influential in shifting opinions and raising awareness of certain issues. Isn’t that what being a ‘writer’ is all about?" <------------ YES!!! So glad you wrote this post and as bloggers, I firmly believe we ARE writers - I know I sure am!

Luschka said...

Finally getting to respond to this! It's an interesting post and an interesting point I've been wonering about myself. I started writing poetry at 4 yrs old (silly little four liners, but still) and have written all through school, including being editor of my school newspaper. I was going to study journalism, but my then other half wasn't keen on my attending university, so I started studying part time and did a degree in creative writing. I left my home and came to England and started doing a monthly news letter, first by email, then on a photo website, and then finally by blog. I became pregnant and started a 'secret' side blog called Diary of a First Pregnancy, (which became unsecret after people found out) and after my daughter was born, started Diary of a First Child. So. In my mind, I was a writer. Did I then become a blogger? Is a blogger something you ARE? or is it simply the format you use? If you think about it in terms of art, you are an artist, not a drawer, acrylicer and watercolourist. You're an artist. Or, when it gets to details, a painter. So, in my mind, blogging is just the medium I currently use to write. It is not the only place I write. I still write where I used to write. I just ALSO write on a blog. I guess that's why the term 'mommy blogger' annoys me a little. I was a writer long before I was a blogger and I was a blogger long before I was a mommy. I'd never heard of 'mommy blogging' till after I started diary of a first child, and you know, in retrospect, I may have chosen a different name!

I think you also get two types of blogs - the informative blogs and the day-in-the-life-of-x type blogs. I try to be the first one, but there's nothing wrong with being the second either - it's just not for me. Maybe that's where the difference comes in between writer and blogger?

What do you think?

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Some great points here Luschka!

I'm thinking more and more that you don't have to be defined by either. Some are more comfortable calling themselves a blogger. But you can be a writer who blogs. Or a blogger who writes. Some think writers are those who have published work they've been paid for. And I thought that too before writing this post. But writing it, and then receiving all these great comments, I'm changing my mind. Am I referring to myself as a writer yet? No. But I'm getting there.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. x

Torkona said...

Blogging is writing, but it is a very unique form of writing. Blogging is hard to be defined.

A 'post' rather than a 'book' can take several differnt forms. they can be writing full of metaphors and trained, constructive sentences, such as books are written.

But they can also be written like we bloody speak on a day to day bloody basis, know whad I mean ;-)

either way, it is writing. but, jsut like books, not all books are well written :-)

thats just my opinion anyway :-)

thanks for the post! very good question! following you now, look forward to you next posts..

- tork
Adelaide and South Australia blog