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?