Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Because I blog....therefore, I am?


What constitutes "writing" or rather, what qualifies a person to be a "writer"? I was catching up on my blog reading this morning and read one of my favorite blogs: The Rest Is Still Unwritten, a great blog about a single guy living in N.Y.....and his opinions, romantic adventures, etc. He is very entertaining and always provokes thought....and I started chewing on his post today about being a writer. AS a blogger, am I a writer, or just a misguided romantic who fancies herself the next Jane Austen? No, I do not have a great novel in the can waiting to be discovered, no, I have not been published, or even paid for one word I have ever written, but am I a writer?

I love to write. The very reason I started this blog was to write. I have words written down, stashed away, that could, maybe one day make a novel or several small novellas and even some poetry that would be nice to have bound in some way. So, if that stuff never gets published and I never get paid for it, am I not a writer?

There is a local writer, right here in my neck of the woods, who has self-published and sells her books through the local used book store....according to a reliable source the editing is shite, but otherwise the writing is beautiful, eloquent and compelling...in that person's opinion. So, this local writer, she's a writer? (I think it is kind of cool to have a "local" author....just sayin').

If I pay to have my blog posts put into a book form, get the local used book store to sell them for me, even if my writing sucks, am I a writer?

Is anyone who opens up a blog and posts, day in and day out, a writer? I know that many of the bloggers I read get paid in some way for their writing, but not necessarily for their blog writing. There are many bloggers who write who should be getting paid for their writing, these two come to mind: Wizard of Otin and WaystationOne, but since they don't, are they NOT writers?

This is the first time in a long time that I've been inspired to write about anything that isn't about my personal drama (for lack of a better term)...it kind of got me fired up. I am writing for school projects, taking English courses, polishing my technical skills, anxiously awaiting qualification from my instructor, that I, indeed, did write something worth reading and earning a good grade...does that make me a writer?

David references back to another blog post (I'll let you visit him for that link), wherein the writer talks about how blogging is sort of dumbing down real writing...because anyone who has a computer and and Internet hookup can write a blog. And the blogger mentallity is that of self-marketing, the more comments per post, the more followers, the more 'credibility' as a writer? These thoughts have crossed my mind a lot over the last few months, as this post covered. I believe that inspiration had fallen away by that point and I was starting to feel like I wasn't really a writer. Much like the post pointed out, I have just been marketing myself for the acollades and followers, not for the love of the written word.

And, I do love the written word....don't you? Am I a writer? Quite possibly. Am I an Author, as some of David's commentors felt compelled to draw distinction between? Who knows, but does that matter to me? Not right now, but maybe later. Does this inspire me to aspire to greater word play, absolutely! Is David right? You are not a writer unless you are paid for your writing? How about the thought that blogging is dumbing down real writing?

These ideas are getting chewed on elsewhere, but they really struck me this morning and I just had to put some words down to digest it....and wondered about your thoughts, ideas and words.

What do you think?

Peace

6 comments:

SaraReno said...

It's an interesting idea. I don't know about blogging "dumbing down" writing (sounds a little condescending) but I definately think blogging and writing are not the same. They can intersect (there are a few blogs that really make me think and have something fantastic to say) but one can be a blogger and not be a writer and vice versa. I am a blogger. I have a few interesting (I hope) stories but I am not a writer. Many of the blogs I read I followed because I was inspired by their photography first and the words later. Some of them I would say are writers but most of them not.

However, I would not say you have to be paid in order to be a writer. In fact many wildly popular authors were unpublished for a long time before getting just one out there and the rest is history. Were they not writers before some critic said so? I think they were writers when they wrote it and poured their life into the pages. They were not published but they were certainly writers.

Just my 2 cents.

marinik said...

a very interesting post there doll... i love to write too, and you know what i mostly write about...get all my pain out that way... but i tend to think of writing as an art form... a way of expressing our creativity... so you know what weather we have been published, payed for our words or not, and weather we can be called writers or not...i think we are artists who create every time we put down our words...
and that's my 2 cents worth :)

staceyjwarner said...

thanks for introducing him to me...

someone left an interesting comment on his blog about being an author vs. a writer, etc.

if you write you are a writer. if a published writer gets upset because you say your are a writer, that is their problem and rather silly.

besides, how often do you sit around talking to published authors unaware?

much love

Brian Miller said...

who is to judge if you are a good writer...i figure if one person needed to hear it, it was well worth it...i like blogging because you get instant feedback...its interactive, where with a book you may have some coffee houses but most likely only those that love what you wrote show up. i also like that the feedback gives texture to what you write, adding new flavors.

thanks for the nod. when i get the book deal, you are getting a copy. smiles.

Cyndy said...

I think the definition is more about the sense of who you are rather than the words upon a page. For instance, we all know people who are poets who never wrote a single word. It is just the way they are...

I have always wanted to be a writer, but never knew exactly what I wanted to write. I do well when presented with a task (write a story about this event ~ it is published in a newspaper or newsletter; write a contract ~ it is reviewed and signed; write a letter ~ I get a response with words of thanks). In that sense, my writing has proven to be successful. But it has not fed my soul...

The closest thing to doing that has been my blog. And not because I am widely read or have received many comments or accolades (quite the opposite). It has given me a place to put my thoughts, thoughts that I think my children will appreciate some day. A journal in the purest sense. There are no rules (like in creative writing or technical writing ~ if I want to say it in 25 words instead of 4, I will, I do), so it opens up space for creativity. Like now I take more pictures, adding illustrations to a story or being the story in and of itself. And then there's the on-line relationships that you make. It's all good.

Maybe I am a communicator, one who uses many tools to tell a story. And with or without a title, a paycheck or fame, I think people just know that about me...

Em-Jae said...

VERY intriguing post. I love your thoughts here...

PS - thanks so much for the compliments :) let me know how your mac turns out -- can't wait to see!