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Is blogging writing?

August 24, 2011

I have had some disturbing conversations with a couple of friends of late.

ShakespeareThey are great bloggers. Passionate. Funny. Prolific. With a great relationship with their audience.

But when I ask them if they consider themselves to be writers, the answer is a humble and emphatic No.

Were they overtaken with a sudden case of modesty? Had words failed them in the moment?

Let’s look at the title of “writer.” In some circles, the writer is exalted, a man or a woman of letters, an astute observer of society and history and reality. The writer is smarter than most, getting away with the most outrageous statements through clever wording or simple wit. They have no need of their giant paychecks or book advances, but accept them for the good of humanity.

Who wouldn’t want to be one of them?

The title of “writer” brings another common perception to mind. This lowly scribe scrapes by to make a living, living in the margins of our world, preying on our basest urges to string together pulp novels and propaganda. They work all hours for their “craft,” they smell funny, and they are perhaps one notch above con artists and baby killers.

Yikes. Who would want to be one of … them?

Bloggers, of course, are both. Their pungent aroma announces their arrival well in advance of their actual presence. They are paid handsome sums to do nothing but conjure sentences from nothingness. They work all the time, they are lauded for their unique views on life and strife, and they are both loved and loathed, dissected daily yet often misunderstood.

I’ve been a writer all my life. I’ve been a blogger for 6 years. It took me a while to embrace the term “blogger,” but I have done so enthusiastically.

If you blog haphazardly and with reckless disregard for structure or logic, you’re a writer. If you’ve ever earned even but a penny from AdSense on your blog, you’re a professional writer. And if you sit in your ratty pajamas at a rickety table with a wheezing laptop while churning out your latest rant against the government, the other women in your book club or the Almighty, you’re a damn writer.

Shun not the title of writer, you bloggers of the Internet. It not only represents the best compliment and the worst insult I could ever hurl at you, it also reveals your true essence: someone who can scarcely believe they do what they do for a living.

Is blogging writing? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2011 9:00 am

    Love this post Wade! I am starting to warm up to the idea that I may actually be a writer. I’ve always thought of writers as those who write a column for a paper, a contribute to a magazine or have written a book.

    But now, heck yeah! I’m a professional writer, and I’m going to own it 🙂

  2. August 25, 2011 9:31 am

    Here’s some of the stuff people are saying about this blog after I posted it on Facebook:

    Steve R. said: There’s no sign of life, it’s just the power to talk – David Bowie

    Todd W. says: Writing, yes. A legitimate outlet for the prose of the English language to distribute valid, rational thoughts…. rarely.

    And according to Keith Smith: Writing, yes. Just not necessarily good writing.

    Someone who posts pictures isn’t a photographer, right…?

    It just so happens that using the alphabet in a series of combinations that more times than not is coherent is a popular way of communicating on the Internet.


    • August 25, 2011 9:50 am

      I think your friends are confused. I didn’t say bloggers are *good* writers, just writers.

      Someone who posts pictures is, in fact, a photographer. The quality of their work varies tremendously, of course.

  3. Philip E Griffith permalink
    August 25, 2011 10:02 am

    When I decided to blog about my photography work, I viewed my role more as a storyteller than writer. My grammar is far from perfect, I never stay in the same person and I habitually comma splice. So, I think calling myself a writer is a bit of a stretch and an insult to people who actually are. But I am a blogger and a photographer.

    • August 26, 2011 8:34 am

      I find plenty of writers whose grammar and punctuation is insulting. And yet, they are writers.

      Welcome to the club.

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