Are Writers Righter?

A guest post by Lindsey of Campfire Song.

pencilWhat defines a writer?

Anyone who writes? Someone who’s been published or gets paid to write? An “author”? A teenaged girl who keeps a journal?

I recently attended Writers’ Week, hosted by Emily. I read all of her posts, checked out the resources she offered to help budding writers, won a style guide (a what?) and even entered the contest.

Half the time I spent participating though, I felt almost as if I shouldn’t be there.

Like an impostor.

And that I’m not a writer – I’m a blogger.

So far I know very little about freelancing. I don’t make a living from what I write. At this point my blog is a hobby and therapeutic and includes everything from my views on life to something funny my kid said at breakfast this morning. I don’t even really associate with a niche. My blog design might look different three times per day as I mess around with its layout – I don’t have a paid custom design because I’m still trying to figure out my focus. Although writing paid posts is definitely something I’d consider, I’m not a professional at this.

My entry to the Writers’ Week contest was a huge step for me. I decided to write fiction, which is something I’ve never done on my blog. As a child I always claimed to have no imagination, and I’m not much more creative in the tall tale department now than I was at eight years of age. I wanted to push myself and try something new, and this seemed like a great place to do it.

Linking up my entry I was terrified, as I had read all the posts before mine. People entered chapters of their short stories or excerpts from their “latest” novels, their Twitter bios boasted their “writer” status while mine reads “unprofessional mommy blogger”. My posts are conversational and sometimes I can have one up – from conception to “Publish” – in twenty minutes.

But am I a writer?

I don’t love my work any less than a labour of love that took its bestselling author years to perfect. I still feel that “writers” are better than “bloggers” – anyone can start up a blog, but it takes talent to be a good writer, right? Are the popular, paid bloggers considered writers?

Or maybe I’m selling myself short.

I asked on my Facebook page what the difference between blogging and writing is. Someone reminded me of the movie Contagion, where blogging is defined as “graffitti with punctuation”.

So technically it’s still a form of art then, right?

I’d totally settle for “artist” if I can’t have “writer”. Then at least as I find my way, nothing I write could ever be considered crappy.

[box border=”full”]Lindsey blogs at Campfire Song. She’s a SAHM to nearly four and writes about the insanity that molds her existence as a twenty-something mother, Army wife, Christian, conservative common-sense advocate. She’s on Facebook and Twitter.

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0 thoughts on “Are Writers Righter?

  1. Pingback: Are writers righter? « Campfire Song
  2. What an interesting question. I like that you end with the idea of art. I’m married to an artist – like, he has a degree in art and has won awards and stuff – and we have lots of “artsy” friends. I absolutely am NOT artistic, at least not the way they are, but when they’re all over for Art Night and working on whatever project they have going (like one of our friends just decided to make herself a stained-glass lamp. Who does that?) I hang out with them and knit. I’ve argued with myself about whether or not knitting is art, and I’ve never been able to come to any conclusion. Certainly, the things I make are beautiful, but I follow patterns, mostly, and am making things to be used, not admired. I don’t know. I think bloggers can be writers, and often are, but I don’t know how to define the difference. Very thought-provoking for a Friday morning!

    • As someone who can’t knit to save her life, I can’t help but say, “Knitting is too art!” 🙂

      But I know what you mean. Dan plays guitar by ear, and I can play piano pretty much only when there’s sheet music in front of me. Most of the time I feel like he’s the musician, and I’m the hack.

  3. Vinobaby says:

    I think it depends.  Some bloggers may only blog, but they are amazing writers. They commit their feelings, opinions, and often their hears and souls into their posts. Others are merely vehicles for ad pitches and giveaways; I do not consider them writers.

    I think of myself a writer who blogs, simply because I wrote long before blogs existed and I write for other mediums. But my blog writing is more relaxed and vastly different than my “regular” pieces.

    Very interesting question and a well written piece.

    • There are definitely types of writers. People who get paid to write owner’s manuals are writers, though I doubt anyone would consider them writers in any artful sense. It’s kind of the same thing with the bloggers who just do giveaways and reviews. It’s not the most inspiring writing, maybe. But it helps pay the bills. So there must be some credit given, right? I mean they string words together in such a way that it makes them money. Can writing be “just a profession” too?

  4. I was just thinking the same question about myself. I don’t consider myself a writer but when I guest post, some of my hosts would refer to me as a writer which has made me a little confused about where I stand as far as being a writer is concerned. I think I’ll settle for ‘artist’ too 😉
    Great post Lindsey.

  5. It’s an interesting distinction.  I think it has more to do with your focus and goals than your output.  I don’t think all bloggers are writers, not because of how or what they publish, but because they may not focus on the writing aspect of their blog.  I’m also not saying that someone who classifies him/herself as a blogger doesn’t write well or put out great content, but for me a writer is someone who is looking to improve his/her writing and considers it a craft and a medium through which to work.

  6. Tracey Byrnes says:

    An interesting question…I’m not sure there’s a “right” or “wrong” answer to it.

    My personal feeling is that if you’re taking the time to write something that you consider good enough to post for the world at large to see, then you’re a writer. Regardless of the “type” of writer you see yourself as, you still took the time to think of a topic (or topics), presumably made at least some effort to make sure others could make sense of what you wrote and then posted it in a very visible way.

  7. As a blogger, writer and author I would say that you are a blogger, at the moment. I define the difference between the three as blogger – someone who creates their own publishing environment – may or may not receive compensation. Writer, someone who is published by someone else, their work is edited by others – may or may not receive compensation. Author someone who has been published by others, their work is edited, revised and crtiqued by other professionals, receives compensation and their work is widely available.
    That said this is not a hierachy. Blogging is not a lesser form of expression. Being paid for something doesn’t make you a professional, your attitude makes you a professional.

    • I do understand your thinking here, Simon. But I’m not sure that it’s fair to say someone isn’t a writer /author unless and until their work has been published by others. What do we call a person currently writing her first novel? I think there needs to be a little more wiggle room.

      Kind of related to this line of thinking: One of the things I encourage new freelance writers to do is stop calling themselves “aspiring writers” because it is unnecessarily limiting. I say, if you see yourself as a writer you’re a writer. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re a good one, but… 😉

      • I see your point Emily. The reason I have those definitions is more from a point of assessing someone that I might work with. Also I see some many people put “Author” in their bio’s when they mean blogger – there is a big step from publishing your own writing to having someone else believe enough in you that they are willing to invest upwards of $30k in you to bring a book to market. 

        As Somerset Maugham wrote – “Waiting to write makes you a waiter not a writer” 🙂

      • Good points. By some standards I think anyone with a Twitter account might consider themselves an author. There clearly is a line…somewhere. The trick is pinning it down.

        Love the quote.

      • Lindsey says:

        Exactly Emily – I don’t think that everyone who can use Twitter or MSN Messenger is a writer. I sometimes compare blogging to having a diary, and should that be on par with a freelancer who writes for a living? 

    • Lindsey says:

      Ok, I see where you’re coming from. Interesting points. I guess I’ve always thought that blogging is a lesser form of expression, since absolutely anyone can do it – and that writers or authors deserve more respect as what they do is somehow tougher.

  8. Cindee2448 says:

    Get as usual congrats on guest posting. Since I just started my blog experience, I have no idea where I want to go with this. I have never written but putting words and thought that make sense is some form of writing. Lindsey you are great at that. Blogger writer humm.

  9. Of course bloggers are writers! We are memoir-makers, business-savvy keyword injectors and attention-getting voices of a different sort of generation that defies age, race, gender and religion (or the lack thereof). 

    Cheesy movie quote:

    I went to my mother who gave me this book called, “Letters To A Young Poet,” by Rainer Maria Rilke.
    He’s a fabulous writer. A fellow used to write to him and say:

    “I want to be a writer. Please read my stuff.”
    And Rilke says to this guy:

    “Don’t ask me about being a writer. lf, when you wake up in the morning, you can think of nothing but writing…
    then you’re a writer.”

  10. I’ve often wondered the same thing about myself: Am I a “real” writer? I mean, yes, I can write. I have a talent for it. It’s my preferred medium for expression and my best expression of self. 

    But am I really a writer? I’ve never been published. I don’t get paid for it (and am not really sure where to start). Most of the time, save for an unusually popular post, I don’t even get recognized for it. There are millions of blogs out there, many of which are far more popular than mine despite not necessarily containing great writing. So, what defines a “writer?” 

    My reaction to this soul-searching varies. Sometimes I think, “Hell yes, I’m a writer! And a damn good one at that.” Other times, I call myself an ‘aspiring writer.’ And still other times, I feel completely worthless and invisible. 

    • As a paid and published writer, I’ll let you in on a little secret: sometimes I still have days where I feel like I’m hanging out in that “aspiring” phase. 

      But that’s really just me telling myself I’m not satisfied yet. I want to write more and better. 

      Someone who thinks “Hell yes, I’m a writer! And a damn good one at that” all the time, is probably getting lazy about her craft.

      A li’l something to ponder.

    • Lindsey says:

      “Aspiring writer” – that’s a definition I didn’t even get into here. You want to write but you haven’t yet, or what? I don’t get it. 
      I’m pretty decent with both written and spoken words, but I agree that there’s a certain something that the bigger bloggers have and it’s not always good writing.

  11. Great conversation here! I’ve often wondered the difference between blogging and writing – the answer I’ve come up with is very similar to Angela’s.

    I don’t think ALL blogging is writing. But I think SOME blogging can be writing. For me, when I “write” a post, I put a lot more effort into it – research, revision, etc. When I “blog” a post, it tends to be more stream of consciousness. It may or not have a point and I may or may not have put any thought into it at all beyond thinking it is something interesting to share with my readers.

    That said, I consider myself both a writer and a blogger, just not always both at the same time.

    Great post, Lindsey!

    • Lindsey says:

      I definitely like how you distinguish between the two here. I don’t do a lot of research for my posts, as they’re from my own experience. Maybe the purpose of the post also has an effect on your status as blogger v. writer?

  12. Interesting discussion and one that I have pondered myself. I’ve often been bewildered by bloggers who write beautifully yet they don’t consider themselves to be writers, not to mention published authors who don’t write very well but claim the profession. Ultimately, being a writer is a calling.Those who are compelled to do it despite all odds and love it are true writers.

    • Lindsey says:

      Ahh, I can’t remember where I found your post but I read it last week! It seems to be something on many of our minds right now, eh?

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