are you a writer or a blogger?

This is what someone asked me today. (This person was none other than @rmitty, the cutest NYC’er you’ll ever meet).

I wasn’t immediately sure. I wondered if there was an obvious difference between the two. My natural brain reaction was to float towards the ‘I am a writer’ mentality; if anything it conjures up romantic images of the usual late-night coffee shops, retro typewriters, smudged loveletters and let’s not forget, Carrie-f*cking-Bradshaw. Blogging conjures up images of inappropriate .gifs, memes, article syndication, images of clothes and objects, and of course, followers. Writing is all of this stripped away; simply speaking it is words that are put down on paper/virtual paper and then left to be discovered by readers. Like a notebook left on a train. You are always welcome to read it.

It’s for this reason that I want to think I am a writer. This blog started only because I needed to archive my thoughts, to make sense of them, and to understand and develop my own style of writing. Blogs are often made with an intention in mind, an intention to spread, to share, to gain a following or indeed market something: an idea, a product, a person. To make something known and get something back in return. 

Of course, as we know, writers are renowned for not earning much money which of course adds to the romanticised notion of a struggling poet unable to pay their rent which makes it all that tiny bit more ironically glamourous and twisted. Blogs on the other hand are starting to become synonymous with money-making schemes, with paid advertising, brand value and offerings of freelance consultancy.

This to me marks the difference – we would never have seen an advert on the side of Shakespeare’s manuscripts, or a plea from Syvlia Plath to ‘comment on my Facebook page’ following her pained poems. In fact, I’m sure they wouldn’t have cared less about the online discussion surrounding their work. They wrote because they loved to write. Not with the intention of capitalizing on their audience. For all they knew, there was no audience. When you’re writing a memoir, opinion or the fiction instead your head, you are alone with your thoughts. What’s interesting, is that these are the pieces of literature that are most universal and long lasting. Blogs are short-lived. In 100 years, will that blog with an impressive following really make history with its images of ‘the best 50 cocktails you’ll find in Shoreditch?’ Blogs are timely. They are the here and now. They are perpetually updating in the desperate attempt to remain relevant.

On this note, I would like to have answered that question with conviction that I am a writer. I enjoy updating this blog with things that I hope people will find interesting, but what I hope for more than anything else, is not discover mechanics to keep myself modern, but for the things I post to hold value in some way and as a result have an extended lifespan. To hold meaning without too much context or era-dependency. This might mean coming off this blog and one day writing a book. Then hopefully another one. And another one.

33 thoughts on “are you a writer or a blogger?

      • Yes, totally agree, I would never put up a post without writing, and I am not talking a couple of sentences. I mean I am a new style blogger, but I definetly understand the beauty and vitalness of writing no matter what your blog is focused on.

        Please feel free to check out my blog, I would be very appreciative. Feel free to leave comments, even positive criticism. I am following your blog now, feel free to follow my blog if you like it.
        http://www.personalautographs.blogspot.co.uk
        Typewriters – last time I saw one was when I was in year 10 at school, at the age of 15.

  1. This is great, and so often the question I ask myself. I’d like to think that anyone who writes (despite their platform) is a writer. Of course, I also tell myself that anyone who runs (no matter the distance) is a runner, so that I can sound like I accomplish things. Perspective.

  2. I’m a writer/journalist who also blogs. My first blog post (2008) was on the Huff Post; A piece I wrote was rejected by The Atlantic, The Village Voice, and Harper’s. I didn’t want my piece to just die on my laptop, so I pitched it to the Huff Post’s blog editor. He liked it and said that I could post it and other pieces.

    What I like most about blogging is the ability to get immediate feedback-positive and negative. You know? I like knowing that my post has touched a nerve; it lets me know that my post has moved the reader.

    My main concern about blogging vs. writing is that it is making some aspiring writers sloppy writers. Writing for a blog and writing a novel/nonfiction book are not the same. Know what I mean?

    BTW, I’ve created a few comic strips about being a blogger. You might find this one funny!:
    http://boscafelife.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/4045/#respond

    Great post. It made me stop, think, and comment.

  3. This is a really interesting piece, thank you. I would love to blog but don’t really know where to start and finding that first step a bit daunting. Your blog has provided a lot of inspiration for me.

    • Hi Katie, thanks so much for your comment. I found it all a bit scary too but the main reason I started it was my love of writing. I almost didn’t care who read it I just wanted to put my thoughts down. If you feel you need somewhere to store your thoughts then definitely start one! :) X

  4. Why did this post make me sad? I suppose it’s the notion that blog don’t have shelf lives. Not literal ones, for sure. But there are lots of frothy books that disappear, too. We can’t all be Fitzgeralds and I find that…fucking fuck. I like your blog.

  5. Thanks, big fan of yours too.
    I guess the Internet is so vast that I worry that writing can get lost. With books at least you can physically hold on to it and pass it on. I dunno. You’re right about books getting swept away too. But perhaps anything meaningful will always somehow find it’s way back to people.X

  6. I love this thought-provoking post. I think the Internet has changed many things about the writing profession, especially in terms of how writers are viewed. For example, you used to be able to find length creative nonfiction articles in many newspapers, written by writers who spent weeks on their masterpiece. Now there are websites looking for writers to dole out quick posts and articles for nearly nothing, that just seem to get breezed over by readers online spanning content quickly.

    I think you are a writer who blogs…nothing wrong with using some here-and-now tools and to help you writer every day and perfect your craft. Look forward to reading!!

    Kathleen

    KathleenFordyce.com
    @KathleenFordyce

    • Thanks so much for your comment! Glad you enjoy reading and I agree, i love nothing more than sitting down and reading a lengthy, well-crafted article instead of short pieces that wash over me. thanks again! x

  7. Loved this – I agree, I write because I like too, and it helps clear my head. I have to write commercially for work, but I love my blog because it allows me to dribble drabble to my hearts content, and if people enjoy it, then that is a blessing.

    • hey kimberly. thanks for your comment, i know exactly what you mean – it’s like a little place to keep work separate and just write your raw thoughts! and sometimes this is just the stuff people enjoy reading the most! i’ll just checking out your stuff :) x

  8. This is so lovely. I started my blog, Collegiate Feminist, because I love to write. I thought I could get more into the trendy blogging that I find so entertaining, but I just can’t do it. I’m drawn to lyrical prose that gives each word meaning. I want to be a writer and so my blog has become more of a place where I ramble and find my own style as a feminist, a woman, and as a person. Thank you so much for writing this and helping me to answer this question for myself as well.

    • Hi Danielle thanks so much for your comment! I’ll def have a read of your blog. love discovering new writing. i know what you mean about the ‘trendy blogging’, i’ve kind of been aware that my blog doesn’t look like the standard popular type, but its always been more about the content more than anything else. definitely agree it’s nice to have a little sanctuary to write your thoughts in a place that’s yours and make sense of them piece by piece xx

  9. I enjoyed this and it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot myself over the last few weeks. I write a blog myself (http://nothinggoodrhymeswithcharlotte.blogspot.com) and I do it solely so that I have somewhere to write and then perhaps, if I’m lucky, some people might read it and, if I’m really really lucky, maybe like it and find it funny. I have recently been bold enough to change from referring to myself as a blogger to a writer because – for some reason – I feel like this will help me in being taken more seriously for the words I produce. I’ll let you know if it works!

  10. Pingback: FRIDAY FIVE: A few recommended reads… | Pouting In Heels

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  13. Loved this post! Quite thought provoking. I try to answer this question all the time. I loved the point you made about Sylvia Plath and Shakespeare, how they wrote simply because they loved to write rather than capitalize on an audience.
    I initially thought I would start my blog, Alisa Yui, as an online diary of sorts, but I gradually became disillusioned when I realized that no one wants to read about how you waited in a doctor’s office for 3 hours. As I continued blogging (after I shifted my style a bit), I realized that I want to have a career that incorporated writing in some way, that having a blog would be a great way for me to practice that, develop a style, and have a living CV of sorts. It also brings me structure, especially now that I’m searching for work. My main concern now is that the blog is making me a sloppy writer. I’d love to hear your opinion!
    Thank you so much for writing this post. This has definitely given me some great food for thought.

  14. Great post – it did get me thinking what was I and then it became rather clear as I read on that I consider myself more of a writer… who blogs. I recently started my own fashion, style and music blog (so would really appreciate it if you’d have a read) to develop my writing and journalism skills. In saying that, I do hope blogging would help me build a wider audience so I suppose I’m a mixture of both and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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