Twice, (okay, maybe three or four times) recently I have been insulted to the level of despair, which is in part, why I got my blogging ass to a BinderCon NYC (a serious writing conference for women and non-males), and why I committed to doing #NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) to post one blog a day for 30 days of November (this is #5).
Here’s how one such insult went down.
Insult #1: At a small local writers panel of published authors in a local library, the question arose what was the difference between a writer and an author. The panelists concluded that an author is a published writer, and discussion ensued. The moderator then asked: what about blogging?
Is blogging writing?
The silence from the panel was palpable, followed by eye-rolls, and even one elbow nudge evident to the audience of about 30, especially this blogger right here. It was like an inside joke, and bloggers were the punch line.
“I guess I’ll take this one,” as the first panelist resigned, as if she were letting us know Facebook memes are not a reliable news source. What follows are other random responses (paraphrased cuz the blood was rushing in my ears and my brain was about to explode):
“Blogging, is well, less professional.”
“Sorry to say, but it’s an on-line diary. Nobody cares what you ate for lunch.”
“To be honest, I’m worried about the quality – the quality of the writing.”
“It’s for amateurs really, it’s not what we do.”
“Most readers don’t want to hear about your kids.”
Could I have been the only person insulted? I doubt it, but being that I’m not a real writer, or journalist, only a blogger throwing up personal guts on the internet for no one to read, maybe I don’t have the neurons to understand why words on a page vs words on-line, or storytelling bound and sold at Barnes & Noble vs storytelling shared on-line or around a campfire are that drastically different.
Can a blogger consider themselves a real writer?
I happen to believe anyone writing is a writer. Maybe the stories are great, maybe just so-so, maybe they are awesome and go viral and become a home run, or nobody reads them but your mother and the person you’re writing about.
Doesn’t really matter.
It’s writing. It’s all writing.
Writers write, and nobody on a panel anywhere will convince me differently. On-line, on a cocktail napkin, on the back of the CVS receipt, written in a journal and tucked under a mattress, tapped out on the notes of a smart phone. Ideas spark stories, and those with a larger life need to be told.
Sometimes those stories grab hold, and can change the world. Or just one person in it.
Perhaps those “authors” on the panel that day have the means to reach more ears, and it’s likely most bloggers want to one day be a published author of a printed and bound book for sale at a local bookseller. I know I do. Or think I do.
But in the meantime, I along with others, will continue to write on little known blogs, even those “silly mommy blogs” as one real writer said to me recently in disgust, in order to share, laugh, complain, and connect little pieces of life as I live it, to anyone who happens to click.
Small truths have large ripple effects and are a powerful means to create conversations, build relationships, and touch hearts when a reader, even if just one, says:
“Me too! I thought I was the only one.”
Writers reflect life in little moments. So do bloggers, and sometimes, inspiration ensues. That’s the essence of good storytelling. That’s the result of writing and reading. That’s what we all want to do, and it doesn’t matter how we do it or where the story finds a home, as long as someone is home when it gets there.
BIG FAT DISCLAIMER: NaBloPoMo is about consistency, posting daily for November, not 100% dedicated to quality. Pleases don’t judge too harshly, as typos and errors may in fact happen, when of course, this would never occur if I were a real writer.
What a bunch of idiots. I’m guessing they wrote Science Fiction and believed their books were better than the Harry Potter books. Just plain rude.
I love blogging, reading blogs (have laughed, cried, learned and everything in between. I love bloggers and getting to know them.
You are so right. Writing is writing is writing and accoring to my agent blogs are considered published work.
Right back atcha! Thank you kindly!
Wait, Blogs are published works?? (I guess that must be why we all have to hit “Publish”) Woo hoo!!! We’ve all graduated to “authors”!!
Were those panelists drowning in the rain, because their noses were so upturned????
Even Kg students that draw and “write” a story are published, when they share their stories, and post them on the bulletin board. IMHO
Referred here from MostlyBlogging.com
Thx for the visit, and I 100% agree. One of my kids had an author luncheon in 1st grade where they read their published works. Thanks for bringing back that beautiful memory!
Laura Lee Carter
I tried “real writing” first. I even got published in a few national magazines, but I was forced to write what some editor somewhere insisted on. Sometimes the editor’s were simply wrong. Sometimes they stole my ideas, and sometimes they cut my piece at the last minute and paid me nothing… That’s when I started blogging. I for one am so glad to have this freedom to write everyday if I like, and reach those who want to hear what I have to say.
“Freedom of the press is only available to those who own one.” And now, I do!
Laura Lee Carter
I just wrote a blog post, because your piece here got me going! I did link back to your piece.
look forward to checking it out!
One of my favorite multi-genre writers, and a wonderful speaker is Anna Quindlen. Her initial opinion pieces were the forerunner of today’s blogs. Plenty of stories of her kids and families, but interwoven with political or policy commentary. And YES, those “mommy columns” – AND YOURS – often made me say, “Me too! I though I was the only one!”
I prefer “silly mom blogs” over something a pompous-assed published writer has spewed and printed on paper. They clearly have lost sight of the fact that writing is personal expression and the act of publishing is simply disseminating that expression to the public in any format!!
Keep it up Kate!!
Thx!! Plenty of pompous bloggers too, but there’s room for all. The audience will find what speaks to them. So glad you find me worthy of your time!
I love this..you are right on! I shared the heck out of it…
Why thank you kindly! *blush blush blush* honored and humbled!
Holy heck. What IS it with judgey-judgeyness? Seems a lot like my conversation in the running communities about “when is a finish not a finish?” I am with you (obviously). One of the reasons I love twitter is the challenge to distill BIG thoughts into 140 characters or less. That’s the most challenging kind of writing of all.
judgey judgey for sure. Twitter for the win!!!
I have stopped calling myself a blogger and now call myself a writer. It’s far easier to explain and I get fewer questionable comments. Because whether on a blog, on a website, or in a journal, blogging is writing.
Ditto. I’m a writer and you can find samples of my work on my blog at blahdedah dot com. Proud blogger, proud writer, proud to have you commenting!
The snobbery abounds! Artists get it too. Are you a trained artist/designer? Do you have a BFA, MFA? Where do you show your work? Is it a juried show? Is it a hobby? Have you sold anything? Whatever medium it is ART! Bite me.
Funny how folks often think it’s not real if it’s not on Oprah or in the MET or on TV. Creating is creating. I hear ya sistah.
I have seen that too even by other bloggers, but writing is writing as far as I am concerned. If you writing you’re a writer.
absolutely! as soon as they realize i have nothing for them (connections, leads, platform) they walk away. Not all, not even most, but some. and it stings.
You have me thinking about this, Kate. When I query my novel, I have added “I blog at etc”
Now maybe not.
I’m a writer, forever. I post once a week and take lots of time creating my posts. So maybe I’m a writer or an essayist and my blog is the means with which to communicate.
Then think again about all the Midlife Blvd. women who can write humorous posts or who offer the analysis of a product with research and careful thought. Blogging encompasses many aspects of writing. So those “nose in the air” responses are wrong. YES, you are a writer. We are writers–who can veer off into different areas. Our BLOGS are the vehicle, NOT the product. Beth
I like ‘You’re a writer who blogs at …dot com. Find examples of my writing there, as well as at Midlife Blvd, Purple Clover, and the rest.’ Just in case agent has preconceived notions these blowhards did. So love your comment, thx so much for reading and sharing and thinking! PS: I write funny. Sometimes. Not everyone gets me, but glad for those that do!
Kathy @ SMART Living 365
Hi Kate….as a woman who has written 2 books published by traditional publishers, and 3 books (including a novel) that I published myself AND a blogger who has been blogging for about 10 years now….there is absolutely, positively, no doubt in my mind that you too, are a writer. I used to believe that I needed the approval of others even when they were clearly wrong. Thank goodness I’ve been writing so long that the vast majority of it just rolls off my shoulders. When I hear something like your story I remind myself that such judgments are coming from very insecure people who are likely much harder on themselves than I could ever be….”they” have to live inside those heads and you and I can just walk away. Congratulations on your ongoing writing career! ~Kathy
I guess it’s ironic that the person who introduced me to my first blogging challenge was a published author. And now, excuse me; I have to do some doodling or twiddling or whatever it is that I do, for my next blog post.
doodle on sister! Doodle on!
Wow! That’s a tad insulting! Oh well, I’ll keep writing and blogging along.
Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing!
Ha ha! Good one! I’d leave a more pithy comment but I need to go cook breakfast and record it on my blog. Have a nice day. 🙂
thx for getting it! getting me! getting breakfast!
I will link to your article this Sunday.
wow! thank u kindly!
Hi BBFFJ! Thanks for linking to this article! I enjoyed reading Kathryn’s viewpoint, and how she handled the situation.
PS, I told her you sent me over to visit!