Writer. Blogger. What’s the difference? And if they’re totally separate things…do real writers blog? I’m just wondering, because none of my favorite authors do. Go to www.junotdiaz.com and you will see a brief biography and pictures of his Pulitzer prize winning book, but no photos of him and certainly nothing as unprofessional as a blog. Google other well-known authors and you find wikipedia articles and dozens of images, but rarely a personal website. And it makes sense. Blogs are known for being personal, not professional. Could you really see Ernest Hemingway blogging? Virginia Woolf? William Shakespeare?
No. None of those writers would be caught dead with something as silly and futuristic as a blog. But here is what they did do: Journal. Write long letters to friends about writing. Write long letters to friends about their personal lives. Get together with other writers and talk about writing. Jot down ideas. Write terrible unfinished drafts.
These less formal writing activities have never been considered as important as completed and published novels, plays, or short stories. But they have always existed as fundamental exercises to the practice of writing. And we can assume that all writers do some of these things…just not so publicly. In the end the difference between whether or not “real” writers blog or not comes down to publishing, fame, and importance.
I’ll say it again. You will see very few famous, important, published authors blogging. The reason is: they don’t need to. Their books have already won prizes; they have already scored book contracts; they are paid for their thoughts in solicited articles and at panels and conferences. And yet, for every writer who doesn’t blog, there are ten less well-known writers who do.
So if blogs are not universal or necessarily respected in the writing community, does this mean bloggers are not real writers? If you define a writer as someone who writes and is serious about writing, then no. Bloggers often are real writers. They just do it in a different forum – and mostly for free.
The reason for blogging is no secret, if you, like me, are following a bunch of writers and bibliophiles on silly old futuristic Twitter. Blogs and other forms of social media are ways of publishing work before it’s formally published, drawing attention to your writing, and garnering an audience for when your work IS available for sale.
It’s a way to make sure you write on a disciplined schedule: at least once a week, or every day. It’s a way to create a community of writers, so you can hear and give feedback. So you can not feel so alone.
Or if it’s not that; it’s writing for its own sake. After all, writing and publishing are two vastly different things. Publishing is the afterthought, the moneymaker, and unfortunately the one that our capitalistic society judges to be the most important. But the internet has opened up a space for thousands of individuals to express themselves, and out of this comes great writing from unknown people.
Here are some of my favorite blogs by real writers: