(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Friday, August 22, 2008

are bloggers "real" writers?

this question (not a new one, I'm certain) arose when reading a recent post by Halfway to France's LaFraméricaine.

she was commenting upon feedback she has received from Monsieur LeFraméricain on the time consumed on the computer. And how she hasn't completed reading a book in its entirety since she began her blog. and other sundry nuances related to creating time and space to blog.  almost like we should apologize for goofing around on the internets.

my reaction to her and in my head was, how is this different than writing via pen or manual typewriter or other means? isn't blogging just a form of writing using a computer as a tool?

Would spouses, partners, etc. vent as much if we were sat at a desk pen in hand? or they could hear the clickety-clak of the typewriter keys?

Don't authors of the non-computerized sort still have to make time for writing ... make choices to reduce some activities or organize they schedule in a manner to put their words in readable form?

Why does the fact that a computer is involved diminish the value of the output?  Why is what is written 'less serious' because it is spontaneous? In many respects, MORE is on the line in this regard since one's audience consumes the output more quickly, leaving less time for editing etc. that printed on paper words allow.

Of course, not ALL bloggers are writers. Some folks have a blog to post family photos, talk about janey's softball games, write notes to self and granny. They may only update sporadically with Farmer's Almanac type info like weather, what they ate, etc.

But some of us are attempting more than that. We're serious about the thoughts and messages we are imparting to our readers. I  try to live up to my personal commitment and goal of providing entertaiing content of interest related to my blog theme and also to pose topics and questions, material of a thought-provoking nature.

How this differs from a newspaper journalist or writer of a printed magazine article escapes me. Except perhaps for the pay. Which some of us are even beginning to realize as well.  Blogging is an element of the writing/publishing industry and can be done for personal satisfaction up to and including great monetary gain.

So, get it straight. We bloggers are as real as you want us to be. And most times more.

(image from the bobofiles.com)


Randal Graves said...

It's the same projection in a new medium. I still get this crap when I AM reading. Not from my wife, thankfully.

"It's not like you're doing anything."

"Assholes, reading IS doing something. YOU should try it."

Blogging is definitely writing. Different than what I do offline, sure, but it's still writing.

DivaJood said...

Blogging is most definately writing. And it is just as difficult. And just as erratic.

Our Juicy Life said...

It is writing, definately. I would not call myself a "writer", I blog because I want to document our move to France. When I didn't have a blog I didn't write on paper or typewriter. But I do read, every day and I love it. I find blogging very difficut. It's like writing a new book every day and you get comments about that book, good or bad. I think blogging has brought out more writers and it's a good thing. Keeps the brain working.

La Belette Rouge said...

I was a "writer", i.e. I got paid for it. Then I quit writing because I wasn't getting paid enough. Then I started blogging and I feel like I am a better writer as a blogger than I was before I started( not that you can tell it from that sentence).
I absolutely think blogging is writing. However, it is also time consuming, and prevents me from doing important things like vacuuming. I love that about blogging.

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

RG- yeah, the only difference I can see is I can't really "surf" my steno pad. well maybe for my own ranting.

DJ- I definitely feel authorish, of course I write other stuffs too ... but my blood sweat tears are spilled daily.

OJL-*writer writer writer* there I said it. wait till you get here and can regale us with your stories of the Aveyron.

LBR-true, not only is the computer a tool of writing blogs, it is a tool of procrastination. I'm surrounded by projects and yet ... on any given day I might just ignore them all, dependent on my mood. But I was like that with my typewriter too!

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hill Country Hippie said...

I think my big mistake was in letting everyone see how much I loved blogging, and how much fun I was having. Real writers are supposed to be alone and miserable, right?

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

I haven't noticed any mistake on your part HCH ... all the better that you love it. Although I kind of agree that most writers have to have a little misery ... a little angst ... but no need to be alone.

amy said...

I've gone back and forth with this question myself, even quitting my blog last year because it was too much of a "distraction". Did I get more done - hell no!

And, for example, I thought what you wrote about Brits in France was a fine example of what's good about blogging. It was the first time I read about this phenomenon from an American newcomer's point of view. Rather than framing it in a tidy way to fit in a prescribed column space/word length, you really got into the topic and raised a lot of interesting questions. You provided good details and descriptions. Then some of your commenters filled in some other details and raised more questions themselves.

And that's another part of blogging that can seem pretty time-consuming: reading and commenting on other's blogs! Is it "real" writing or "real" reading? It all depends on who you read. (and just like I'll read the Sun or NY Post sometimes even though I hate them, I admit there are blogs I think are "trash". And I go to them more often than I'd like to admit!

damn. I swore I wasn't going to spend time on the computer this morning...

La Framéricaine said...

I would like to say that I agree whole-heartedly with Amy's reflections on the difference in quality and tone of a post such as this one by JNRR, a woman to whom I've grown quite attached in a very short period of time, and one by a "writing head" (as in "talking head").

The experience of having a call and refrain is liberating and uplifting, for lack of better words to describe it, and, in my opinion, for me, irreplaceable.

I suspect that this particular subject will continue to come up as a basic theme of our discourse and I genuinely welcome that.

BTW, I have been thinking of blogging as the democratization of the act of writing and publishing. Also, as an act of defiance and empowerment.

If you have a blog, you don't have to keep your unique world view to yourself--a blessing and a curse, no doubt--and if a given person or group of people don't appreciate it, they can simply refrain from reading it.

I find myself chanting:

"If you blog it, they will come."

Randal Graves said...

Bah, a lotta misery. What's wrong with you? Now I'm miserable.

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

RG- say it with along with me, les miserables, lay meezerahbluh. Vous parlez bien, monsieur!