A Writer’s Make

Jose VilsonJose, Writing

Question: What’s the difference between a blogger and a writer?

Yesterday, a friend of mine decided she’d abandoned blogging for a myriad of reasons, all of them viable and understandable in the eyes of the reader and the writer alike. It hurt me to read because I honestly believe in her ability to convey her deepest emotions and ideas. Even when she extended the post, she never bored people with the writing, eliciting expanded responses from her more devoted fans. Yet, because it was so personal, she didn’t write consistently. When she did, the “numbers” went up, but when she didn’t, well, only her most loyal fans stuck around.

Of course, this can only go two ways: either people love her writing and she’s lauded as a contemporary of her time, offering her book deals and money to do her thing on paperback, or she quits blogging as a whole, leaving her talent abandoned and unexposed to a greater community that may eventually appreciate it. Unfortunately for this heroine, the latter happened. And again, her reasons for leaving get to the heart of the ugly side of blogging. She may be a great writer, but she’s not a great blogger, and despite everyone’s arguments to the contrary, there’s evidence that there’s a difference after all.

I’m not going to name names, but oftentimes, I’ll read a blog and think how, while their point of view may be interesting and sometimes entertaining, it’s not good writing. In some of these blogs (irrespective of background), I’ll find misspellings, confusing conjugations and conjunctions, and just a lack of English (or any language) mastery. These bloggers will put up a controversial picture or speak on nonsense, yet the comments, links, and page views keep coming in the hundreds and sometimes thousands. It’s an interesting cross between crass production, formulaic name-branding, and salacious marketing. I admittedly read some of these blogs, but no matter how drawn I am to the content, the less I’m drawn to the overall writing. Many writers looking to get their writing careers off, thus, have a hard time fitting in because this new medium doesn’t always fit into the mold of the blogger, and gets disheartened in the process.

Granted, many of my favorite bloggers meet at the crossroads of popularity and solid writing. People like The Unapologetic Mexican, NYC Educator, and despite our disagreements about whether or not teachers should write poems, dy/dan, and hold the vanguard down in their respective fields. They, along with a lot of the bloggers in my sidebar, attest to how one can be a good blogger AND a good writer, so it’s not contradictory. Yet, relatively speaking, these type of blogs are becoming few and far between. So either people write well and don’t have much of a following, or they write so-so but have huge followings. I don’t like making gross generalizations like that, but the examples of both cases are overwhelming.

With that said, if you’re a writer who wants to blog, go right ahead. Yet, don’t let page views, subscribers, Technorati ratings, incoming links, and every other Internet gizmo determine your worth. Some people are just better at marketing and writing good blogs, and some aren’t. You can’t correlate how good your writing is with how popular it’s going to be.

However, if you reallllllly want to write, the only person that matters is YOU. You can only write as well as you believe you can. Once that happens, then you’ve gotta decide what kind of writer you’ll become.

What’s your take on this? Maybe it might help new writers and bloggers alike.

jose, who just wanted to write this in the aftermath of my friend’s resignation …