Feature image from SRTRENDS
The Writing Festival Season is about to start and I’m absolutely thrilled to be participating in the EMERGING WRITERS FESTIVAL for 2015.
This year I’ll be joining SAM VAN ZWEEDEN and MICHELLE McLAREN to talk all things blogging. I’m nervous, excited and starting to wonder if I am completely out of my depth. As the days tick by and the panel discussion looms ahead, I realise I have no idea what the hell blogging even is?
Firstly, I want to make one thing clear. I hate the words Blog, Blogs, Blogging, Blogger and Blogged. They sound like they’ve come straight from the toilet. I try at all costs to never say these words out loud.
When people ask me what I do for a living I tell them ‘I write…online…for a few websites…that I own.’
I try not to declare myself a writer or a blogger. These words are so loaded with assumptions that when you drop these two bombs into a conversation, that’s it, the conversation is over. Like tiny hand grenades, these words tend to blow the conversation completely apart, and I don’t mean it as a good thing.
People want to know everything. ‘What are you working on?’ ‘What do you write about?’ ‘Are you writing a book?’ ‘How do bloggers even make money?’ ‘Can you help me set up a blog? I have this idea for a…?’ ‘What is a blog exactly?’
You might be surprised to realise that most people still don’t really know what a blog is. At a blogging workshop I ran for small business owners, I spent most of the introduction explaining what a blog was. The truth I don’t know what a blog is exactly. I wanted to answer, ‘It’s kind of like a website, but more shit,’ but that isn’t even true. Some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen have been blogs (CABIN PORN).
They asked, ‘So are bloggers and writers the same thing?’
In short, no. The long answer, kind of.
Bloggers write and writers blog but you can be a blogger without ever writing a word, and you can be a writer without ever blogging. The lines are blurry. It hurts my head.
Bloggers tend to be ‘small time’. Unless they’re huge, and then they are really more like writers. Blogging isn’t really about writing (Unless your blogging about writing?!)* Blogging isn’t about being a perfect grammar technician, having impeccable spelling or being a literary genius. Blogging is about conveying information and having a conversation with your readers. Sometimes the speed at which that information needs to be shared is more important than everything else.
A lot of time spent blogging is actually facilitating a dialogue, asking questions and posting various perspectives to readers. A great deal of the information found on my blogs is located in the comments section, where users have added to or disputed my writing. Blogging is alive. Blogging is interactive.
I am especially aware of not editing any comments that disagree with what I have written unless they are destructive to the dialogue (Go crazy in the comments below).
How are writers and bloggers different?
On a note page next to my laptop I decided to make a list of what a writer and a blogger actually DO on an average day. What tasks are writers and bloggers called upon to perform?
- HTML Coder
- Marketing Manager
- Forum Moderator
- Early Adaptor
Looking at this list, it would be easy to view bloggers as self involved control freaks. Perhaps we are.
Writers can write anywhere – but a blogger can only write online. In that way blogging might be perceived as being very limited. But with blogging you are your own boss. And now we seem to come to the heart of the argument. Bloggers can do what ever they want. Bloggers are independent, active and work for themselves. Blogger have agency and are their own managers. Bloggers are free (mostly to make their own mistakes) to publish whatever and whenever they like.
A mediocre writer and a mediocre blogger are the same thing. A shit blog is always going to be a shit blog, and bad writing is always going to be bad no matter the format in which it is published.
But here is the truth of it. I love blogging and I love writing, and one day I hope to be excellent at both, but for now I am only the sum of my parts. I will continue doing what ever the hell it is that I am doing because it is the best way I can think of to improve and learn.
And when people ask me what I do for a living I will continue to tell them ‘I write…online…for a few websites…that I own.’
The discussion continues at this years Emerging Writers Festival, MELBOURNE TOWN HALL, where I will be discussing (defending) Blogging from 2pm Sunday 31st of May.
TICKETS for the full weekend are just $90.
See EMERGING WRITERS FESTIVAL for more details.
*This is obviously not a great example of a well structured argument.