Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are bloggers real writers? Discuss.

I could write six best-selling books and I'd still be reluctant to call myself a writer. The label is not something I take lightly. When people ask me what I do, I usually always say magazine reporter first. (I've been getting that question a lot lately, and it's become more and more painful to answer for some reason.) I'm actually much more confident talking to someone about my blog than I am about the articles I've written.

OK, so obviously the asshole who put this sign up outside his bar during SxSW has not come across Fired 'n' Fabulous yet...obvi. Kidding. I could care less. If there are bloggers out there pulling the "Don't you know who I AM?!" stunt, then they deserve it. (Who are you, Justin Long?)

However, a lot of people DO give a shit about bloggers. They are being taken more and more seriously (Hello, this teenager sat front row at every major show during Fashion Week!), and little of that has to do with the fact that they are real writers. Most aren't. I know a lot of amazing writers with unsuccessful blogs--the two don't really go hand-in-hand. You have to just kinda...get it. I'm by no means the authority on blogs, and mine is a constant work in progress, but I think I have a general idea of what works and what doesn't. I try to keep it real and write about things people can relate to, while sprinkling in a bit of fun and fabulosity here and there. And I really try to cut myself off when I start to ramble. (I'm constantly asking myself, "Would anyone care about this?") Right, I think it's about that time.

So you tell me: Do you think bloggers are real writers? What do you think makes a good blog? And how many blogs do you follow regularly?

Oh and I FINALLY have a winner for the PH8 tote bag giveaway--I totally forgot about picking a winner! And the lucky reader is...RACHEL! Shoot me an email with your addy and I'll get it to you :)


  1. I think bloggers are real writers! Blogging IS writing isn't it? I think it's comparable to art and music. Who determines what is and isn't, and where do you draw the line? I consider myself a fashion designer..even though I only am an assistant designer for a small company...and I don't design for pleasure as much as I should. A little cheeky of me I suppose=)

    I think being relatable and witty are the two most important factors...at least that's what draws me personally in with blogs.

    I really only follow you and 2 others- one humor and one that is more of a daily poetry/image type blog. Yours has become the one and only that I read every single day though! Keep up the good work!

  2. In a way, we are writers. You are a writer. ;) Because, as Beth said, blogging is writing. We express our thoughts through writing. Mine may be mostly humor but I do it to entertain people.

    I agree with you though. Those bloggers who feel like they are some sort of celebrities or those who are pulling the "Dont you know who I am" stunt need to read that sign. Haha!

  3. I wrote an articulate, well thought-out comment, and blogger ate it. Suffice it to say I agree with Beth. All labels come with stereotypes.

    I love a blog that makes me think about how it applies to my life or my surroundings. I love living vicariously through blogs like yours. I follow yours and a few others, but I'm always on the hunt for more, more, more. Ellen, would you consider listing the blogs you follow on your blog?


  4. Funny you should ask Kim...I am putting up a blog roll. Look for it tomorrow...there will be lots of surprises tomorrow :)

    Very true, Beth. I suppose there isn't just one definition of a writer, designer, etc. I'd still rather call myself a blogger than a writer, even though the latter is certainly more pretentious. Tell someone you have a blog and it's like, Ohh...riiight. Whatever!

    Seriously, Dyinetch. If I ever get that kind of attitude, call me out on it! I won't though. That's a (pinky) promise.

  5. You are definitely a writer and a very good one! I read this blog every day and get really excited when I see that you've added a new post.

    I only follow 2 other blogs & they are family members. I read those from time to time to stay in the loop & to see pictures of my little cousins!

  6. I won the tote? I don't think I've ever won anything! That's why this is a good blog... prizes! :)

  7. There are so many fabulous blogs out there to follow! Some of my faves include:

    Fired n Fabulous - obvi!
    Hot For Sure (hotforsure.onsugar.com)
    Moco Loco (MocoLoco.com)
    Happy Mundane (happymundane.blogspot.com)
    Gawker Stalker - does that count? ha!

  8. I think many bloggers are writers, but its probably not the blog itself that makes you a writer or not.

  9. I know 4 food bloggers working on their books right now. They got the book deals through their daily blogs...

  10. I noticed that some of bloggers I am in touch with that do photo diaries are writers, but for someone else. Maybe some of them do not write much cause articles require more time than just posting photos. this is good subject. I am thinking about this often.

  11. I would say that some bloggers are true writers. but that in my opinion, most bloggers are just that. bloggers. ellen, you're are a writer, you've done it professionally, and you write a cute blog which is why i follow. I am a blogger, not a writer at all. i was hesitant to start a blog because i'm not a writer, but my good friend at the quarter life chronicles practically begged me to start one so here i am. I think the above sign is a testament to what many people (myself included) initally think about blogs--in which they are a tool for self promotion of those who don't have anything real to offer. BUT when you look past that aspect of it, blogging has really changed the landscape of modern journalism, so therefore you can't say all bloggers aren't writers. its just not true.

  12. I don't see how you differentiate between the two in today's world. Blogs provide writers (novice and profs alike) the ability to get their viewpoints and opinions out to the public in the manner of their choosing. Just because you aren't employed by the NYTimes doesn't mean you aren't a writer. blogging is a legit form of writing and most of the resistance comes from those in the newspaper world, which is quickly dying.

  13. Such an interesting topic! I was hoping one of my fave bloggers would cover that sxsw sign. A few weeks ago, a very sage friend told me he didn't see bloggers as all that different from "writer-writers," which I assume means those who write for print publications. While not all bloggers are great and yes, some print writers are bad, I think one thing a lot of blog-haters forget is that bloggers do it all. We come up with our own ideas, find images, research, develop and edit our own work. True, many writers do the same, but it's rare that a print writer gets final say in their work; once they turn it in, a editor can slash at will. I've seen it done and I've done it myself!

  14. I'm a bit fascinated by this argument. I think it depends on how you define writer. There are professional writers ie writers who get paid for what they write and there are the vast majority of us who write because we enjoy writing.

    Really I think this argument isn't about who is a writer and who isn't. I think it is about the democratization of publishing. It used to be a select few controlled access to publishing tools. 30 years ago if you wanted people to read you you needed distribution, printing equipment, advertising and word of mouth. Now you can get your work out there completely independently whether you suck or not. Just like nowadays anyone can create an mp3 and get their music on myspace. The middleman has been cut out of the process in some ways and I think that ruffles a few feathers.

  15. Some are real writers, some are not. I follow mostly personal blogs, and have a preference for people with a good sense of humor But I have a range on my reader just because I've grown to like the person even if the writing or photography isn't great. I'm not sure how many I follow, but it's a long list.

  16. Wow, I'm surprised (in a good way) by how many of you think bloggers are real writers! I was expecting more critical comments, but you guys made great points.

    And yeah, Christopher, it does depend on your own definition of what a writer IS. I guess I just don't fit mine. I think of a writer as someone with a super-extensive vocabulary, reads at any free opportunity and can write well on ANY topic. I, on the other hand, struggle with expanding the words in my repertoire, read a book every month or two and have a hard time writing on subjects I have no interest in.