~~ One of the Top 5 Picks Chosen by the August 8, 2008, WOOF Contest Contestants ~~
If a tree falls in the forest, but no one hears it, does it make a sound?
Remember pondering that question with your friends when you first heard it, probably in elementary school? I was reminded of it for the first time in many years when I was blog-hopping a bit this past week.
I am constantly amazed at not just the number of blogs in existence, but the high quality of writing I found on so many sites. Most of the sites are like mine (and probably, if you are a blogger, yours): They generate a fair number of visitors each day, but are maintained by ordinary, working people who blog purely for pleasure. The vast majority of bloggers do not generate earnings from their sites, although some of us publish a few ads that generate a small sum each month. In my case, I earn a few dollars that cover my web hosting and graphics costs.
So here’s the modified inquiry; If a writer writes, but few people read his/her work, is he/she really a writer?
J.K. Rowling, Dean Koontz, Janet Evanovich . . . name your favorite published author whose work has been or is on the New York Times Bestseller list. His or her work has been read by millions of folks and he or she is inarguably deemed a writer.
But much of the work that is published and deemed a commercial success is matched or bettered by the writing published every day on the Internet by undiscovered, but enormously talented folks. Are those ordinary folks not writers, as well, even those their audiences probably number in the thousands or maybe just hundreds?
And what of the super-bloggers who claim to earn their living solely from blogging? Just because they earn enough money from their blogs to sustain themselves, are they writers? Much of their work, focused largely upon how to convince more people to visit their blogs and make a lot of money in the process, is, as my plain-spoken mother used to say, “nothing to write home about.” But do their large followings make up for the quality that is so often lacking in their work?
What does it mean to be a writer? How do you know when you have become one?
Much of my daily work is devoted to writing, yet I never called myself a writer until long after I began blogging about, ironically, all kinds of things unrelated to how I earn a living. Still, one could argue that I am a professional writer because I do get paid to spend a significant portion of my working days writing. That feels disingenuous, however, until I consider the number of truly horrific pieces of writing I have received from my adversaries over the years. In comparison, I definitely feel qualified to label myself a writer. It still feels somewhat pompous, though.
What do you think are the characteristics or achievements that entitle one to be called or call him/herself a writer? Is it all about readership? Or is that even part of the equation? Is it pompous or vain to call yourself a writer if your work has not yet been published or only a small audience reads your work?
Presenting the finest of the writer’s blogs by the bloggers who write them: Top 5 Picks Chosen by the August 8, 2008, WOOF Contest Contestants
- Penelope Anne Bartotto – I’ll Always Hold Your Hand
- Jennifer M. Scott – Her Breasts
- Jenn – What Friends Do
- JHS – If a writer writes . . .
- Jennifer M. Scott – 100 Years from Now
Brought to You by Plotdog Press Featuring: More than your normal excitement about writing
Other August 8, 2008 Contestants:
- Mike Fried – Liar – A Novel
- Jennifer M. Scott – Blood for Peace
- Jennifer M. Scott – Catharsis
Want to participate in the next WOOF? The next contest ends August 15, 2008. Submit a link to your best writing post of the week using the form at the bottom of this page.