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~~ 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 writerโ€™s blogs by the bloggers who write them: Top 5 Picks Chosen by the August 8, 2008, WOOF Contest Contestants


About Writing:


  • 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:



  • 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.


  1. In hopes that the questions aren’t meant to be rhetorical …

    IMHO, anyone who sits down to write something with the intention for others to read, regardless whether it is read or not, IS a writer.

    Your point regarding the excellent writing that can be found all over the internet is spot on. Wish I had more time to devote to reading all I encounter.

    Hilarys last blog post..Duke Bloomed

  2. Very interesting topic, Janie. I spend quite a bit of time working on writing and using it in ministry purposes, but don’t always consider myself a writer. I’ve had people tell me I am, but since I don’t earn money doing it, I’m reluctant to label myself that way.

    Lately I’ve been wondering if I don’t think of myself as a writer, why should anyone else? Am I shooting myself in the foot?

    Tami Boesigers last blog post..Connection

  3. Being a blogger and being a writer are two totally different things and represent two different skillsets. Blogging is about offering opinions and commentary and doesn’t have to be literary at all so long as it’s coherent in some sense – some of the best blogs contain mostly simple responses to other online articles/blogs/websites, bulleted lists, images and other media and only a line or two of text per post.

    Writing is far more descriptive and is creative in an entirely different way. Some bloggers are indeed writers as well – and many writers are being discovered through their blogs. Just publishing on your blog regularly, however, does not make you a writer.

    I am a professional copywriter and I don’t consider myself a writer any more than I consider myself a music journalist because my personal blog is about music.

  4. Doppstadt

    Writing is not the only task of a writer.S/he has also needs to read a lot.

  5. Although I am not a “writer” in the true sense of the word, I have a loyal and constant base of readers. My motive is to keep relatives and friends informed as to the family “happenings” and in the process I opened it up to outsiders who also seem to enjoy reading my blog. So, I suppose the definite answer from me would be: Kinda Sorta… ๐Ÿ˜‰ – Nards

    Nardeeismss last blog post..Song of the day: We Shall Overcome- Charles Tindley (sung by Diana Ross 1996 in Budapest)

  6. Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve often wondered am I no longer a writer, but a blogger? However, I believe that if you write a letter a day, that makes you a writer, even if no one reads that letter. Yet, I love the metaphor. Good post…will be submitting this post to Entreview–here’s to more traffic!!

  7. Definitely…. if you have passion for your craft, you are a writer!! It doesn’t matter how many people read your stuff as long as you write, that’s what counts… The rest will fall into place!

  8. yep still a writer in my book…maybe not a paid or professional writer. i think maybe, whether you are published yet or not, calling yourself a writer is maybe where you hope to be someday. the more you say it, the more you believe it, the more you act like it.

    Naturals last blog post..A Fish Out of Water, Literally

  9. I seems to me that putting words on paper and allowing others to read them makes you a writer. Getting a contact and a book published makes you an author.

    Making money at what you love to do makes you fortunate.

    carols last blog post..49 and Counting!

  10. What a good post, I liked very much… So let’s see, I think a writer must define himself before as what kind of writer is: a self-reading writer or a public one. There are people that write only for their own, I like to write poems so I like to write and read them on my own, so however no one read my poems I define myself a writer. If my objective is that many people likes my writings, well, if no one reads my poems I think that I’m not the best one… as Einstein said everything’s relative! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. I loved this post. It’s true — I write simply because I must. And as much as the blogosphere tells us it’s all about increasing traffic (though JK Rowling did it all without a blog), it is that internal sense of blogging to fulfill this deeply felt need that makes a person a writer. Thank you for the thoughtful reflections…
    signed, a kindred spirit,

  12. You’ve touched upon something I’ve thought about often since I started blogging. I learned quickly that “blogging” is not synonymous with “writing” and that it is easy to get bogged down in the “blogging” aspects.

    And the question to bloggers becomes “do you blog so you can write….or do you write so you can blog?”

    I love to write. I find my connection to my highest self as I write. I feel like I am a writer deep in my bones and writing is where I find much of my Joy. Yet, I haven’t been “published” (as of yet, with the exception of the Internet), I don’t know who reads my work and as your next post points out, the comments on my blog do not give me critiques of my work.

    So am I really a writer? It depends upon the criteria its based upon.
    If a writer must be published and read then of course, No.
    But if a writer must write….then Yes!

  13. Bookmakers

    Iโ€™ve been wondering if I donโ€™t think of myself as a writer, why should anyone else? Am I shooting myself in the foot?

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  15. shooting games

    I believe that if you write a letter a day, that makes you a writer, even if no one reads that letter.

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