Thursday, June 26, 2008

Write Away

The Calling
William Adolphe Bouguereau

"What is the best way to write? Each of us has to discover her own way by writing. Writing teaches writing. No one can tell you your own secret."
Gail Sher: One Continuous Mistake.

Writers are naturally introspective. It's one of the qualities that makes us write. And it seems like we're forever searching for legitimacy. Quotes from the greatest authors show that having many publications and legions of readers is not enough to give lasting confidence. Even they wonder if they've fooled people into thinking they've got something of worth to offer.

So, the questions Marta posed on her blog actually prove her status. She asked, "Is a blogger a writer?" and "Does a real writer blog?" It's a great post, and the comments are insightful, too.

I don't think every blogger is a writer, and I don't think everything a writer writes is writing. The underlying question writers ask themselves, (and anyone who will read their work) is, "Am I a writer?" Deep down, I want someone to declare that it's permissible for me to take that lofty title.

It's doesn't work that way. When somebody says, "Wow, you're a great writer!" I question their opinion. Since everybody learns to write in kindergarten, it seems presumptuous to announce that I think I'm better at it than some. But just knowing how to talk doesn't make a person a speaker. I don't feel embarrassed saying to other people who can read that I'm a reader. I know how to run, but I'm not a runner. I have to declare myself: Because I express myself through writing, I'm a writer.

Writers don't always have readers. Before I had a blog, my only readers were people I knew well, the people I could actually hand my work to in person. I didn't have the money or the backing to publish or print anything in large numbers. Now I have readers. Although I still give my stuff away, my blog gives me a sensation of authenticity.

I started my blog mainly as a journal. Now I think of it as an essay, or an article. My blog predicament has become whether I blog for readers or for myself. If it's for readers I have to give myself the right to write.

I love to read the inner thoughts of a writer. That's the art form that resonates with me. It's the essence of communication. A personal, intimate post is my favorite kind of blog. The written word gives me the feeling that I'm entering somebody's heart and mind, connecting with a soul.

I blog the way I used to write in my journal. I mentally edited the things I wrote there, because I was always afraid I'd die unexpectedly. I didn't want anyone to have their feelings hurt just because I happened to rant the day before my demise. I kept my journal, imagining the people who would someday read it. It wasn't ever meant to be totally private. I'm an audience kind of writer. For me, writing doesn't feel complete unless someone reads it.

Why do you blog? Do you keep a journal as well? Do you write with readers in mind, or is your blog mostly for yourself? Do you care about getting new readers?

Visit Marta's post for added inspiration! And give yourself permission to be a writer.


gab said...

Both a blog and a journal are important to me. They serve different purposes. A blog is interpersonal and a journal is intrapersonal. I need them both.

marta said...

great minds think alike! thanks for responding to my post.. you always know how to put things 'write'.

Tina said...

I have a dream to write a book, but have the fear of rejection. I blog because I don't journal like I did as a child.
I think I have ulterior motives.
I think I want to be validated that I have SOMETHING to say, that someone wants to hear (or read).
I love how you write. You express yourself so eloquently, and at the same time, really give me (the reader) insight into you and your life. I have no idea who you are, but I feel I know you through your blog so thanks. You are of value to me and I love your blog!

care020 said...

I blog and journal for the very reasons that gab shared. I do not consider myself "a writer" just because I preform the act of writing. A writer has a more altruistic, or selfless, reason for sharing their thoughts; therefore, they are more inclined to concern themselves with the needs of the reader. I write with what appears to be a more extistential purpose -- the meaning and purpose in my life becomes more concrete when I give voice to it in a variety of ways which include writing.
Then again, just as listeners are vital to a conversation, readers play a vital role in written communication. Because their needs must be met in order to keep them, even this "non-writer" blogger has to consider the readers and needs to put more effort into attracting them.

Keri(th) said...

There's an empty column in the Dallas Morning News that has your name all over it.

You are a 'Writer'.

I only use the keyboard as a blogger because it makes the Christmas brag letter a few pages lighter at the end of the year, therefore saving me $$$$ in postage. I think most blogs serve the same purpose - periodic updates and current happenings for family and friends.

Yours is a a rare find and a most delicious treat!

MissKris said...

We have a family member who is the only college-educated child in her family. She's rather smug about it and, even if she's unaware of it, she has a tendency to be very condescending to all of the rest of us who aren't as 'educated' as she is. She's a professional 'writer' by trade. My daughter's life goal is to become a published author and she's very talented. I have every confidence in her that one day she'll attain that dream. In the meantime, one day she and this family member were having a conversation and the family member told my daughter, "You have to have a DEGREE to be a writer!" My daughter gave her quite a look and told her, "And a degree doesn't make EVERYONE a writer." As for me, I do consider myself a writer. Writing is my life-blood. As to whether I'm a good writer or not...I dunno. But I can't live without writing something SOMEWHERE and my blog happens to be that outlet. I appreciate my faithful readers and I'm always thrilled when a 'lurker' finally speaks up. I don't know why people are so hesitant to comment on my blog. One reader once told me, "It's because you make us THINK!" She said even if she doesn't comment, she can spend a whole day reflecting on something I've written. And that helped me a lot. My blog IS my journal. I write it for my grandbabies. I wish my mom or grandmothers would've written something like this for me. Great post, Marty. Now I'm going to go check out Marta's.

Bev said...

I loved this post Marty (and Marta's too!) It inspired one of my own: