Blogging is not writing. It’s just graffiti with punctuation. – from the movie Contagion
Long before I started a blog I saw the movie Contagion, starring Matt Damon and that blonde girl (Iron Man’s girlfriend) whose name I can never remember, and have no desire to Google. The movie was about a quick spreading and deadly epidemic that killed millions of people (or at least 5) and started a world wide panic. It wasn’t a funny movie at all. Not one bit. But whenever I think of the movie, I only think of this quote, and I laugh.
I was already writing by then. Mostly short stories that I was posting on Facebook for my friends and family. I even started posting stories on a writing website called Wattpad, where I had started many longer stories and have thousands of followers. But when I heard the quote from that movie, I thought it was hilarious. It’s funny, I thought to myself, because it’s true.
In writing, just like anything else, people tend to divide themselves into groups. They rank themselves in order of some feigned sense of importance that exists probably only their head. But as it turns out though, it exists in many people’s heads.
First of all, if you are not making any money at writing then you are just an amateur. Writing is your hobby. A side thing for shits and giggles. A thing retired people do who have nothing better to do. No one takes your writing serious. I mean come on, if you were serious you’d be good at it right? And if you were good at it you’d be making money at it right? Duh.
Writers themselves tend to divide each other into groups so as to separate themselves from those just pretending to be writers. Those who write novels tend not to think much of the short story writers. Short story writers, of course, think differently, but at least they are not poets, right? And, for the most parts, poets will tell you that no, they don’t write monumental novels or have huge collections of short stories, but hey, they aren’t bloggers.
And lets not even talk about self publishing.
Conversations about writing usually go something like these:
“So you’re a writer?”
“What books have you written? I might have read them.”
“No, I write short stories.”
“Really? That’s a thing?”
“You’re a writer? What’s the name of your novel?”
“No. I write poems.”
“Oh, so you’re a poet. How cute.”
“So you’re a writer? Maybe I have the name of your book?”
“Yeah, but I don’t have a book. I have a blog.”
“Okay. But are you a writer? Do you have a book?”
People believe, and I guess for good reason, that when you say you are a writer it means you have written a book. A full beginning, middle, and end book with prospect of a dozen sequels to follow. They think if you are a writer, then they should be able to go to Barnes & Nobles and ask that high school kid at the help desk to look you up on their computer and pull up your list of works.
I don’t have books on the shelves at Barnes & Nobles. You probably don’t either. But who cares? What is the measure of a person that is able to honestly call themselves a writer? Who gets to decide that? (Me! Pick Me!)
Writers, in all the above groups (real or imagined) will tell you that writing is a passion. A passion that centers around the love of words. You don’t have to get paid, you don’t have to have a novel, and you don’t even have to have anything sitting on any bookshelf on Barnes & Nobles.
All you have to do is have that passion and exercise it. Share it with others. Write a book. Create short stories and poems and share them. Start a blog and engage people about something you are passion it about. Write about what turns you on and share your stories with the world.
Maybe just a few people will find your words. Maybe a million of them do. In either case that wouldn’t change your story, right? That’s because it’s your story. Only you can tell it. You can go hide it in a book if you want, or you can put it at people’s finger tips in a blog every day.
So go be a writer. Start a blog.