I began as a blogger.
It was in the summer of 2007 or in late August of that year, if I need to be more specific, that I began blogging. Green around the gills is how I would refer to myself back then.
What started as a personal diary that nobody read (apart from my mom) grew to something that other people began to read in 2013. That’s 6 years after I began blogging.
I know I tell people that I’ve been blogging for ten years and that’s true. But the fact is, I am a blogger in the actual sense of the word, only for the last 4 years or so.
Spurred by the random appreciation of a fiction piece I wrote in late 2013, I decided to start another blog, purely for creative writing pieces. And thus, a writer was born.
A blogger thrives on community- the idea of people reading their content, learning from one another, building each other up and that’s just the fun part of blogging. I’m not even getting into the sponsored content, traffic building strategies and building a personal brand. I love everything about blogging and I really, truly appreciate the effort that serious bloggers put into their craft.
This applies to every niche: be it parenting, travel, food, photography and more. It’s also a fairly well-known secret that a blogger’s largest audience is other bloggers. Oh, we do have non-bloggers who read us, but that’s a small number, unless you are a popular blogger in a very strong niche like food, which naturally garners more readers outside the blogging universe.
Now here’s the thing: A writer is very different from a blogger.
A writer usually writes for one of two people: themselves and/or an audience. Why you write is usually very different from why you blog.
Take this piece, for instance. I write on Medium because I want to enjoy the thrill of writing for its own sake. Hence, my attempt at daily writing to build a habit. I am honestly not worried about the number of views it may get or the appreciation it may garner. (Not saying those aren’t fabulous, but they aren’t my primary focus).
So while I blog with the aim to build a community, I write for my own sake. This doesn’t mean I compromise on my voice when I blog, mind you. I aim to be authentic, no matter where I write. Whether that comes through is a different matter.
I can understand if you are not a blogger and find it amusing that people would write. For instance, very recently, at an event, when I was asked what I do, I replied with, ‘I’m a blogger.’ They mis-heard me and their eyes widened in appreciation. ‘Wow, a lawyer! What’s that like?’ I laughed and corrected them, ‘No no. I am a blogger. I don’t know the first thing about law.’
They smiled, in a fashion that implied, ‘Oh, just a blogger.’ But I knew it from their smiles. I wasn’t good enough. I’ve seen it before, that silent disdain. I’ve seen it on faces when people heard I have a Masters in Arts and not a STEM subject. I’ve seen the sympathy in their eyes which always amuses me. And it didn’t worry me. I blog because I enjoy it.
But it always comes as a bit of a surprise to me when I see other bloggers or writers looking down their noses at fellow bloggers. Bloggers who think that building an audience is being false to oneself. Or that blogging is inferior to freelance writing. Or that engaging with other bloggers is, somehow, an indication of desperation. Or blogging on a schedule is like being an automaton.
None of the above things are true.
Because I can tell you one thing that is common to writing and blogging: It is an expression of the self. It’s my part of the day when I am completely comfortable with who I am and what I do. It’s my love for writing that makes me a good blogger and my passion for blogging that makes me a decent writer.
So while the two are independent entities, they are inextricably woven and enmeshed in my soul as one, beating heart.
If you are a writer and a blogger or either of the two, I take my hat off to you.
You are doing what many people do not have the luxury to do: Write because they love to do it.