I've been thinking a lot this week about what it means to be a writer, and what it means to be a blogger. And I suppose the question of the day is: which am I? I have no problem telling people that I write, but I always hesitate to say, "I'm a writer."
Why is that? I guess it's always because I'm scared of the follow-up question: "Oh, you're a writer? What do you write?"
Sheepishly, I typically smile and tell people about my blog, and about The Violet, and about how sometimes I write for nothing and just save it in a word doc on my computer. They smile back, and regardless of what they're really thinking, I always assume they are thinking that I'm not actually a writer.
Are all bloggers writers? Are all writers bloggers? I guess some people blog with minimal writing, and some people write with minimal blogging. If I want to be a writer, does that mean I have to write books? Or write for magazines? Can I be a writer if I only write on this blog? Or does that make me a blogger, and not a writer?
I can hear myself going down the rabbit hole.
Sometimes I find myself wishing I was a real writer, with a real project outside of this blog that consisted of nothing but stringing words together. Like a (short) book, or a magazine column. Something with credibility that I could point to and be like, Look people! I'm a real writer! I wrote that! It's so legit!
But then I think if I did have a project such as that, what would happen to my blog? How would I write here and write there? What would I say all the time? My life isn't even interesting! Yesterday I blogged about poop for crying out loud.
The truth is: I love writing, and I hope someday I'll have the balls to call myself a writer, regardless of whether I'm writing a blog or a book or a miscellaneous article for a miscellaneous publication.
The other truth is: I love blogging. And I love blogging for more than just writing, I love blogging for the community. A few weeks ago, a student from Sac State interviewed me for a paper she was writing about blogging. She asked me point blank: "Why do you blog?" I started rambling about all sorts of things, but eventually came to a very simple conclusion: I blog for the me too's. I blog for the community, and for the total strangers who e-mail me and say, "Hey, thanks for writing that today. I feel that way too." The amazing thing about this relationship, this bond, this connection between strangers, is that it goes both ways---from me to you and from you to me. Like when I wrote about Everett being breech, and three mothers reached out to me: "My baby was breech! Call me! Let's talk about it! I'll tell you everything!" I never went to the birthing class that discussed c-sections. I never even cracked open a book, or researched c-sections on the Internet. I talked to three women, asked all my questions, and walked into that hospital on May 7th feeling like I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. And guess what? Now I'm the breech baby/scheduled c-section expert. Well, not expert, but now people are asking ME what to expect. That's community. A place to share information and ask questions and find answers and challenge, inspire, and encourage one another. That's what I want in a blog, and it's taken me almost four years of blogging to recognize it.
My friend Lesley (who is most definitely a writer, and a good one!) recently wrote about blogging for passion and purpose, and in it, she created a blog mission statement. I loved reading her thoughts, and was instantly inspired to write my own as well. With that, I give you my blog mission statement:
Where my heart resides is a community that exists to inspire, encourage, and bring joy to people through the art of honest storytelling and beautiful photos. Topics will range from marriage and motherhood to faith and friendship, with a focus on embracing life as a twenty-something.
Q: Are you a writer or a blogger? Or both? I'd love to know your thoughts on the difference...