Becoming a writer

Thursday, February 21, 2013 Permalink

Since finishing work and embarking on my seachange I’ve pondered on my passion for writing.

I’ve said I blog because I like writing. But… if it was that simple I’d just keep a personal diary (and I know there are some of you who may think my diet blog is basically just that!!!). But, it’s more than that. I wouldn’t press the ‘publish’ button several times a week if that was the case. I obviously want to be read. I want to be heard.

And I’ve generally been proud to call myself a blogger. “I blog,” I say, when anyone asks. But… is that enough, I’m now wondering?

A few months ago I wondered if I would have more street cred if I was writing professionally (writing feature articles or a novel etc) in addition to ‘just’ blogging. I mean, every man and their dog blogs now… we’re hardly a rare breed.

After I attended the ProBlogger training event in October, I asked if we were kidding ourselves, thinking that WE had something different to say and a better way of saying it. I mean, who do we think we are?!

In her blog, Present Imperfection, Caroline recently wondered how we bloggers were viewed by those outside of our world. I wonder just as much about how we’re perceived by our contemporaries. In her post Caroline talks about bloggers’ quest for stats or status by indulging in all sorts of nefarious deeds; and it’s something that leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

bloggingAnd lately as I watch the never-ending rounds of link-ups, debates on sponsored posts and monetisation and the changes to Facebook resulting in the much-detested ‘The link is in the comments’ line, I wonder if this is where I really want to be… in a world where bloggers are increasingly battling for attention and recognition.

When I finished work I thought that monetising my blogs and getting advertising and sponsored or paid posting opportunities was exactly what I wanted. But now… I’m not so sure. Don’t get me wrong, the offers haven’t flooded in, but I’ve had a few sponsored post opportunities as well as some paid posts and have more coming up.

Mostly I was happy to receive something and write about it – declaring my freebie and offering my honest (albeit polite) opinion. But occasionally it felt uncomfortable. I got a free magazine. I got six packets of chips – and yet, felt this weird obligation to say something in a blog post about them. But because I was just starting off I didn’t like to say no in case the company in question never approached me again.

I’m continuing to get a bit of blogging work and have a few (paid) blogging opportunities coming up as well as some ghost blogging (which – incidentally – I’ve decided I actually prefer to sponsored posts). In a perfect world I’d write whatever personal crap I want in my own blogs and happily write things elsewhere for others as required! But… it is not a perfect world.

On the weekend, however I was reminded that, somewhere beneath the surface, a desire to write ‘creatively’ still lurks.

Joanna Penn’s blog, The Creative Penn, is an amazing resource for writers. I did a workshop with Joanna (possibly my favourite Queensland Writers’ Centre course!) a few years ago when she was in Australia and have followed her blog religiously ever since, though rarely (almost never) comment. Yes, I am a lurker. And although I didn’t actually comment on it, her very recent vlog about writing every day, struck a chord with me and has inspired me to do some proper bloody writing.

Now, I’m not implying that my blogging isn’t ‘real’ writing… I do believe blogging IS writing but I can’t always be as creative as I’d like and spend a lot of time editing what I’ve written rather than just WRITING!

Bizarrely I love Joanna’s very simple word counting method (ie. writing it on a calendar and giving herself a ‘tick’ when she hits her daily target) and I’m thinking I might try that myself.

I haven’t worked out yet exactly what I’ll write or how I’ll combine creative writing and blogging as I write such ridiculously long blog posts that I could easily write 2000 words between my two blogs in a day. But, I’m going to just start writing and see where it takes me.

Are you a blogger or a writer, or both?
Do you ever get disillusioned? 

* I’m linking my two blog posts today because they’re ‘kinda’ related. In Diet Schmiet I’m talking about getting into some routines and writing every day will be a part of that.


  • Joanna Penn
    February 21, 2013

    Hi Deb, I’m so glad the video inspired you and I’m thrilled that you lurk on my blog 🙂
    I love blogging too, but the difference with actually creating a finished story or a book is actually having a finished product at one point in time, so you can say “I made this”. There is also a hell of a lot more editing 🙂 Also, as someone who has been down the route of trying to monetize a blog, I am starting to make more income from fiction now, so it is a viable business proposition too. Happy times!
    All the best with your word count chart.

    • Debbish
      February 21, 2013

      Thanks for your comment Joanna! I had a conversation with my life coach the other day about your vlog (and this post which I’d started) and found it difficult to articulate WHY I wanted to do some other writing. I get a sense of accomplishment from completing my posts (especially those for others) so I can’t imagine what typing ‘The End’ at the end of a manuscript would be like. (Even if you then had a year of editing ahead of you!)

      PS. It was your Social Networking for Writers course I attended at QWC a few years ago. You were just about to move back to the UK.

  • Marion
    February 22, 2013

    Hi Deb! I’m still reading your other blog, but decided that if I can’t think of anything that is not entirely stupid/worthless to say, then I’m not commenting. No one needs more dumb comments from me.

    Regarding writing, I do have things to say: 1) Be more authoritative in your writing. In the U.S. high schools, writing a persuasive essay must involve taking a stance on the issue, even though both sides of the issue are addressed. If the student doesn’t take a stance, their grade gets *severely* docked. You do have a stance, but make it appear much firmer. 2) *Always* make writing that reflects pride of yourself. It is so much better to not write a post than to write something that is not up to your best standard. Then, if nobody else appreciates your writing, then you still will love it. 3) Have ovaries that clank. You’ve heard of the expression that men need “balls that clank,” right? Well, women writers need ovaries that clank. Be bold and clank those ovaries! Say something innovative, raw, curious, surprising, or just unsuspected. When you do all of this in a post, let me know. I would love to read your version of something with all of these writing issues addressed and conquered.

    🙂 Marion

    • Debbish
      February 22, 2013

      Thanks Marion. I hadn’t heard of the ‘ovaries that clank’ saying before!!!

      Guess I also see myself as a personal blogger rather than one of authority so try to avoid definitive advice in my posts. (I leave that to the PTs and experts as I don’t really have the expertise when it comes to writing or health/wellness. Of course TV, books etc are another matter entirely and my opinion is always almost-certainly correct!)


      • Marion
        February 23, 2013

        Everyone has full authority over their own experiences and their opinions. Almost all personal bloggers I read are quite authoritative about those matters (even Satu), and no one has to be an “expert” for personal experiences and lay opinions. (Even in my profession, we expect lay witnesses, like a neighbor who saw an incident, to be absolutely definitive about their opinion at court.) And being authoritative, if only about one’s opinion, correlates with better structure and logic to writing and a strong ending.

        So deliberately be definitive about your opinion and experiences, and don’t avoid it in order to agree with everyone, Deb. Readers want to hear a writer’s original opinion. If people learn something, good. People can definitely learn from bloggers who are not “experts.” Readers frequently tell me that they learn from my blog. And if people strongly disagree with your opinion, that’s actually good–you’ll get more interesting comments, which means you stimulated their minds.

        🙂 Marion

        • @Kanga_Rue
          March 11, 2013

          Deb, I enjoy reading your blogs and hearing your voice come through. This is your journey and nobody else can prescribe how you illustrate it.

          • Katy Potaty
            March 11, 2013

            I absolutely second Kanga_Rue’s thoughts that this is your journey, and your space to share, however you feel most comfortable.

            I love reading your opinion pieces, and just as much love reading your posts which are more like thought processes. You write exactly the way that you converse, and it’s fabulous. As this is *your* space, *your* blog and *your* style of writing/sharing, I would never consider providing you with any criticism on your writing style, that’s insanity. (I will however, bite your head off and then give you a conciliatory bottle of wine if I spot typos.)

            Keep writing, keep sharing, and keep moving forward. You’re doing a fantastic job.

  • Satu
    February 22, 2013

    I had never heard of ovaries that clank ! You learn something new every day.. 🙂

    At the moment, I’m “just” a blogger (I have published some research papers in the past but that is different kind of writing). What I would like to do is write fairy tales for my little nieces, which is what I used to do for my little sister and her friend when I was in my teens. But I’m not sure if I even know how to write fiction anymore. It’s been such a long time.

    And thanks for recommending the Penn blog.

  • Neen
    February 23, 2013

    Deb I love your writing. I’d love to read some of your ‘creative’ stuff. Every now and again I see some other bloggers post a little made up story or something random. Maybe you could do that now and again? Just to be different. And even just to get you in that thinking space.

    Don’t even edit it, just put it up – your followers aren’t going to be harsh with you!

    Do you follow the Elphantine blog. She does a Fiction Friday and it’s a nice change of pace.

    Good luck.

    • Debbish
      February 25, 2013

      Oh… I guess I’d like to do something like that but it’s a bit scary. It’s a good idea though. I’ll have to start thinking of something to write about!

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