My wife coerced me into watching Julia & Julia last night. It’s not a movie I recommend, but there was a line that got me thinking. One of the characters states that you’re not a writer unless you’re published (implying print publication). As someone who has been published – and blogs regularly – I think that statement it absolute rubbish.
Seeing your work in print no longer guarantees wide distribution. There are plenty of blogs and Websites that get traffic a published author can only dream of. It might be gratifying to see your name in print (at least it will be for your parents), but it is no longer a benchmark of true success for a writer.
American entrepreneur Russell Simmons, co-founder of the hip-hop label Def Jam, once told me that if you want to be something, just be it. If you want to be an artist than create art. If you want to be a lawyer then read law books and start acting like a legal eagle. His point was that advanced education and assigned titles should not be road blocks to achieving our goals. So if you want to be a writer, all you have to do is write. And yes, blogging is writing.
I’ll give the character from Julia & Julia a break; I believe the movie takes place in 2002, and at that point, blogging was not the beast it is today.
That’s my take, now I’d love to hear yours in the comments below. How do you define being a writer?