This is what someone asked me today. (This person was none other than @rmitty, the cutest NYC’er you’ll ever meet).
I wasn’t immediately sure. I wondered if there was an obvious difference between the two. My natural brain reaction was to float towards the ‘I am a writer’ mentality; if anything it conjures up romantic images of the usual late-night coffee shops, retro typewriters, smudged loveletters and let’s not forget, Carrie-f*cking-Bradshaw. Blogging conjures up images of inappropriate .gifs, memes, article syndication, images of clothes and objects, and of course, followers. Writing is all of this stripped away; simply speaking it is words that are put down on paper/virtual paper and then left to be discovered by readers. Like a notebook left on a train. You are always welcome to read it.
It’s for this reason that I want to think I am a writer. This blog started only because I needed to archive my thoughts, to make sense of them, and to understand and develop my own style of writing. Blogs are often made with an intention in mind, an intention to spread, to share, to gain a following or indeed market something: an idea, a product, a person. To make something known and get something back in return.
Of course, as we know, writers are renowned for not earning much money which of course adds to the romanticised notion of a struggling poet unable to pay their rent which makes it all that tiny bit more ironically glamourous and twisted. Blogs on the other hand are starting to become synonymous with money-making schemes, with paid advertising, brand value and offerings of freelance consultancy.
This to me marks the difference – we would never have seen an advert on the side of Shakespeare’s manuscripts, or a plea from Syvlia Plath to ‘comment on my Facebook page’ following her pained poems. In fact, I’m sure they wouldn’t have cared less about the online discussion surrounding their work. They wrote because they loved to write. Not with the intention of capitalizing on their audience. For all they knew, there was no audience. When you’re writing a memoir, opinion or the fiction instead your head, you are alone with your thoughts. What’s interesting, is that these are the pieces of literature that are most universal and long lasting. Blogs are short-lived. In 100 years, will that blog with an impressive following really make history with its images of ‘the best 50 cocktails you’ll find in Shoreditch?’ Blogs are timely. They are the here and now. They are perpetually updating in the desperate attempt to remain relevant.
On this note, I would like to have answered that question with conviction that I am a writer. I enjoy updating this blog with things that I hope people will find interesting, but what I hope for more than anything else, is not discover mechanics to keep myself modern, but for the things I post to hold value in some way and as a result have an extended lifespan. To hold meaning without too much context or era-dependency. This might mean coming off this blog and one day writing a book. Then hopefully another one. And another one.