We all have social feeds and we post content on them regularly, this does not mean we are writers yet it could be a sign. Also I have been in contact with a number of Award winning writers who hardly make posts on their social feed.
It is not uncommon for people to applaud you for writing an insightful post on your social feed, this is good and should not be discouraged. The next thing that usually follows is that some people ask you to open a blog so you can become a “writer”, while some others attack you directly or indirectly (subs), insinuating that you cannot become a writer just by posting on social media.
Here are 5 reasons why owning a blog does not make you a writer:
1. Most writers in Nigeria of the early 60s and 80s are old and some are dead, yet they do not own a blog. Recently Chinua Achebe has been under heavy criticism over his masterpiece “Things Fall Apart” yet he never owned a blog.
2. Very few renown writing awards base their judgement on blog posts. In this year I have increased my submissions to writing contests significantly, it has helped me to learn the art of patiently crafting a story plot. Most of the significant feedback I got this year on my work was from actual drafts of poems, essays or stories I had submitted for award considerations.
3. A blog could be owned by anybody but the content is the Job of a writer. There are website owners that are basically Tech-oriented, Fashion Designers, Music Artistes and they cannot create the kind of content they need on their site. A writer helps them to curate and create the right content for their blogs.
4. Blogs are like diaries, written in full as weB-Log. A blog allows the user to make entries on an electronic platform that is available to a wide range of audiences, anyone could make any kind of entry. Ranging from scientific procedures, to research, photography and so on and so fourth. You don’t need to be a writer to own a blog!
5. A blog does not have to be monetised, a blog could just be for fun, many bloggers started out just keeping logs of random ideas and this sometimes evolves into monetised platforms. A writer who has no plan to be read is not really a writer, maybe the person is just in need of a private space where they can express their thoughts without restraint. Just like how a number of us bought diaries because we needed to vent, a blog could be used just for venting bottled up emotions.
If you go through the list again, you would find that blogs and websites could be owned for many reasons; some for fun or tickle of the owner, some people just want to cash in from using these platforms, others just want to keep track of events.
A writer understands that there is a NEED, AUDIENCE and is dedicated to reaching them through platforms. For example, I write a biography of a man who left a legacy that has remained in mystery or shadows for long. I understand that there is a selection of humans who would be direct beneficiaries of this path I have chosen and I dedicate my time to building the requisite skills to use the available platforms appropriately.
Its one thing to learn how to write well for effective communication, it is another thing entirely to know how to Present this output consistently on the appropriate platforms.
A blog is a Platform just like Printing Press, Physical Halls/Concerts, Social Media handles. You do not gain more credit by moving from Facebook writing to blogging, you are only reaching your audience through another platform maybe because it offers some advantages that you cannot get on the other platform.
My brother asked me yesterday that what makes one a writer, I had to think for a long time because I have written quite a few posts on that. I think every serious writer should answer this question regularly so we don’t get carried away with unrealistic expectations from the public, getting a blog may be more of a burden than an advantage.
Damilola Jonathan O.