One of my faithful readers reminded me, ever-so-gently, that I had left a whole category of writers out of yesterday’s column – those who write for the internet without thought of remuneration. It’s particularly embarrassing since I’m doing exactly that with this blog. So let’s back up a bit.
Being a writer and being in the business of writing are two different but equally viable paths. The first can lead you to all sorts of options – writing for neighborhood newsletters, creating resources for charitable organizations, adding touches of wisdom, humor, and insight to social media, and, of course, the whole blogging world. Being in the business of writing takes you down the path to publication in magazines, television, radio shows, and books. The first path repays you in all sorts of intangible ways, while the business path results (or at least you hope it results) in income.
Is one better than the other? No, of course not. But they are different, and they place different requirements on the writer. In many ways, I think blogging or other types of writing for the internet is the harder path because there is so much less feedback. With my published books, I can see, day by day, how many books are selling, and the royalty checks, even if they amount to only a few dollars, are a tangible proof of successful communication.
Blogging is often a one-sided conversation. My own blogging site reports the number of hits my website gets each day, but it does not tell me how many of those go to the blog, which is only a small part of the whole. I often ask questions without receiving a single reply, but that does not necessarily mean no one was listening.
So why do we blog? Well, perhaps you need to look no further than the second question I posed:
2. Why are you writing?
· Because I can’t help it.
· Because I have something to say that no one else has said.
· Because I am trying to sort out my own feelings about a problem or issue.
· Because I want to save other people from making the same mistakes I did.
· Because I have a skill that I want to share.
· Because I love telling stories.
Every one of those reasons is blog-worthy. Only the last three are commercially viable.