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Thursday, April 09, 2009

 

When did I become such a mercenary?

I'm a writer. I'm a blogger. Yep. We established that a few posts back. But here's my dilemma.... Am I a writer because I get paid to write? Or because writing is my creative outlet? Or both? Or neither?
If I write an article for a magazine or newspaper and I am paid that feeds the belief that I am a writer. If I blog and I'm not paid--in the same manner as a print article--does that feed the same belief that I'm a writer/blogger?
The reason I ask is that frequently, as a writer, I've been asked by friends about their becoming a writer. I recommend a few books, wish them luck and, if they find their skin is thick enough, we enjoy future discussions about this editor or that one. It's part of the networking of writers. But go to a writers' conference and, friendly and fun as it may be, we're all in line to pitch the same editor, competing with one another. Just as my mentoring writer friends did with me, when my friends want to understand how the business works and I'm happy to encourage them, suggest some books and then let them go find their way.
Blogging seems to work in the reverse. At blogging conferences, it seems, there is a joi d'vivre and everyone is happy to see and meet everyone else. There isn't the same competition. My blog is mine, yours is yours. We reach different audiences and I don't have to convince an editor to buy my ideas or words.
More and more I'm being approached to talk to friends and acquaintances who want to start their own blog. But blogging has a technical and business element that is missing from writing for magazines. The talks are more in depth, balancing technology, terminology and the business of writing. Is it wrong to want to monetize these talks? Do you have this dilemma? I hope this analogy works, but could it be the difference between the casual cocktail party conversation talking about your health with a doctor and making an appointment to actually talk to a doctor?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a creativity coach and the moderator/main blogger for CoastalCarolinaMoms. She is also a freelance writer and can hardly wait to stop thinking money and starting thinking creativity...or at least gardening. Check it out at TheWriteElizabeth. In between answering comments, she'll be playing in the dirt...flower and vegetable seeds at the ready.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Kimberly Zook said...

Great post Elizabeth! Your description of writing and blogging conferences made me realize how I feel more relaxed even when it comes to blogging than writing some times. I blog every day (or try to) as my way of making a journal entry. I am inspired to write for my readers to see if I can make myself and others think outside the box for that day. When it comes to writing my manuscripts, however, I feel different. I enjoy it just the same, but I enter into the writing with a hope that I want to see my work published one day for a much wider audience than my blog reaches. Conferences seem to carry similar feelings for me. I don't see any harm in monetizing the talks, because for me it still won't change how I approach blogging. But that may differ for each person. I like you ideas and analogy!

2:51 AM  

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