I’m not a blogger

May 12, 2015

618199950_2e359efc73_oI’m really not a blogger, not really. Well, I am. Sort of.

Let me explain.

I’m a writer with a blog. I’m someone who uses her blog as her medium. One of her media.

Having a blog means I can write whatever I want whenever I want, without someone having to approve it. Except me.  For a writer, it’s super-liberating.

I don’t blog to make money, although once in a while I’ll make some.  Instead, I blog mostly for personal expression.

I’ve always written for personal expression because I’m a first-person essayist. The old saw, “write what you know,” describes where I’m most comfortable. Fiction is way hard for me because I don’t like to make up stories. Maybe I don’t have enough imagination, I don’t know. But first person writing is what I know and love.

The first machine I ever wrote with looked something like this.

The first machine I ever wrote with looked something like this.

That’s not to say that I didn’t have a long career in corporate communications that involved writing for marketing, ghost-writing op eds and writing news releases. I did all that for many years and then I managed others who did that. When it was time to give that up, I did so gladly and don’t miss it a bit. I was also a freelance magazine writer and editor back in the day. So I’ve made a living at writing.

Still, even while I had a career, I wrote opinion and published it. My own opinion. Newspapers used to pay for op-eds and I placed a few. The same with public radio.

But in the blogging world, opinions can be sticky wickets.  Some people are uncomfortable with them.  I belong to a few blog support groups with women who won’t support blog posts that aren’t “positive.”  Of course, opinions aren’t always positive, as in my post here about the Oscars, in which I discuss how dignity flew out the window, snark about an actress’ strange dress and mention a celebrity’s possible eating disorder. And which a blogger said she couldn’t retweet because it wasn’t “positive.” Although if she’d read all the way through she’d have seen positives about Gaga’s performance, the Glory segment and the revival of women’s rights.

Yes, opinions are not always welcomed in the blogosphere. And that’s okay with me, because I’m really not a blogger in the sense that so many others are. Although I read and support those who make a living at blogging, that’s not why I’m here. And I’m not here to sprinkle fairy dust, either. No, I’m here for another reason.

I welcome your opinion here because I like to know what you think.

I welcome your opinion here because I like to know what you think.

So here’s what I think:

Great discussions start around opinions. Real opinions. And I like that my blog and sometimes my Facebook page are places where real discussion takes place. Not too long ago a couple of friends had very long and involved discourse on my Facebook page about this post.     Although I didn’t share much of my own opinion in that post, I asked for readers to weigh in and I loved that the two opposing views went back and forth for quite some time. It was a passionate, yet respectful, discussion and I loved that my post was the catalyst.

My opinions are not always positive. The other day I laid out the case for why I didn’t watch video blogs or vlogs, even though some bloggers I follow do them. I think maybe one or two might have taken offense. But if they’d read the comments, they’d see readers either explaining why they agreed OR why they disagreed. It was a great dialogue that could help them hone their own vlog skills and it began with a provocative opinion.

pros_consNegative is not always negative. It could just be an opinion “con” instead of “pro.”  It’s not always harmful, either, as my readers prove so many times in the Comments.  They aren’t meant to harm any individual but to take a position. And negative can be helpful, as in the comments made on the vlog post.  We are, after all, not sitting complacently in the movie Pleasantville. Our world has many colors and shades of colors.

Blogs as personal expression instead of commercial enterprises must have a certain degree of authenticity to their voice.  I try my best to do that without hurting anyone.  I hope I mostly succeed.  From some of the reader feedback I get, I think I do.

In the opening credits of the Dr. Phil show he says, “this is a safe place to talk about hard things.”  I don’t believe that of his show for a minute. But here on this blog, I aim to create a safe place for respectful discussions regardless of your opinion. Or mine.

Thank you for being part of that respectful discussion and even disagreement. If you’re new, I hope you’ll participate here with that in mind. Lay it all out in the Comments. I want to know.

53 comments on “I’m not a blogger
  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    I am with you. I don’t like being categorized as a blogger sometimes. I am a writer.

  2. Great reminder about how we can agree to disagree — and do it civilly. Thanks, Carol.

  3. pia says:

    When I began blogging I found it incredibly liberating. I called it “balancing on a high wire without a net,” because you could take chances and I so loved my unedited words in print. So did others actually.
    Then people came and started issuing rules. I didn’t listen consciously. My non-linear style was horrible. My political opinions were worse–didn’t care about that but they would personalize. I’m pretty thick skinned but the things people said were beyond insulting. I wrote for a political blog who loved it each time I was dissed
    “Well when you write for money and are reviewed you expect criticism.’
    “Yes I do. of my work. not of me personally. Birds of different feathers.”
    They didn’t understand that and I began to understand that the blogging world in general doesn’t see shades or understand what a writer does.
    i did politics between between 2004-2008. Because we needed a new party in office and if I could help in some very small way….But I was so burnt by the end.
    When people begin blogs with the express purpose of saying that you want to kill small kids. Well you can take it the first five times.
    I am one of the most issue oriented people you will ever meet but you wouldn’t know it from my writing now and yes that is sad. Obviously my writing made an impact or so many people wouldn’t have copied my posts, changed a few words and made me sound horrible. But I had the original….Idiots, they never even thought of that.
    Sorry for such a lengthy comment but there weren’t organized groups to back me. Friends and other friends who would say “it’s so much easier to be positive.” I would say “and you sought out my friendship–why?”
    I was positive. I like being unknown now. I don’t wake up to 50 comments telling me I should be in a mental hospital or dead or….
    People hate anything that isn’t spelled out and oh so happy. they will deny it but….

    • I think people who want writers to sprinkle fairy dust should read only those blogs. I really do like engaging smart people who want to talk about things. It’s such a colorful world, why use only a few of the crayons available? I trust that most readers know my intention. If there are some dropoffs along the way, well, ok then, reader choice. We all have choice. I’ll never make everyone happy. No one can.

  4. Sandy says:

    Great post….agree with you! I also will add that for me there is something about pen and paper…writing things down the old fashioned way. 😉

  5. T.O. Weller says:

    Some people who blog would say they’re writers. Some writers who blog say they are not bloggers. As the medium develops, it could go either way — it depends on where we want to take it.
    I hope blogging ends up in the hands of writers. It would be a shame if its original spirit of self-expression got diminished and even buried.
    It has happened before. Subversive pamphlets and leaflets distributed by independent writers in the 17th and 18th century were soon overshadowed by the first gatekeepers of publishing.
    Perhaps it’s simply in the doing.
    (I didn’t know “bloggers” were expected to be positive. Interesting. Who decided that?)

  6. Writing, no matter what type of writing has always been cathartic for me. I need it as much as breathing.

  7. I’m with you Carol. I love a good discussion with opinions that are varied. I have never been offended by someone who thinks differently than I do, and in fact welcome the opportunity to debate. Keep stirring the pot!

  8. Suzi T says:

    Write what you like. It’s your blog. People can choose not to read or you can choose not to reply.

  9. Diana Villa says:

    Great post! That is why I love blogging because I can express myself 😀

  10. I tend to agree with you on most things because it’s basically common sense. I also don’t watch the vlogs because I soak up more by reading than watching. I’d much rather read a newspaper than watch the news I just learn better that way. That being said I think that is the best part of your writing, being able to discuss different view parts. Nobody can ever accuse you of sugar coating things. You are one of the most authentic voices in the blogosphere. You always tell it like it is whether we want to hear it or not. That’s always a good thing in my book.

  11. Diane says:

    I have to say that I love the way you present ‘issues’. Always in an honest light. I’ve never even considered being offended. But you have made me think (a painful proposition!) and that’s always good. Thank you, Carol for your insights and your courage in presenting them.

  12. Janie Emaus says:

    Me, too. I am a writer first. And I always say – write what you want to write! You can’t please everyone.

  13. Richard says:

    I agree. You should never be afraid to say what you think. I certainly don’t and am maybe a little too outspoken sometimes.

  14. Jennifer says:

    You can’t see me, but I’m standing applauding this post! I once had another blogger say she doesn’t express opinions on her blog. I thought, why not? I love the give and take of ideas on my blog.

  15. My first reaction to this post was a feeling of discomfort. Not because I disagree with you, but because it made me pause and consider the title of Blogger.
    I have not really been aware of the rules you mention. My philosophy is “everyone is entitled to an opinion” and I guess it surprises me to think that blogging has gained a reputation where that is not so. But then again, I know that sometimes I have been hesitant to tell people that I write a blog, because I am not sure what their reaction will be.
    Blogging is hard work, no matter what the motive or the subject. Blogs provide a lot of useful information (and unfortunately, also sometimes misinformation).
    While it is true that a blog is a medium, I’d like to think that the medium on which we write will gain enough respect that even writers would feel good about the title, Blogger.
    Keep on offering us your opinions Carol. I like different blogs for different reasons – and I like yours because it always makes me think!

    • Susan, thank you. You know, it’s not a “rule” of blogging but instead, a “rule” that some bloggers have in support groups. I was surprised, too.

  16. kathykate says:

    At a conference, someone asked me if I were a writer or a blogger? Somehow blogger has negative connotation in writing world, and yet, if we’re putting down words and soliciting responses, we’re all writing. Love this post; thanks for the think.

  17. Pat says:

    Well said, Cassandra. That is exactly why I read your blog…it is the real deal.

  18. I don’t like being categorized for anything in life, let alone whether I’m a writer or a blogger.

    Maybe we’re Bliters? Wriggers? No, eh?

    Well, anyway, I’m with y0u Carol. I don’t like being pigeonholed. I think of myself as both, but always a writer first.

  19. Ruth Curran says:

    I love that you shake it up — it helps fill in that perspective and challenges me to think in different ways. As the self appointed Chief Fairy Dust Spreader, I try to help shift thinking and change a mind-set. Empowerment comes from so many places and I believe it starts with genuine attention to all that is buzzing around us and picking out those thing serve us best. What serves me best today anyway is to focus, like a laser beam, on how add color and beauty to my world and spread that brand of fairy dust throughout the land :)!

    I think we go beyond the distinction between blogger and writer to being a story teller. My questions are always, what’s the story here, how does it all fit, and what can I do make it make the most of it?

    As always, thanks for the food for thought!

    • Ruth Curran says:

      It might serve me well to proof before I hit post. Should have been “…picking out those things that serve us best.” Please excuse the slip up!

  20. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I prefer to think of myself the same way, Carol: a writer who has a blog. I don’t think we can always be positive because that isn’t authentic. I like reading your posts, no matter what the topic and no matter if I agree or not, because they are always well written.

  21. u ROCK! thats my opinion!

  22. Britney says:

    This is really great information! Thanks so much for sharing this post!

  23. Liz Mays says:

    It’s refreshing when I see people giving their honest opinions on their blogs. Discussion is so important.

  24. Kathy Hadley says:

    Hi Carol,

    Great post. 🙂 I think what I see most often in blogs IS opinions. 😉

    And the most popular blogs are quite controversial. 🙂

    I think there is no right or wrong way to blog, after all, it started out as a personal thing.

    As for discussions, I love great discussions where people can intelligently state opposite points of view in a cordial, open and non-upsetting way. 🙂

    I learned how to do this in debate and also in my very large family.

    However, I quickly learned that “out in the real world” most people actually do not have this talent.

    When logic, intelligence, facts and standard debating procedures are not known by most, then the discussions quickly revert to name calling and derogatory statements of others that have nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

    Oh, how I love a riveting discussion that stays intelligent and logical.

    It can serve to either strengthen your own opinion or open you up to new and different ways of looking at things.

    Both are things I very much enjoy.

    A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original shape.


    Thank you for this post.


    • I love your point of view, Kathy. Thanks for sharing it with us. I think you are right about people not having that talent in the real world. I am so lucky that I have never had a flame on my site–people are really respectful of each other.

  25. Mina Joshi says:

    As some people have said above – it’s your blog so you should have the freedom to express your views.

  26. Lisa Froman says:

    What I love about you ( and your blog) is the authentic expression of your opinions and interests. I can tell you have strong opinions but that you are genuinely interested in starting a discussion or hearing other people’s genuine thoughts as well. I like it and sometimes I wish I were gutsier. I guess it depends what I’m writing about. The great thing about all of us writers or bloggers is that we have different voices, interests and motivations so we can mix it up and write and read all sorts of interesting, creative, inspiring, poignant, funny or enlightening work out there in the blogosphere.

    • Thank you, Lisa. You know, it’s almost a spiritual practice–when I find myself wanting to defend my position to a commenter I stop myself, and take in what they are saying. It really has helped me grow.

  27. Jeanine says:

    Yes! I haven’t ever looked at it this way but so true! Bloggers. Writers. Be who we want to be!

  28. Whether I am blogging or writing my book, I am a writer. On my blog, I don’t bother too much about “rules for writers”. Funnily enough, though, I am more concerned about audiences when I post to my blog. I am more carefree when I am writing my novel.

  29. I agree with you entirely. Like you, I blog as a personal expression. The difference is that I use news items to trigger a discussion. I used to love watching a television program made in a similar vein where the women would relate the topic to their life.

  30. Bonnie Gean says:

    Hi Carol,

    I love bloggers (or writers if you prefer) who don’t have a problem sharing their opinion. Regardless whether or not it’s negative, it’s acceptable to me.

    We argue (debate) in real life, so I see no need to disengage online because somebody doesn’t agree with how you feel. It’s counterproductive to delete negative comments. You have to weigh both sides of the coin to have a well-rounded discussion.

    Thank you for sharing my beliefs! 🙂

    Have a great week, too!

    – Bonnie

  31. Alun M says:

    It’s a good question isn’t it? I definitely put myself down as a writer. I’ve been writing fiction since I was a youngster, have reams and reams of stuff that I will never work up for publishing and reams and reams of electronic documents some of which have been and some which I hope will be. Am I a blogger? I don’t think I am, either.

    I love your opening few lines. I am attracted to a dry style. As soon as I read the first statement, I knew I was going to read the rest of the post and would feel obliged to comment.

    I like what you say about living “our best lives” too. Whatever life throws at you, staying positive and looking at what you can still achieve is really important. I read a lot of stuff that I think is more likely to drag people down. I understand that. Blogging is, after all, personal and allows everyone to express themselves as they wish. The better ones give as well as take; Like friendship and all good relationships.

    I always think – you can be controversial, you can have a rant but try and do it with humour. You made me smile so thanks. Another good moment in my day.

  32. Crystal says:

    I fully agree with you.
    I write about everything and anything.
    It’s my opinion.
    Others can comment there’s but they can’t change mine.

    I’m new to all of this and the reason why I started was because I saw a lack of honesty out there and I wanted to write the honesty of life regardless of how scary or ugly it may be.

    Of corse there are many good things about life and I write about that too but I’m not going to steer away from the truth.

  33. Crystal says:

    Honesty is the best policy

  34. K. Lee Banks says:

    Thought-provoking post! I especially agree with your comments about blogging for personal expression and not having to write to please anyone else. No client-dictated topics or keywords. Yes, indeed, very liberating! 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  35. I found your writing and insights very profound. Even blogging is a creative release for us and I can’t think of a better exercise for a writer! Thank you for sharing.

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