Yes. Yes, they are!
People don’t tell high school athletes that they aren’t real athletes unless they’re playing at a professional level. But people do this to writers all the time. Unless you’re making money from what you write, you’re not a real writer. People forget that there are different skill levels for every endeavor out there.
Writers want to put all these stipulations on what it means to be a real writer. Someone recently even had the gall to claim that you’re only really writing if you use pen and paper! Seriously! It would be like saying you’re only really playing baseball if you’re wearing Nike cleats. It’s ridiculous!
Here is what makes you a real writer: You are a real live human being who writes. It’s that simple.
Not everyone can tell a story like Stephen King. Not everyone can inspire like Elizabeth Gilbert. But that doesn’t mean that you’re not a writer because you don’t have their skills. They didn’t always have their skills either! It took time and practice and never giving up even when people told them that they couldn’t make it.
And get this, bloggers are real writers too. If they want to be anyway. I’m sure that there are some bloggers out there who don’t think of themselves as writers. They blog because they want to showcase their photography, art, crafts, or other endeavors. They may not even like writing, even though they have to use some writing skills on their blog.
But most bloggers blog because they love to write! And they want to share what they’re writing with others. (Ok, I know a lot of bloggers just want to make money, but I’m not talking about them.)
You need more than just writing skills to be a blogger though. I almost hesitate to say that because I don’t want to diminish the importance of writing skills to blogging.
In blogging, your writing doesn’t have to be perfect because blogging is informal. You have a lot more freedom to write the way that you would talk. In fact, it’s expected. But you still need to be able to write coherent sentences, use good grammar, and punctuation. Being able to tell the difference between “your” and “you’re” or “their,” “there,” and “they’re” is also pretty awesome.
But blogging also requires some other very important skills, like computer skills. You’ll need to be familiar with blogging platforms like WordPress or Blogger. And knowing some basic HTML is a must because a big part of blogging is linking to other blog posts and adding images to your own posts.
Speaking of images, you need to know some basic image editing skills, because visuals are a huge part of having a readable blog.
You also need good social media skills. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook are how bloggers promote their blogs and build a readership, so you’ll need to be able to use these effectively.
Blogging also requires networking and promotional skills. You need to learn about SEO and how to use Pinterest effectively so that people can find your blog. You need to be willing to develop relationships with other bloggers by reading their posts, commenting thoughtfully on those posts, and sharing their content.
See, there’s a lot to blogging! It requires a lot of time and effort and skills. It’s not just writing a post and hitting publish. It’s hard work. And those writer’s who have blogs deserve some recognition for that.
What about you? Are you a writer? Do you have a blog? Do you get tired of the stipulations put on what it means to be a real writer? Let me know in the comments!