Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Writing for the Internet and other Insecure Writer Options

I saw this exchange somewhere: I'm a writer. What kind? An Internet writer.

First time I've ever seen that term "Internet writer" but I like it. Sounds so much more professional than "blogger." I'm a writer.  What kind? A blogger. Ohh--kay.

I mean, I regularly post status updates on the Facebook pages I manage. These lead to sales. That makes me an Internet writer. Someone who makes money by writing on the Internet. How cool is that?

I write clever tweets that bring me followers on Twitter. Which may lead to something like sales. So look at that, I'm an Internet writer.

Well, I'm also a novelist. And a blogger. Basically, I'm a social media addict. And an Internet writer. Whoo ah!


Are you a writer? If so, what kind? (Besides being an insecure one haha.) And come on, when people ask what you do, how easy is it to say I'm a writer. For me, it's not easy at all.

Five books published and I still find it impossible to say "I'm a writer" to someone's face, without grimacing. Personally, I think it's because of the money factor.

If I paid my rent and bought food every week with income from my writing it would be a different story. Otherwise, it's like telling people "I'm a gardener" or "I write in my journal" or "I decorate the house." These are all things I do but I don't earn a living at it anymore than I earn a living at writing novels. And saying "I'm a writer" isn't going to change that fact. What might change it is writing and selling more books, which of course is an ongoing process.

Do you say you're a writer when someone asks what you do?

Bonus for those of you who made it to the end of this rambling post: My cookbook Farm Girl Country Cooking: Hearty Meals for the Active Family is free this week on Kindle. Click here to download yours.

35 comments:

  1. Yeah, I struggle. I say I write, but I don't call myself a writer. I'd like someday though, to call myself an author.

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  2. I write, and I travel, and I'm a mother and grandmother, a rubbish cook ... and I'm retired with a pension. Which means I don't need my writing to pay the rent. That's freeing in one sense, but sometimes people assume it's just a 'hobby', a pastime, something to while away the hours until teatime. When in fact it's a passion.

    Like travelling is not the same as going on holiday, by writing is much more then telling occasional stories.

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  3. I actually love calling myself a writer! But I do have a built-in excuse because my day job is PR writing. ;)

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  4. Hi Karen .. no idea what I call myself - a blogger! Then I swamp them with facts .. so I'm outa there!

    Thanks for the free Kindle version of your Healthy Cooking for the Active Family .. I know I'll love looking through the recipes .. cooking for one is slightly different that cooking for how many of you .....???????

    Cheers Hilary

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  5. It's hard for me to say I'm a writer for the reason you mention here. It doesn't feel like a career because I'm not making much money. And so I don't feel successful. And so I feel ashamed. Instead, I say I'm retired and I write. Makes me feel better.

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  6. Yes I tell people that I am a writer...Like the term internet writer, first time I have heard that one :) Thanks for the cookbook download, I am also a cook in a tourist hotel:)

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  7. Only since I left my full time job have I answered people that I'm a writer. It still isn't paying the mortgage but it buys a tank of gas now and then.

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  8. I like the bonus!
    I'm finally able to say I'm an author. Didn't come easy though.

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  9. You are definitely a writer, an author, a publisher, and editor. And that doesn't touch the cookie-maker and MOTHER. You are an inspiration.
    And now also an Internet-writer. Seems a small but relevant addition.
    I didn't call myself a writer until a few years into writing in a disciplined way towards publication. But the invariable reply was, "Where can I read your books?" so it was not a comfortable truth to tell until I had a couple of books contracted.
    I'm still not fully comfortable with the writer/author distinction, and let others refer to me with the A-word.

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  10. I do like the sound of internet writer a little better than blogger. However, I'm hearing blogger used more and more.

    Thanks for your cookbook. I just got it for my iPad.

    Mary Montague Sikes

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  11. I'm a fiction writer. Sometimes I write fiction. Sometimes it's fiction to say I'm writing.

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  12. I'm a blogger, which is fine with me. I love that chart.

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  13. That chart is a crack up! I love it. I try not to say I'm a writer, but my husband tells everyone! So now everyone knows. Sheesh. :)

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  14. This is an awesome post. :) You're an amazing INTERNET writer.

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  15. I'm slowly learning to break through my barriers and actually tell people I'm a writer. I need people to practice my pitch on, lol ;)

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  16. Okay, I really like this post. I have to say your blog is addicting. I read the post before this one, then the one before that, and just wanted to keep going! Thanks so much for dropping by mine and leaving a comment. You are an inspiration and I'm following you now. I do say I'm a writer, and I love your description of an Internet Writer, because I'm that too!

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  17. I love that graphic! I tell people "I write", which obviously is very different to being a "writer", but it's an upgrade from not mentioning it at all!

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  18. Love the graphic. Whenever people ask what I do, I say I'm an owner of a motorcycle repair shop. I don't tag 'and an author' along with that. You're right in that it's the money thing. When they hear 'author' they think I should be making as much as Stephen King or James Patterson. Don't I wish! When local people say, 'I didn't know you were an author' (because they add me on facebook), I say 'Yea, I don't brag about it.' And of course the response is always 'I would be. That's a huge accomplishment.' Which I agree. I guess it's hard for me to put the spotlight on myself.

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  19. I am proud to say I am a writer and say that; for I do write. I have published some of my work, am not too worried about publishing all of it - will pass it all on to my niece and she can have that fun - she wants it. I write short stories, poetry, am published - therefore, I am a published writer - there - I do like the sound of that. I'm outta here too. Later kiddo :)----- gee whiz Karen - I just got an idea for a swell poem :)

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  20. I do tell people I'm a writer. I learned a few years ago to own it. I figured whether I'm published or a bestseller doesn't really change the fact that I write ALL the time. That's what makes me a writer--the fact I write. Blog posts, novels, blurbs, tweets, etc.
    But I totally get what you're saying.

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  21. I love that map, especially the question about love being the only thing that matters. Is it bad that I edited it in my mind so that it would say "love and work" being the only things that matter?
    I don't tell most people that I write, at least not outside of the blogosphere. It's one of the reasons I'm still mostly anonymous on my blog. It's something I've kept from most people, because I didn't always get the nicest reactions when I told a few people that I wanted to be a writer a long time ago.

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  22. First time I've seen the term,*Internet* writer, lol!

    I tell people about my blog frequently--outside of social networks-- and I give them a business card too. There are quite a few from my general area that read it which brings a smile to my face.

    Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

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  23. Hi Karen,
    I think it's fun that you are an internet writer. It's an interesting term for sure. It's my first time visiting your blog. I write children's book, as well as my blog. Hope you stop by sometime. Happy weekend and nice to meet you.

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  24. Telling someone you're a blogger who doesn't blog always results in that deer-caught-in-headlights look. Usually the first thing I tell people is I'm a professional speaker. Writer or author comes second.

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  25. I like to say I'm a writer but immediately afterward I regret it cuz unlike you I have nothing published (okay a few poems). I think I'm going to start saying that I'm an adventurer who visits many foreign lands trying to get into the minds of the locals - or maybe just a writer. Or I could say "look around at my house, notice my ancient car, what do you think I am? An artist, no? Or - I'm a dilettante and I'm pretty damn good at it too. Do you have a fan or a man-servant I could borrow?

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  26. I never say I'm a writer when asked what I do, it just doesn't feel right. Mind you, I've worked in science for ten years now and don't call myself a scientist either, although that's for different reasons ;-)
    When asked about my hobbies I'll happily say that I write, but I haven't yet crossed that threshold from hobby to profession.

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  27. Dear Karen, I been away from posting and blogging for several weeks. Just this week, I posted a convent story and now I'm visiting blogs to catch up on all the interesting people--you among them--whom I follow. During these past weeks, I've pretty well completed the first draft of a Bronze-Age-Greece novel. Book 1 of a proposed trilogy. So I have been writing.

    As to calling myself a writer, like you I sort of grimace at the thought because I don't earn the money that would say "full time writer." I read somewhere that the average amount writers make a year is $5,456 or there abouts. That's the average. I make much, much, much, much, much less than that and James Patterson makes much, much, much, much more!!!

    But if money is not the standard, then I'd say that all of us who work at the craft of writing are writers. It's the work that is the sustenance; the getting published and making money is the frosting on the cake. Or so I think now. Peace.

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  28. For years, whenever I said that I was a mathematician, people always told me that they never liked maths themselves. Getting tired of that, I started saying "I'm a mathematician. What lovely curtains!" to change the subject straight away. Now I think of myself as a mathematician-what-lovely-curtains.

    If someone told me they were an Internet writer, I would perk up and buy them a drink. So you are saying the right thing.

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  29. I never thought of blogging as Internet writing, but you're right.

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  30. I tell people I'm a writer and then wait for the look. Lol. Still is hard to say even being published.

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  31. Oh-my-gosh, Karen, is that a great template to a writer's day on your post. It says "me" all over it. Great! After that, my confession is that I don't really tell anyone I'm a writer either--and I don't have five books to my credit, only some short stories and essays. Bravo to you! You get paid to write on the internet. I wish I could figure that game out. Good luck to you.

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  32. I've stopped telling people I'm a writer. When I do people seem to think I can read their manuscripts, give them feedback, tell them how to write a query letter, how to get an agent, how to self-publish, how to do just about everything.

    "Do some research," I scream. I don't mind helping, but with everything else on my plate I've had to say no to friends and relatives. Not easy.

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    Replies
    1. When you did tell people you were a writer, did you ever have them say, "I've got the most interesting story for you and you should write it. You'll make millions."

      I've heard that one more than a few times. Cracks me up.

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  33. HA! Love that picture. That is so me!!

    I like the term internet writer too!

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  34. I LOVE that graphic. It makes me feel like a normal writer.

    I have also had people tell me I should write their story. Maybe I should *tell* them I will in hopes of reducing the competition. :-D

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