There are writing “experts” who will tell you having a blog doesn’t make you a “real” writer, because there are millions of blogs on the internet, and yours isn’t any different than most others.
There are those who will tell you self-publishing doesn’t count as “really” being published, because anyone can publish anything they want to on the internet.
Even if you write thousands of words a day on your own time, it doesn’t really count if you keep them all to yourself and never publish them. At least, that’s what some will try to tell you.
Don’t listen to them.
Is being published online — in a journal or magazine or someone’s ebook — an amazing, worthwhile experience? Yes. Is it the milestone, for many, that finally allows them to define themselves as a published author? Yes.
But that does not mean you are not a real writer, or that your work does not matter, if you only ever have a blog, or if you never officially or “traditionally” publish anything at all.
All writing counts. Both good writing and bad writing. Published work and forever hidden prose. A blog that gets millions of pageviews a day or a small blog that gets 50 views a month. It counts. If you are writing, and you are learning and growing and you feel fulfilled and you are happy being able to write things, IT COUNTS.
Because there are self-proclaimed aspiring writers out there who do not write. Who have only written one thing, and are convinced they cannot write anything else until that one thing gets published. Who believe success will somehow find them, that they’ll get lucky, despite barely trying to build the foundations necessary for writing success to unfold.
If you’re writing and writing and writing, whether you think it’s good or not, whether you’ve been able to convince yourself to publish it or not, you’re doing something right. You’re making an effort. You’re putting yourself out there. Who cares if every attempt you make is a “success” or not? We all fall short sometimes. Even I still write articles that totally bomb, every single week. IT HAPPENS. We learn from what doesn’t work and we keep moving forward.
The most important thing is that you’re writing. Because, like playing an instrument or doing a yoga pose or baking a cake, you perform better the more you do it. It’s called “refining your craft.” It doesn’t usually feel like you’re making any progress. But trust me, the only way to NOT make progress in writing is to not write anything at all.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you’re working on “doesn’t count” or that it doesn’t make you a “real” writer. If someone claims to know what a “real” writer is, chances are, they aren’t one.
What makes you a writer is that you write, you tell stories, you let your creativity take you on a journey. Maybe others will come along for the ride someday. Maybe they won’t. Either way, it still counts. You’re still doing just fine.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.