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Blog TipsInspirationWriting Tips

Finding Your Writing Path: Are You a Writer or Blogger?

By Apr 15, 2012 July 7th, 2014 63 Comments

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Like the eternal mystery of the chicken and the egg, it’s hard to say which comes first: the blogging or the writing. Some professional writers start a blog to promote their work; others begin writing when they launch a blog.

writing path

The Writing Path

Until recently, the path to commercial success as a writer was fairly linear. You wrote a manuscript, sent a query to an agent (or many agents,) submitted it to a publishing house, and voila! A book is born.

But in recent years, a number of bloggers have levered popular blogs into successful book launches – transforming that linear path into an everlasting loop. Confessions of a Scary Mommy is the latest blogging sensation to rock the publishing world, but the road was paved by Dooce’s Heather B. Armstrong and The Pioneer Woman’s Ree Drummond, among others.

For these women, it was the success of their mommy blogs that opened up publishing doors.

Freelance Writing

Less well known are the many writers whose blog platform supports and promotes a career in freelance journalism. These accomplished freelance writers are developing job opportunities via their blogs:

And then there are those freelance journalists – also book authors – whose brand casts a wider net:

  • Kelby Carr – Former biz-cops-political-investigative newspaper journalist turned hardcore mommy blogger, current CEO of Type-A Parent and Type-A Parent Conference. Blog: www.TypeAParent.com, Recent Book: Pinterest For Dummies.
  • Christina Katz – Author, Teacher, Speaker.  a/k/a Writer Mama. Blog: www.ChristinaKatz.com.  Recent Book: The Writer’s Workout, 366 Tips, Tasks & Techniques From Your Writing Career Coach.

Each of these writers navigates a complicated world where blogging and writing go hand-in-hand, stoking a fire that comes from community, dedication, creativity, and perseverance.

These women are finding that in today’s world, blogging and writing are inseparable.

Blogger or Writer: The Real Question

The question to ask yourself, then, is not whether you are a blogger or a writer. The real question is: What kind of blogger and writer do you want to be?

Looking ahead, I’ll be leading a discussion on how to find a website niche in The SITS Girls Discussion Forum. We’ll take it step by step, as I show you how to leverage a niche platform into a freelance writing career. I’ll share how I came to earn a respectable income as a freelance writer and we’ll brainstorm ways for you to do the same.

About the Author:
Albany KidTravel writer, Photographer.  Inspiring lifelong learners on Albany Kid Family Travel and Being Latino Online Magazine.  Sandra Foyt: Freelance Writing Portfolio, on Twitter @SandraFoyt, and Albany Kid on Facebook.

Discuss: Are you a blogger and a writer? What is your background as a blogger, writer, or author?

63 Comments

  • Jaida says:

    I have a degree in communication (focus in journalism) and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do so I would LOVE to be able to get work freelance and be able to blog so I won’t be constricted to one topic!

  • […] couple of weeks ago, I introduced a writing path discussion series on The SITs Girls forum for bloggers who have mastered blogging basics and who […]

  • […] Freelance Writing My writing path began with the first word that I jotted down in a shiny new Five Year Diary, the treasured […]

  • Petula says:

    Great post and a sort of touchy subject for me. LOL… I’ve been a writer for 16 years. Started in newspaper, gained “success” in magazine and was freelancing the entire time. Enter marriage and babies and very part-time freelancing … then economic downfalls, editor changes with “maternity leave” and I was left with blogging. Not that it’s a bad thing ’cause I love, love, love it. I just wish I was making the amount of money I was making before and I’m having a hard time balancing everything I wanna do (finish my children’s book series, find an agent, work on my other book proposal, care for my three young children along with my pregnant adult daughter and my health issues!)… I feel lost in a sea of successful journalists turned bloggers. (Too dramatic!? LOL)

    Honestly, I really want to have my blog re-designed to be more writer/author/blogger looking and have ads (or something) making money so I have time to work on larger projects. I’m a single parent and this is my only earned income so I need and want more.

    I’m going to try to keep up with your series and hopefully be able to implement your tips and suggestions into a more successful writing career. After 16 years I really feel like my bank account should be a little (a WHOLE lot) fatter than it is now!

    Thanks for this article!

  • Can’t wait to see the forum discussion on this. Will we receive an email about it? I want to make sure I don’t miss it! I wanted to be a journalist but was too tempted by the money in PR. I’ve always wanted to write for the glossies and am kicking myself that I didn’t move to NYC after graduating. But alas…So now I’m struggling to kickstart a freelance writing career for parenting publications. As a start to that, I began my blog. I landed a gig as editor of Milkshake Kids (www.getmilkshake.com/kids). But, I still long to break into the glossies!

  • Sarah says:

    Excited to learn more about growing my blog community into earnings and future writing opportunities. I’ve always loved to write, but am currently a jewelry designer Mom running my own business, while getting back into writing on the side. Just finished a great picture book manuscript for military kids of deployed parents that I want to submit, but where to? That’s the next project. Very happy to find your site.

  • I’ve always enjoyed writing… I guess my goal with my blog wasn’t really to be a ‘writer’ though… I just wanted to share my projects and stories with others. But I guess that’s the point of writing, right?!? 🙂

  • Shannon from 'mynewfavoriteday' says:

    I love this and definitely look forward to future posts. I would say I want to be a writer and yet I get caught in my blog. I just have to keep plugging away but love seeing this post and everyone’s comments!

  • Johanna says:

    Thanks for a great article. It’s interesting how the lines have blurred between mainstream writing and blogging and how they support each other. I’m a rather long in the tooth veteran freelance writer who once vowed she would never write for free! But here I am blogging away happily not only to give myself a freelance writing platform but also because I love the immediate interaction that you can have with your own readers and the great feeling you get when you know you’ve either helped or entertained someone.

  • Laura says:

    So excited to read your story. Biographies, even just snippets of them, can be so inspiring. Thank you for sharing. I will be reading.

  • Great points. I certainly started out writing. And journalling. And I got published a couple of times (nothing big). But after leaving home for university, I needed some creative outlet, and studying medicine meant that I no longer had English classes for that. So blogging happened.

  • This is a great discussion. I started my blog with the hopes of parlaying it into something more, i.e. paid writing work. So far, it hasn’t really panned out that way. Part of the problem has been me trying to figure out exactly what my niche needed to be. Slowly but surely I’m making progress and am hoping to gain some traction soon.

  • Monique says:

    I thought I was a blogger, but lately so many opportunities have presented themselves in freelancing and consulting, that I’m not sure anymore. LOL. Great post.

  • Great post!! I always say I’m just a blogger but when someone tells me they think I’m a great writer, it’s almost shocking to me because I never give myself that credit. I always think I’m not good enough to be considered a “writer.” Anyone can be a blogger, it just takes a lot of work to be a good blogger.

    I would love to work on my writing and find the confidence to think of myself as a writer instead of just a blogger.

  • Thanks, Sandra, for including me in the list of writer-bloggers. Personally, I think of myself first as a freelance writer and second as a blogger. But the lines are definitely blurred at times. I agree with Jill of all Trades that it all counts as writing. I’d like to take a page from Kim @ Coffee Pot Chronicles and use my blog for experimentation and as a place to hone my writing. However, right now, my blog is linked to my writer/instructional design site so I put a lot of pressure on myself to make each blog as well-written as possible.

  • Jennifer says:

    Actually I’m different. I don’t think of myself as a writer or a blogger. I’m a storyteller. All my stories just happen to be personal in nature. My blog is the outlet for those stories.

  • Kimberly says:

    I am just a blogger. have been all these years. I started blogging just to have a journal of our homeschooling and so my mom could see what we were doing 3 states away.

  • krystle says:

    I’m probably just a blogger. I did write for eHow but that probably doesn’t count. Blogging is SO much fun!!

  • Thanks, Sandra. I appreciate your support of my books, classes and blog. 🙂

  • Good stuff and certainly on my mind a lot lately. I’m going to the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop this week and hoping to be inspired.

  • I consider myself a writer. We put our fingers on the keyboard to create posts that draw in readers. That in itself is what writing is. We are all writers in a sense, just some to a greater degree than others. My blog is my platform to create content. It’s where I learn and grow from my own writing. Some days my content is strong and shows I am a good writer. Other days (recently for example) my writing is blah.

    In a past life, I was a professional writer and a journalist. Today, I am a writer turned blogger but will still identify myself as a writer. The term “blogger” still has some degree of a bad stigma outside the blogging world so I’d rather say I am a writer. I’ve enountered a good number of people who think bloggers are just wannabes or silly teenage girls writing about their feelings. We all know it is so much more than that of course. =)

  • IASoupMama says:

    I now say that I am a writer. What else could you call yourself if you’re creating 5-8 posts of original content a week? I struggled with this earlier this spring when I landed my first paying gig — it came with a ton of local publicity and I figured that I’d better decide what to call myself if someone asked me, “Are you a writer?”

    I decided to answer, “I am now.”

  • Tiffany says:

    I’m so looking forward to this series! One of the reasons I started my blog was because I have a passion for writing. I would love to eventually turn it into a freelance writing career, but I have no idea where to start.

  • In the beginning I thought I was a writer who was blogging to build a platform. Later, I realized I was both a writer AND a proud blogger. Blogging allows me to connect in a way that fiction writing does not, and that connection is fulfilling to me in a whole different and important way.

  • Goodness, this post was quite helpful! I have been blogging for a short time, I only started this year. I have wanted to write books for sometime now, fiction mostly, but there are non-fiction genres that I would like to break into. Of course these are just ideas and I have made attempts through the years which are usually met with dissapproval by whatever family has chanced across it.

    However, on my recent post someone commented that I had a wonderful “literary voice.” I have hope again. 🙂

  • Looking forward to the discussion.

  • Roxanne says:

    I’m so new to this whole blogging/writing world. It’s helpful to see the success of others. I’m horrible at the whole niche thing, in blogging, life, dating, everything. But I love to learn in general and found this post quite interesting — and inspirational. Thanks.

  • Jen says:

    This post was awesome! I think that I go back and forth between being a writer and a blogger. I still struggle to find my path I just know that I like writing and blogging.

  • Alexandra says:

    I am a writer who created a blog to have a place to tell my stories.

    I am working toward being a published author.

    This is a series I’m very interested in. Thanks for sharing what you know, and for feeling there’s plenty of work to go around for all.

  • I love LOVE this post. i also love that the blog world can seem so blase one minute, and the next minute there are like a hundred posts you find telling you just what you needed to hear.

    I can’t say that I’ve labeled myself yet re: author vs blogger vs other, but I definitely feel like it is all writing. It’s funny how some of the “blogger” commentators say they don’t have the discipline to be writers when the discipline, skill, and savvy needed to have a “successful” blog is something I am still trying to cultivate! It’s ALL creative, beautiful, and artistic expression turned into well-crafted product. A very difficult thing to do, no matter the label. I can’t wait to hear more about your forum. AND I am eager to explore many of the above commentators blogs-they all sound like such impressive ladies!! I’m having such a Yaay! day blog-world wise (and IRL wise too I guess!) ;p

  • I’m a story teller. Who wants to be a writer. Who is a blogger.

  • This is something I’ve been struggling with lately. I am a writer who blogs. Blogging takes so much time, and that’s time I should be spending writing. But wait, I am writing… But it’s different. I know I’ll never make a living as a blogger, but I hope to as a writer.

    • Blond Duck says:

      I’m with you…I’m a former journalist turned freelancer/ novelist, and it’s so frustrating. I need the blog to promote my writing, but it takes so much time! But at the same time, I love the release of writing…just not the marketing.

  • Erica says:

    I consider myself a blogger who loves to write. I don’t have the discipline to be a writer. I have grandiose dreams of being a published writer though. lol

  • I always say I’m a blogger and a copywriter. As I’ve worked on developing both crafts, I find people just know me as a writer, because that’s what I love to do. It’s an interesting discussion. I love to blog and develop ideas through my blog, buy it’s my writing business (mainly copywriting for websites, newsletters and other marketing communications) that earns me the money to support my blog.

  • This is a great post. I am a freelance consultant who does a whole lot of writing and would love to venture into other areas of freelance writing. My blog gives me an opportunity to practice writing “other stuff” more often than I normally would.

  • I am definitely a blogger that continues to create more content as time goes on. Everything I do needs some sort of manual it seems. Since 1998 I have self published and marketed some self help type books, cookbooks, ebooks, etc. It is important to note that I have never been a sensation of any type, but I am grateful to have been making a good living online for over 13 years doing all these things while being home for my children 100%. 🙂

    • Sandra Foyt says:

      That’s what I’m talking about! You’re a great example of how it’s possible to develop a new writing path that draws from both traditional and newer media.

  • Blond Duck says:

    I’m totally a writer….who is terrible at self-promotion.

  • Great topic! I’ve built my niche blog on foster care adoption and because of my traumatic past, each entry could become a piece of my memoir. When I retire next year is when I plan to really write that manuscript. The theme of my memoir would be overcoming your past which would relate to my blog audience.

    • Sandra Foyt says:

      Excellent! You’re well on your way. Have you published any articles about foster care adoption outside of your blog?

      • Penelope says:

        I’ve published on adoption.com and was recently asked to write for Compassion, but time constraints of working full-time with preschoolers has held me back from writing more. Building a blog takes more time than I really have to devote right now.

  • Great, great post. I was a journalist, PR executive then turned stay-at-home mom. I have the passion for travel writing, and want to move into that area when the kids are both in school. Thank you!

  • Nicole says:

    I’m definitely a writer!! I’m working on my first novel now (finished, but now working on the second draft.) blogging, though, has helped me get into the habit of writing nearly everyday and one day I hope that I’ll be promoting my own book! 🙂

    • Sandra Foyt says:

      That’s awesome, Nicole! We’ll definitely get into discussing author platforms over the course of this series.

      Just out of curiosity, do you see your blogging coming out in your novel – in the voice, content, or anything else? And/or visa-versa?

      • Nicole says:

        Actually I do! I have a consistent voice from my blog that is both sarcastic, humorous, and very observant (I love the details). In my current draft, I notice that my characters are more conversational sounding and my descriptions are more heightened. I swear it’s blogging and the tone that blogging requires did it!

  • AlisonSWLee says:

    I’m definitely just a blogger who loves to write. I don’t think I’ll ever have the discipline or commitment to write an actual book! It is inspirational to see bloggers become authors, though.

    • Sandra Foyt says:

      No doubt about it, writing a book is a HUGE undertaking. But as bloggers we write posts every day, and when you put those posts together, sometimes you have all the material you need to publish a book.

  • Life As Wife says:

    Sandra I love this post (and look forward to your threads in the forum!)

    My “writer or blogger” path is a little different than others. I was a paid journalist first, freelancer second and then a blogger. My professional writing was so constricting at times. I want to write about my life, my family not just business profiles and political essays. This, Life As Wife was born.

    Maybe your series will encourage me to pitch some freelance articles in my blog niche?

    • Sandra Foyt says:

      Most definitely! One of the surprising things I discovered is that there is a demand for freelance articles in any subject, no matter what your niche, and there are many publications looking for content about parenting and family life.

      You make an interesting point about how blogging gives writers the freedom to pursue their own interests. That’s a question we should all ask ourselves: what do we really want to write about?