I have seen this question argued, debated and fought about for many years. It’s actually kind of ridiculous and somewhat amusing to see. You see a group of intelligent and creative people reduced to three year olds screaming “My dad can beat up your dad!”. Stupid but true.
I figured I’d take a stance on this world shattering *snicker* issue once and for all.
Lets begin by clearing something up. For all that is twinkie-worthy STOP using blogger as an insult. I can’t count the number of “blogs” out there that are considered professional news sources even by mainstream media. I know that when you talk about blogging in a derogatory manner that you are referring to the journal or diary-like blogs out there. You DO realize that “The Diary of Anne Frank” was a bestseller don’t you? Blogger should never be used as an insult, it’s just a word to describe where someone writes their content. Now that that is clear, we’ll move on.
The argument often seems to circle around “real writers”, “wordsmiths”, “writers”, “professionals” and any number of other descriptions. People rant and rail against each other for hours on end, attempting to “clarify” and “educate”. Once the smoke settles, nobody knows what any of these words mean anymore. If you write, you are writing, and you can call yourself a writer. To write is a verb, anyone who is capable of scribbling a word or two is a writer. Have all of you FORGOTTEN basic definitions and word usage? Amidst your squabbling, you have lost sight of what the hell you are actually trying to talking about.
I watch without participating most of the time. As a wise man once said “A fool talks, whilst a wise man listens.”. I have seen the issue behind your debates and supposed civilized discussions. It always seems to come down to whether or not someone should write for themselves, or for the reader. It really depends upon why you are writing, and where your writings will be seen. If you are writing for an encyclopedia or other source of factual information, then you are obligated to write only for the reader and attempt to remove your personal bias as much as possible. Most other places and outlets leave it to your personal discretion. You need to decide what kind of writing appeals to you and stick to it. You should also realize that when personal choice and discretion are an option, then the choice is not only yours. Other writers may make a very different choice than you.
So if we have a choice, then which way is better? Well, you will hear many people talk about how professional writers only write what readers want (or at least what they THINK readers want). You’ll also see many people who say that only personal stuff is better. So you must decide for YOURSELF what to write. You can’t even choose based on how much money you can make, so that’s out. I know you might think I’m crazy for saying that you can’t use money to choose how or what to write, but it’s true. Think about it for a minute, how much money does a news article generate? Now think about how much money George R.R. Martin’s personal project has made. You DO realize that “Game of Thrones” was written with the explicit purpose of breaking the rules don’t you (nicely explains why he’s such a character killing bastard too doesn’t it)? Factual and impersonal or purely because you wanted to? Either one can make enormous sums of money, gain fame and move people. So it all rests on you to make a decision based on what YOU want to do. Scary, but I think you can do it. If you can’t decide for yourself, then find something else to do with your time.