On The Subject of “Real” Writing

Real WritingI write words that are seen on the Internet. I write marketing copy, I write articles, I write blog posts and PPC ads and words for landing pages and a lot more. I make my living as a writer, and yet many people who call themselves writers, but don’t make their living at it, see me as some lower form of writer: like a massive sellout who doesn’t have the chops to do anything else.

Well, look, first of all, no sour grapes here. My goal, when I decided I wanted to be a writer was to find a way to make a living at it. And I’ve done that. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, and this whole thing has developed quite organically. Almost as though I couldn’t have stopped it if I wanted to.

And, if I’m honest about it, I’m not great at fiction. It’s not something I’ve dedicated a lot of time to being better at, and some day I will: when my me requires me to do so.

I have a friend who is a scriptwriter who told me someone had asked her a few years back when she was going to have a chance to do some “real writing.” I’ve had the same questions from people lately. This is my answer:

My writing is as real as any form of writing. The words I have written have been read by, quite literally, millions of people. Often, one 900-word article will generate thousands of views. I don’t always have my name as the byline, but I do have the knowledge that I’ve reached a wide audience, and have managed to get them to read right the way through.

Which, if I’m looking at it from the standpoint of whether or not I’m fulfilled in my work (a question unique to the Western world), then, yes, I’m quite fulfilled. Add to that the fact that I’m making a living at it, and I’ve done what I set out to do, plus plus plus.

So, before you ask someone about when they’re going to do some real writing, consider the criteria. Open up your mind just the tiniest bit, and recognize the artistry behind getting someone to make a decision with just seven words. There is a great deal of work that goes into being good at what I do, and I’m very proud of what I’m able to accomplish on a daily basis.

Make no mistake: I’ve written a lot of crap. I try to keep that to myself and not expose the public to it. But I show up, day after day, and I write. And it’s as real as it gets, baby.

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