In the Internet age, everybody can claim to be a “published writer”. Now, everybody can write and be a “writer”. Even some distinguished writers have “blogs” or are writing online to sustain their creative juices. All newspapers and magazines, from Time to Abante (a tabloid in the Philippines) have their online version of their respective papers.I read blogs and particularly enjoy some blogs created by friends and some unknown persons. I tried to blog also but I can’t write regularly.
I wrote. Once upon a time, I was a writer. Not in blogs, not in online magazines, but in real papers. Yes the one where you can wrap dried fish on it. Unlike in blogs where all your scribbles are published, writers, experience rejections along with rejection slips.
A writer cannot make money. I know some writers, popular ones in the Philippines who still commute because writing is not a rewarding one, if that is your only job! Even if you are a ghost writer you could not make money. Many writers I knew were just part-time writers and full-time workers.
A writer can also make money. After rejections and tremendous heartaches yet they still sit and type words in their ancient typewriters (they could not afford a laptop) they would be able to get a jackpot. Just read the story of JK Rowling and you would be inspired to write. But that is what you called “phenomenal”. Not always happening.
A writer smokes so much and drinks gallons of coffee (and just plain drunk). Edgar Allan Poe was rumored to be an alcoholic. It is the stereo-type characteristic of a writer. It is because they are beating deadlines (for the newswriter) or they want to be awake for the continuous flow of creative juices. I don’t smoke… anymore. I drink coffee of course. But not when I write.
A writer must inform and become agent of change. A writer is a catalyst of change. Just read the works of F. Sionil Jose and Salman Rushdie who is still “wanted” in the Muslim world for his Satanic Verses.
A writer must be published not just once or twice! Okay, to be a writer, one must have a publication. Not once, not twice but with succession to respected papers or magazines, has been critiqued by known critics or has been read widely or has received a fellowship from a university or organization.
But these seem to be the writers of the era before the Internet age. We can all be writers now. That is the beauty of this age. We need not the approval of envious and even devious editors or publishers. We can make money depending on your social networking. We can write anything we want with even outrageous titles and even outrageous pictures with our outrageous writing styles. Yes, this is really the age of “freedom of expression” in the wide world of web.