I’m finding it difficult to wrap my mind around two things that are the opposite — journalist and writer.
How could they be different? To me one is Saturn and the other is Mars, same solar system but completely different planets. Let me explain.
The journalist part of me came of age before social media and blogging. I maybe under 40 and look 28 but I am a bit old school in this fashion. To be a journalist one must be impartial, no opinion either way and your personality had no business in your writing. Just the facts, madam. That was preached and weaved into my journalist DNA.
But on the other hand, I’ve been blogging since 2002 when Blogger.com was new and the Columbia Journalism Review had written an in depth article on the subject in the magazine. (Did they have a website then?) Blogging was cool in my head and I loved writing a blog. I took to it like a duck to water. More than 10 years later, I’m still doing it.
And then there’s this writing thing. I’ve been doing this longer than I’ve been a journalist or a blogger. I always knew I’d be a writer and that I’d dedicate my life to the written word in some form. I knew I’d write books and short stories. I knew that I’d live my life chasing this dream down and I knew that one day I’d be good enough for someone to publish something with my name on it. On the other hand, I also knew that I’d be a reporter even if the day came when I couldn’t do it anymore. That switch doesn’t turn off.
So when it came time to “be a writer”, it was easy to be a blogging writer. This was during the time I like to call the belated quarter life crisis.
But I was still a journalist so I created two personas — Jekyll and Hyde, journalist and writer. The journalist didn’t blog but the writer did. The journalist didn’t give an opinion but the writer did. Journalists are not interviewed but the writer was several times over.
Something happened in those years I was trying to decide who I was and when I was supposed to be the person I was supposed to be. The lines blurred. Journalists not only blogged but started websites — built them, populated them with content, promoted them. Journalists became marketers the way writers had to to promote their books. Now, journalists have to be personable, have personalities, interact on social media, and brand themselves. I was already doing that as a writer.
Essentially, journalists have become writers. Writers are journalists. Everything intertwines with everything else. The journalist/writer combo can exist out in the open as one strange, happy hybrid using social media as an engine. It’s weird. Not sure I like it yet. Maybe I’ve spent too long being a split personality.
This new realization has become more apparent as I moved from WritingtoInsanity.com to this site, which I’m building into my permanent home. (We’ll see.) In making decisions on content, I find myself longing to go back to Writing To Insanity because the focus was clear — that was the writer, not the journalist. However, as I’ve written before, I’ve out grown my old site. Perhaps this is where the growth is? This realization that I am both writer and journalist and both can blog. I don’t have to keep it separate; in fact, they should marry.
Still feels weird though. Journowritogger. Yup. Weird.