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Over the last month or so, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of journal entries which cover (or touch on) the subject of writers who blog. Some folks question whether unknown writers should even have a journal, and wonder what those unpublished, unpolished storytellers could possibly have to share with the world at large, others caution that blogging can take over your life, that it consumes valuable time which would be better spent on writing.

On the face of it, these are legitimate points of view. They certainly hit home with me. I spend a fair bit of time on the various social networks and I’d been blogging for six months before I sold my first (and so far, only) short story.
At one point, I became quite concerned. Am I doing the wrong thing here? Have I frittered away all this time on the worldwide web when I should have been writing? Then, I had one of those epiphany things, and realized I was worrying over nothing.   

Unknown writers have nothing to offer? Piffle and poppycock!
Sorry for the strong language. I do understand that posting about which flavor yoghurt someone had for breakfast might not be of much use to anyone, but writerly type blogging can be of immense help to others. We share market news and writing tips; we encourage, empathize, congratulate and support each other. That’s an invaluable contribution, which everyone benefits from, I know I have. Besides, it’s great fun! 

Does blogging get in the way of writing?  Only if you let it.
On weekdays I average about an hour a day online (more at weekends) with another 10-15 minutes a day spent working on my own journal entries.
Since my very first Live Journal entry at the beginning of last year, I’ve made about 350 blog posts and fifteen thousand comments (most of them writing-related). At a rough guess, I’d say I’ve read/scanned in the region a hundred thousand blog posts, possibly more.
I’ve had a grand old time, made loads of friends and learned a lot of useful things in the process, but did all that social networking get in the way of my writing? I don’t think so.
Blogging and writing aren’t mutually exclusive. Sure, I could have spent all those hours working on new stories, but I could have just as easily sat in front of the telly, or gone to the movies, or played video games.
When people stop writing, it’s not because of their online journals, or book promotions, or American Idol, or family commitments, or any other great-sounding excuse, it’s because, at that point in time, the desire to write isn’t strong enough, and you know, that’s perfectly okay. 
To hear some folks talk, you’d think the only way to become a ‘real’ writer is to dedicate every spare moment to ‘the craft,’ putting everything else in your life on hold.   If that works for them, great, but it’s not for me. I’m serious about wanting a career as a writer, but I don’t see why we can’t enjoy the journey as well.   I put myself firmly in the ‘We’ve a long road ahead of us, so let’s have fun along the way’ camp. 

How about you?

Has your blogging interfered with your writing? 

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( 80 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 8th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
It hasn't interfered with my writing. Quite the contrary, it's helped it immeasurably. It has allowed me to converse with other writers, hear their thoughts and ideas, contacts and advice. That has often helped me with some of my own decisions regarding my writing.

May. 8th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
I've certainly learned a lot about writing from online folks.

Thanks for sharing, Mark :)
(no subject) - mmerriam - May. 8th, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 8th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 8th, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
Before the internet, authors wrote letters to one another. There are books and books in the literary sections of university libraries that collect these correspondences discussing writing styles and markets and the writing life in general. Without correspondence and a friendly relationship with Max Brod, Kafka (who had very little published in his own lifetime) may not be known at all today. Lovecraft corresponded with many writers including Robert E. Howard. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis corresponded. This was blogging before blogs were invented. I just see blogs as the evolution of written correspondence.

If anything. It is easier to correspond today. I can post a blog and this serves as a letter to all of the writers I regularly communicate with. In the old days, I would have to write out a seperate letter to each receiver. The way I see it, blogging is a timesaver.
May. 8th, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC)
Not to mention the cost of samps and all that envelope licking :)
May. 8th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
Yes, blogging and everything else interfere with my writing. Everything. It's called "weakness". Or, "procrastinators R us".
May. 8th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
I keep meaning to join those guys, but somehow I've never gotten around to it :)

Edited at 2010-05-08 05:11 pm (UTC)
May. 8th, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC)
I treat the social networks and email like my coffee breaks at work. I feel refreshed going back to the salt mines then. (ok, so I don't often go back to salt mines. Odd, isn't it, how few fantasy novels are actually set in salt mines ...)
May. 8th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
something to be taken with a grain of salt, yes...
(no subject) - eneit - May. 8th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - May. 8th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 8th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - j_cheney - May. 14th, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 8th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
Just had to respond to this.
Has a blog interfered with my writing? Emphatically no! It's kept me going. If not for the people I've found after I started posting about my writing life I wouldn't be as good as I am now and there's a good chance I would've given up writing. The writing community on line is strong and I'm grateful for their help.
May. 8th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. It's nice to know we're not the only ones with thios writing bug :)
May. 8th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
Hemmingway lost more time to booze and fishing
and Fitzgerald more time to cocaine
than anyone ever lost on the internet.

Furthermore, the time it would take to go to the library
and look something up still takes more time
than googling it and spending the rest of the day on LJ and twitter...

Everything I've written this year,
and most of what I've written in the last several years,
was prompted either directly (in most cases) or indirectly
by an exchange that occured on the internet...

all twelve books I've sold were sold over the internet...

it's been more than two years since I've had a face-to-face discussion
about writing with anyone...
May. 8th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
Sorry - as a librarian, I felt rather hurt by this:

furthermore, the time it would take to go to the library
and look something up still takes more time
than googling it and spending the rest of the day on LJ and twitter...

Really? You can call us up, you know! Or even e-mail us your questions. But two things I love about the library are face-to-face encounters with other human beings, and serendipity. Libraries are great!
(But, of course, I'm biased, being a librarian.)
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 8th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - May. 8th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 8th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - May. 8th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snapes_angel - May. 9th, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mary_j_59 - May. 11th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snapes_angel - May. 11th, 2010 04:37 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 8th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
I don't think so. For me, blogging encouraged my creative writing. It's true one can waste time online, but there are other ways to waste time!

And your site is great. ) Just had to say that.
May. 8th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)

I watch less TV and play less computer games than I used to, but I wouldn't say I've suffered as a result.
May. 8th, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
I agree with you in all aspects. I think we can learn from unpublished writers as well as published, and I think I get more inspired when I read blogs from new writers who are excited about the craft. And no, blogging doesn't interfere with writing, as you said, any more than any other downtime, relaxation interferes. You have to schedule your time. I prefer to take my breaks in the day browsing other writing blogs, or friend pages, to watching TV. And when I blog myself, it's the same form as daily journal writing--getting all that stuff out to prepare for and lead into the real writing.

May. 8th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
I've just started a new time-management system at home. There are certain time slots when I'm not allowed to go online. So far, I'm having no trouble keeping to it.
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May. 8th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
I love reading, but I've always done that in fits and starts. One month I'll read half a dozen books, the next nothing, the next ten. It seems to work for me.
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May. 8th, 2010 04:46 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure it's snobbery. I think it's more a case of 'Why are you trying to develop an online presence before you've written anything.' The thing is, I don't see why we can't do them both at the same time.
May. 8th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
Yes. No. I don't know. I enjoy reading about writing and found encouragement and lots of great advice, but it is also a major distraction for me.
May. 8th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
Lol, in that case, get back to work, woman :)
May. 8th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
Insightful and informative, as usual, Jon. That's what I've come to expect when I read your entries.
While I'm here, thanks for the links you posted the other day. Very educational.
I spend way too much time online, I think. Part of that is helping critique for my online writers group. That in and of itself is an education. But does it interfere with my writing? I think I sometimes get a fresh perspective to go back to my story after I've visited a few sites.
I disagree that 100% of a person's time should be spent writing. So I'm with you there. I got some really great advice in that regard just today. "Always stop writing before your brain runs out of fresh ideas." They were talking about in a single day.
I get "practice" putting my thoughts on paper with my journal. That can't possibly be a bad thing; it preps me to go work on my story while the juices are flowing.
May. 8th, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Deanna :)

I like that 'Stop writing before your brain runs out of ideas' advice :)
(Deleted comment)
May. 8th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
Lol, well, I suppose being rushed to the hospital might be considered a valid excuse.

BTW, I love that icon :)
(Deleted comment)
May. 8th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
There's an advance? Why didn't anyone tell me? :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 9th, 2010 10:20 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 9th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 8th, 2010 06:57 pm (UTC)
For me, blogging does not interfer with my writing. More likely that I will forget to blog when I am knee deep in deadlines.
May. 8th, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
I think of them as two seperate entities, which of course, they are :)
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Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

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