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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 Some folks question whether unknown writers should even have a journal, and wonder what those unpublished, unpolished storytellers could possibly have to share with the world at large, others caution that blogging can take over your life, that it consumes valuable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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mtlawson
May. 8th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
Blogging alone? No.

If I were:

-Blogging
-Maintaining a web site which may or may not include forums
-Twittering
-Other miscellaneous things designed to get you promoted

Then yes, all that would interfere with my writing. Right now, writing is at best third behind family and my job (kinda have to pay the bills), so if I do other things to excess the priority for writing will drop way down.

As in all things, moderation is key.
jongibbs
May. 8th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
I often wonder how Nathan Bransford manages it :)
(no subject) - mtlawson - May. 8th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 9th, 2010 10:20 am (UTC) - Expand
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jongibbs
May. 8th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
Interesting.

I look at it a little differently, though. My goal is to become a successful writer. I think it's important to develop my blog into a significant online presence, which will (hopefully) have a big impact on my career as an author. Priority-wise, I'd say it's almost as important to me as the writing, though if I had to choose between one or the other, I'd pick fiction writing over journal writing any day of the week.

Thanks for taking the time to make such a considered reply :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 9th, 2010 10:22 am (UTC) - Expand
authorwithin
May. 8th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
Blogging is practicing your craft. It's writing. ;-) Not that I'd want my blog content to be published, but it's still writing.

I will admit that I probably spend more time reading/writing/visiting all the blogs/tweets/facebook whatever, but as you said, on the days when I REALLY want to write, nothing will distract me. It's all about self control. I can and do write when I really want to, but other times . . . yeah, I'll spend a few hours online.

Still, there are days when I don't even touch my blog. Times when I only open my word processor and set to work. Those are the good days. I think I need some online time to keep me sane. The stress of feeling like I HAVE to write every time I sit down to the computer would drive me crazy. I'd start to resent my computer. No one wants that. ;-)

Not sure I really answered your question since I tried to rationalize my use of time online. Someone on the outside may say I spend too much time on blogs etc., but I think I've found what works for me. I've been helped through a rough spot in my writing many times because I read a bit of advice on someone's blog.
jongibbs
May. 8th, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
'The stress of feeling like I HAVE to write every time I sit down to the computer would drive me crazy.'

Lol, I know that feeling :)
wyld_dandelyon
May. 8th, 2010 09:44 pm (UTC)
You went and inspired me to write a long answer!

It's over here: http://wyld-dandelyon.livejournal.com/106862.html

And I invited my readers to come check this post out too, so they can see everyone else's answers.
jongibbs
May. 9th, 2010 10:01 am (UTC)
So, blogging about blogging getting in the way of writing inspired some writing about blogging and writing.

Excellent! :)
wordsrmylife
May. 8th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
Not if I don't let it. Turning of the Internet is like turning off the TV. Some days are more difficult than others. But I try to do the writing first, unless I need the down time. In which case I may blog, or I may read blogs.
jongibbs
May. 9th, 2010 10:02 am (UTC)
We can turn off the TV?

Dang! No one tells me nothing :(
bogwitch64
May. 9th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
Once again, my friend, we agree. I never spend time online that I would have otherwise spent writing. We can't write every waking hour--not our novels/shorts. Blogging is another pasttime that fulfills a need.

Good post! Will I see this on Friday Favs? ;)
jongibbs
May. 9th, 2010 10:06 am (UTC)
There've been times when I thought about writing, but chose to blog (or read blogs) instead, but then there are plenty of times when I wake up at 4:00am and thought about going back to sleep, but chose to get up and do some writing, so I figure it all evens out in the end :)

Thanks for the vote of confidence, btw, but I never include my own posts in the Friday links (unless it's to promote FindAWritingGroup.com). It would feel weird, like owning a magazine and putting my own stories in it, if that makes sense.
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - May. 9th, 2010 01:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 9th, 2010 01:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
cathschaffstump
May. 9th, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
Blogging is time I could use on my stories, yes.

But, like you, I find that the community building is great. I also learn about projects via word of mouth that I wouldn't find out about otherwise, like Fur-Face.

It's also a great way to support my writing, to know that the writing problems I have are every writer's problems. Too much like AA? Nah.

Catherine
jongibbs
May. 9th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)
Writers Anonymous, now there's an idea :)
asakiyume
May. 9th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
I love this entry!! I agree with you heartily.

And for me, having a journal was what prompted me to go back to writing. If it hadn't been for the encouragement of friends on LJ, I'd likely not be writing now. I have LJ to thank for so much.

And yeah: it's fun! It's fun to get to know people, fun to share tips, fun to read people's viewpoints.

Also, I didn't realize you'd only been blogging for a year! You have a strong, confident-seeming (and *friendly*) online presence.



Edited at 2010-05-09 02:08 am (UTC)
jongibbs
May. 9th, 2010 10:10 am (UTC)
Thank you :)

I love knowing that blogging reminds me that, though I write on my own, I'm not alone.
paulwoodlin
May. 9th, 2010 03:01 am (UTC)
I always have ideas bumping around in my head, the fiction I try to get published and the essays I put on my blog. I solved the time problem by unplugging my TV.
jongibbs
May. 9th, 2010 10:12 am (UTC)
Story ideas are about like those lottery balls you see on TV, a haze of bouncing balls and blurred numbers rattling around our brains until, all of a sudden, one pops to the top and becomes crystal clear :)
glynisj
May. 9th, 2010 09:09 am (UTC)
My opinion as an unpublished writer:

I use my blog to practice writing and try new ideas for writing. The experience of reading others blog has given me insight to how things are currently done in the world of writing. For example, I sighed with relief when I read in someone's blog that most manuscripts are now sent electronically. The cost of stamps, envelops, and paper just went down in my very small budget. And yes, quite often I need encouragement. Living in a small town where there are not any writer's groups, I rely heavily on the blogs of established writers.
jongibbs
May. 9th, 2010 10:15 am (UTC)
I know what you mean. It's nice to connect with other folks with the same interests.
iamtheelfinpoet
May. 9th, 2010 12:17 pm (UTC)
Becoming a blogger has definitely made a better writer, a better poet. As a blogger I get to connect with so many fascinating people and this has allowed me to be greatly inspired. I've become a better researcher as well, an essential skill for any wordsmith! Blogging is also how I communicate to people about my projects. It allows me to express my thoughts and connect directly with readers. I started blogging formally in 2008. Wish I had done it a lot sooner!
jongibbs
May. 9th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC)
'Wish I had done it a lot sooner!'

Me too, Heidi.

Thanks for sharing :)
snapes_angel
May. 9th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Blogging does not interfere with writing. For one thing, blogging is a form of writing. It's not sales oriented, except maybe for networking, but it's the actual process of getting words down in a readable (and usually coherent) form.

Speaking of which, the first time I said "Blogging", my spell checker quails at the word, but tne second incidence, where the word does not begin a sentence and, therefore, is uncapitalized—the spell checker leaves unchallenged. I think that is a prime example of how no two spell checkers are alike, and emphasizes the importance of proofreading, no matter the genre.

It can be a useful tool for the exchange of ideas (brainstorming or, as I sometimes think of it, barnstorming).

It's also good for the exchange of information, such sa linkage (and sometimes, review) of writing sites, with an eye rowards becoming a better writier.

Also, it's writing, darn it. >
jongibbs
May. 9th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
Whoever invents the spellchecker which knows the words you meant to write, and acts accordingly, will make a fortune :)
(no subject) - snapes_angel - May. 9th, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
bondo_ba
May. 9th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
My blog actually helps to spur me on... My writing time has become more structured since I decided to post wordcounts on a regular basis!
jongibbs
May. 10th, 2010 10:59 am (UTC)
It certainly hasn't stopped you selling stories :)
rippatton
May. 9th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
No way, Jose
Blogging Does Not interfere with my writing, but rather enhances it, without a doubt. I usually blog and do internetly stuff first thing in the morning for a couple hours. Helps me wake up, gets me jazzed for the day, often gives me ideas for stories or articles.

After that, I might check my e-mail occasionally, but I'm off to write fiction.

And for sure, blogging has increased my fan base and internet profile from zero to hero in just under a year. Thanks to my blog and the links it snags me, my name went from not even showing up on Google to being the first three pages of a Google search. To me, that kind of exposure and internet presence is priceless (not to mention it is free).

So a definitive no from me.
jongibbs
May. 10th, 2010 11:04 am (UTC)
Re: No way, Jose
Excellent! :)
tom_gallier
May. 9th, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)
Hey now! You shot down my favorite excuse. Now what will I blame for not writing? Man, life's hard for a writer on the street.

Technically, I rarely even blog once a month. What I do is obsessively read other blogs, mostly about writing. I've recently started cutting back on that activity, because I was reading so many that it took three or more hours a day to read them all, and left me exhausted afterwards. And that is after a full day at work. So now I just check two during the week, and spread the rest out over the weekend.

Not sure if that will work, since this is week one. I'm not currently on a project, but I have three Outlines-in-progress I'm working on. Once I have a writing project, then the true test will begin.
jongibbs
May. 10th, 2010 11:07 am (UTC)
I recently started to schedule blocks of time when I stay offline. I hadn't realized how often I stopped whatever I was doing to answer an email/comment etc.
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Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

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