Saturday, May 7, 2011

Are You A Writer or A Blogger?

The following was a back-and-forth between me and Diana Stout, writer and blogger extraordinaire.  (She writes really well, and her blog is very interesting.  Go there.)  The topic at hand was: Should writers blog?  Writers write, one thought process goes, so writers should blog.  But, at the same time, the other thought process states, writers should be writing, not blogging, because whenever they're doing one, they're not doing the other.  Blogging is serious effort--effort better spent writing that novel, short story, whatever.  So, her entry asks, should writers blog?  And--Why do writers blog when they should be writing?

My answer/comment to her blog went as follows.  And, by the way, I asked her permission to post this conversation, just to be safe, as all good writers should--

I'm a writer/blogger, so I can honestly say this: Blogs are for writers who are not consistently published who want to be consistently published. I guarantee you that once I get consistently published, I won't be hot and heavy on my blog anymore--I won't have the time because I'd be too busy being published in other ways. But while I'm working on a draft, I check my blog stats every night because I want to see who's read my stuff--no matter what it is. I'll probably write more if I don't blog because a) I'll have more time to write; and b) I'll be missing my publication/being read fix, so I'll want to finish something and send it out ASAP. Now that I say this, I should take some time off from my blog and see if this is true!

Her answer/comment to mine was this:

While I agree with theory, I disagree in practice.  It was a huge concern of mine when I started the blog, simply because I knew from experience that writing a weekly piece can suck up all my creative juices and editing time, which is why I choose to go with a once-a-month practice.  Of course, you can see how well I've not kept THAT commitment.  I use the blog as a free-write exercise, to warm me up, just like I have students do free-writes every day.  Also, it's a way for me to help other writers.  Even when you're published, I dare say that you'll still find yourself journaling if not blogging.  It's a simple outlet, one that doesn't require a editor or publisher for the go-ahead.

Okay, me again.  My bottom-line thought is this: Blogging can be beneficial for a writer, but it is still a distraction, a purposeful resistance to writing that novel or short story or whatever.  I mean, cleaning the desk off is beneficial to the writer, too, and sooner or later necessary.  But if done too often, it's just another example of resistance.  If cleaning off a spot on the office desk is a daily morning ritual, like sipping coffee and perusing the paper, that's fine, as long as the end result is substantial writing.  Blogging is the same; if it's another ritual for the writer, fine, as long as the writer writes his story immediately after.  But if you find you're not getting any actual writing done, but you are getting a lot of blogging done, then you have to ask yourself: Am I a blogger, or a writer?

What do you think?

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