As with anything worth having, there is always a load of work involved and for a writer that usually entails hours and hours of research, proofing and editing apart from the freeform creative flow we so readily enjoy. This is (naturally) time worth investing in our literary careers and time well spent in establishing credibility for ourselves as authors and as time has proven, even bloggers. But in the end some might say this is also time lost doing the one thing we are supposed to be doing: writing. Right?
Okay, I know what you are saying and I have read many other perspectives on the matter and one argument is this: If we are blogging then we are writing. And that is absolutely true. And the other side of the spectrum says: if you spend all your time blogging (like I am doing right now) then you aren’t truly writing at all. Naturally this argument is based on the notion that when an author is writing we are (supposed to be or at least should be) working on new material—a character sketch, an outline, a draft for our next short-story or novel—not talking about what we are supposed to be doing, but doing what we say we do. But this isn't always the case and in my opinion if you find yourself stuck in a rut so to speak with your current project, then why not slay the mental block and press onward by simply veering off course in a manner of changing topics and keep the creative wheels turning until you stumble upon that word or phrase you may have been looking for?
Here is my take on the topic. I think if you are not working on any new material at the moment--short-story, novel, screenplay, etc--then blogging is beneficial in the sense that you are putting your writing skills to practice. One of the hardest habits for a writer to instill within themselves is the practice of writing in some form of routine. I have two friends, both of which have been influential within my very young writing career--Britta Coleman, author of Potter Springs and Candace Havens, author of the Bronwyn the Witch series. Both of these authors are extremely talented and both very adamant about this very topic: "Writers write." That's what they say and that's what I believe.
Being that I (try) to write new material everyday when I am consumed with my latest project, I believe you lose valuable time in developing a story if you dedicate too much time to "talking about writing" or blogging. But yet still, even that concept isn't entirely true. I believe if you share enough about yourself—such as your experiences (with your latest project perhaps) with the blogging community—then you are indeed working to maintain credibility and hopefully a readership by simply identifying with an audience and allowing them to partake on your writing journey as you work to complete your next story. I think you do have to learn to cut back on your time dedicated to journaling/blogging and use that time towards working on your current project whatever that might be. It is easy to get side-tracked and even easier to lose a creative streamline of ideas if you allow yourself to be pulled into too many directions at once, as blogging requires one format for writing and creating a novel an entirely different approach.
But in defense of my journalistic side, my inner-blogger if you will, I say blogging is highly beneficial in the sense that if you maintain a consistent ritual for posting informative and sometimes creative blogs, then you are at the very least writing...and in writing and working to maintain some credibility, you have to implement some of the same literary tactics as you would when creating a new story, like research, editing, proof-reading to name a few examples. Take this article for instance. I read a posting from April of this year entitled, "Blogging is About Writing" written by Lorelle VanFossen. In this particular blog the author details and highlights some thirty points to consider when drafting your next blog and one of them (the one that caught my eye while researching the draft for this particular blog) was: “Blog writing is about editing.” I thought this concept was perfect because like myself, each time I post a blog—and they aren’t nearly as habitual as those more practiced bloggers on the web—I spend an ample amount of time re-reading and reviewing my material before I finally submit for post. Another point to consider is number four on her list: Make Your Point in the First 200 Words. How many times have we read this when reviewing or skimming articles and guidelines posted by editors within publishing houses? If you can’t capture your audience's attention in the first chapter, page or (worse) the first paragraph, you are in a lot of trouble.
This particular blog posted by Lorelle VanFossen is extremely helpful and it proves my argument that unless you are working on a new project, then blogging can become beneficial to your writing career if you utilize some of the same tactics for creating a blog as you might a new story. Coming into your own practice of writing is critical in setting the foundational pieces for becoming (essentially) a writer. Like my friends Candy and Britta say: writers write. You are what you believe you are…and you are because you do it. You may not have your next story on the tip of your tongue (or pen for that matter) but you would be surprised to discover how much more the creative juices will trickle and flow when you put the concept of writing on a daily basis to a test. I currently have five first chapters written, in draft form for what will eventually become my next five novels. Now, it may take me fifty years to finish them or maybe ten, or perhaps even less, but the object of the game is to participate and learn and you cannot learn how to write more effectively unless you practice.
So, do I believe blogging is an effective form of practice for the would-be writer? Yes of course; but I also believe that you should reduce the amount of time you dedicate to articles and how-to’s if you are presently involved with your latest story. Stop every once in a while and share some details and insight into the thought process of what you are doing with your audience and readership. We readers love to know the inside scoop of how an author came to the decisions and conclusions for creating their literary masterpiece. But you must be careful not to get caught in the trap of talking about writing more than you are in actively creating new material. If you have ambitions of becoming a published novelist or career writer, then you're just going to have to silence the world long enough to breathe, medicate, think and eventually write.
Do what you were born to do. Do what you believe you can do. Now is the time to stop talking about doing it and just...do it...
Right? Let me know what you think....
Bobby Ozuna author of Proud Souls www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com