Is Blogging a Distraction For a Writer?

Temptation

When I started this blog last year I thought that blogging about writing will help me understand my writing process better, and improve it. But the more posts I write the more I feel that blogging, even when about writing topics, can be a distraction.

Talking about writing – which is what most writers’ blogs are all about – doesn’t make you a better story teller. It helps you better understand the craft, and it encourages you to write often and as best as you can because you know others read, and this improves you as a writer. But it doesn’t help you write better stories.

It seems to me that few of those who are good at talking about writing are great writers themselves. Great artists don’t really know how they make art. They just close their eyes and do it.

Benefits of maintaining a blog

  • Helps you make writing a (daily) habit, and that improves you as a writer.
  • Connects you with interesting people and helps you attract readers for you stories, sometimes establishing online friendships.
  • Makes it easier for you to understand your thoughts and emotions by writing about them.

Disadvantages of maintaining a blog

  • Eats up your time, that is if you want to keep up a lively blog, follow others, and reply to the comments you receive.
  • Encourages you to talk about your story rather than to write it.
  • Exposes you to (too) many mainstream ideas which you would probably be better off not knowing.

Blogging is one art, story writing is another. They don’t really rub elbows, these two fellows, because the first lives in the street, and the second in the attic.

That’s why today I’ve republished this old entry and devoted to Oliver Colors’ biography the 30-45 minutes that I would have normally spent writing a new post.

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64 thoughts on “Is Blogging a Distraction For a Writer?

  1. I am finding this too. It does eat up all my time from writing some of the more weighty things I have in the hopper or would like to do.

    But for the moment I am enjoying it it, I feel that it is sharpening a lot of my writing skills, and forcing me to be creative in the moment. I have developed a penchant for dialogue which I hadn’t developed before, a (little) humor (which I’ve always had but never put it to a writer’s litmus test), and have broadened my talents from poetry to short pieces to short stories. All this has been a great gift for me.

    And thanks to you, and good wishes, young man. Be careful of spiders and books and young harlots who may be family members and… Randy

    1. Well, there are clearly some benefits… I have to admit that.

      As to young family members being harlots, I am sorry to disappoint you… I don’t even have a fancy aunt. 😦

      All is well.

  2. I feel the same way, except related to photography. Lots of time spent following and commenting and socializing could be spent doing photos. But, somehow, I still feel the need to post what I create….and I am still curious about others’ work….and I still get inspired by those around me.

    I think it is about finding the right balance for you.

  3. I’m not a writer, but I do find the same advantages and disadvantages, yes it does take time, especially if you maintain a few sites…but at the same time it is a way to encourage yourself to work on your art as often as possible, and most important, to share it and get some feedback…hopefully…:)

  4. I am not a writer, but I guess this applies to most art. When you write about writing, it’s a technical post(or blog). It’s sharing your process with others, closely related to how-to’s and tutorials. When you “just write”, I guess that’s sharing your art – pure self-expression. Both are appreciated. 🙂 I think it’s alright to alternate between the two from time to time.

  5. RE:“the first[blog] lives in the street, and the second[story writing] in the attic.”
        Getting bogged down in the blog in the fog with eyes on a lap-top, Marie stepped into the boggy swamp and lost her dog, Jack, in quick-sand or was it quick-mud. Her secretary in the attic wondered where the dirty dog was, but gladly took his steno pad into the shower with her to make notes for the book. He much preferred to write in the shower rather than to write in the attic alone even if she called him a dirty dog and the swamp of work was soggy.

  6. You have a point there, I definitely find that maintaining my blog has really helped me creatively, but it can feel like it’s eating up valuable time if you don’t use it well. I like your posts about life, so I’m happy about this proposal. 🙂

  7. i believe it was hemingway who said don´t talk about writing, just write. however, he had bulls to fight and lions to shoot, so why shouldn´t writers who don´t want to leave their house very often blog a bit? i like your blog! and i can´t wait for my invisible gift, though i´ve already had several since waking this morning…

  8. True.
    And I think your idea on writing more about life than about writing is good, cause I have a feeling blogging is actually more about that.

    I also believe there is no recipe to being a good writer or a writer at all. If your heart wants to write, you should write & care less about the technique but more about the meaning. It’s like with love. Let it live it’s own way. No one likes things forced. And the things that are force never work anyway.

  9. What a great post. I totally agree.
    ‘They don’t really rub elbows, these two fellows, because the first lives in the street, and the second in the attic.’ – Lovely
    Stay in the attic!!!!

  10. I like your point about how writing and blogging are two different things. it extends out, of course – the life we write about, the writing about our life and the blog about our writing are three different hings. The first is what we eat up to keep us alive, the second is what that process of eating up produces as a by-product and the third is some record that the by product was created. So, life is food, writing is poo and the blog is some disturbing photograph of our poo we show to strangers.

    On second thoughts, your analogy was much better than mine 🙂

  11. You are spot-on, Mr. Hat.

    I fell victim to this for a while, and become a WORSE writer because my blogging was merely a mouthpiece for “someone else said this, and this is my interpretation.”

    If you are going to write a blog “about” writing, it needs passion, and it has to come from the heart. SEO, Google and Alexa rankings, all that is fine and fancy, but a strong blog CAN make others want to read your fiction. I’m actually quite excited to read the first complete Vincent Mars novel, largely because of what you have shown me on this site. You are sharing your own writing experience rather than trying to guide mine.

    When I overcame this hurdle, writing became fun again, and I enjoy my experience now on both ends.

      1. A quote by “anonymous” is no less powerful than the one attributed to a name.

        We are brothers in words, sir. Names were made to be forgotten; however, if we meet up in a decade to discuss our words — which are made to be remembered — I will pay for steak and drinks with my credit card. 🙂

  12. hear hear (to this post)! and it’s been my thoughts these days to ‘just write’ as priority. im a newbie and it’s hard. but your page inspires me a lot. so much of brilliance in this place…

  13. You are very wise indeed. Blogging is a total distraction from the WIP. But I find it has benefits for the writing discipline – apart from anything else, it helps me to take my own work seriously. Not to mention social connections. But I try not to write about writing – life’s way more interesting (except when you do it!) 😉

  14. I agree with you , I think blogging can be a distraction. When I was a teenager (before internet) I used to spend long afternoons writing poetry and stories.. I stayed up late, till the sun came up and wrote like a girl in love. It never bothered me who would see because I loved it so much. I think some times I need to go into exile (off line) to really get things done! Blogging is nice but i feel I’m ignoring the most interesting person at the dinner party by blogging, that being myself and what I can really say.

  15. I am not a writer but I am a terrible procrastinator so blogging is always a distraction from what I’m supposed to be doing (my Master’s degree, for example)! I have learnt a lot from it though and it has encouraged me to think differently about things so it is not a waste of time even though it is diverting.

  16. I’ve recently been considering changing my posting schedule to only once a week as opposed to three times. It’s just so hard to maintain that schedule and I haven’t had time to write what I actually want to write. Blogging feels like more of a chore to me now than a release like it once was when I started. But at the same time, I want to build a following and do all those things that require that time. Writers can never win, can they?

  17. I enjoyed your post. I have to admit that I sometimes use blogging as an excuse not to work on my story. Especially if I can’t move forward on it. At times I use blogging as a sort of therapy to work out my writing issues. Blogging is time consuming but at least I’m writing something.

  18. To me it is a little different – reading other blogs stops me from writing, but then, I do other things I have to do while reading blogs, like working on products for my webshop. I just have too many time consuming ambitions at the same time.

    Blogging does help me to get my thoughts and other things in my life put in words. I also see blogging as keeping a kind of online diary, out of which I may get inspiration, ideas and sentenses when I am writing a story.

  19. Blogging is pretty much the only writing I do at the moment, so for me it’s the main event, not a distraction. But I think the entire Internet can be one big distraction when you are trying to get stuff done!

  20. Mmm. I agree with the observations in this post, too. I never wanted to teach writing for the same reason I didn’t want to create a blog about writing. Why talk about writing instead of just… writing? The only thing I would add is that, in some cases, story telling *can* be improved via blogging. Many of my posts end up being vignettes about experiences I’ve had. This story-telling process, although most of my stories are short, has been helpful.

  21. I’ve only read a few posts and I’m in love with your blog already! This post is a good reminder for me, having just started blogging (again). It’s so easy to get caught up in the blogging aspect, not the writing or the reading aspect.

    So, I’m going to go read a book instead of writing more comments…

  22. Yes I really do agree with this, especially since I am supposed to be finishing a screenplay right now, but no, I am delving deep into people’s blogs and reading and commenting away.

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