The 4 Big Dangers of Having a Blog (As a Writer)

Melting Watch painting by Salvador Dali (1954)

If you’re a writer, blogging can be an excellent platform for connecting with readers. But it can also distract you from your story-writing and consume your creative energy. Here’s what I mean.

Danger #1 – You Are Going to Write About Writing (Too Much)

The temptation is always there to write posts about the writing process…

10 Tips to Write Better Dialog

How to Overcome Writer’s Block

How to Create Engaging Characters

…and so on.

Nothing wrong with that.

But there are lots of these already on the web. And are you sure that having the writing process all figured out is a good thing?

Perhaps we write better when we don’t try to understand our writing mind? When we simply write, without thinking too much about it.

I know that, to some extent, I’m writing about writing in this post. But I have an excuse – it’s Sunday afternoon, and I’ve already done my story-writing for the week.

Danger #2 – Blogging Provides Instant Gratification

You can dash in 30-minutes a post that will generate shares, likes, and maybe even comments.

By contrast, you can spend a whole week writing a chapter for your novel or a poem and then, in the end, dump it before anyone can read it because you’re not happy with it.

But ultimately, it’s those difficult, sweaty chapters that, put together, will give you your book.

You know that often-quoted self-help rule: delay gratification to focus on what’s important. Or, focus on what’s important, not on what brings you pleasure.

Applied to blogging, it means blog less, write more.

Of course, blogging can be a pick-me-up when story-writing doesn’t flow or during the breaks between chapters.

Danger #3 – Blogging Will Take Up (Some of) Your Writing Time

Blogging is fun and addictive. If you invest time and energy into it, you will want to keep on investing time and energy into it.

The more you post, the more you want to post, especially if your writing generates engagement in the form of shares and comments.

Even if you post only once or twice a week, that could eat some of your writing time. If you’re a full-time writer and have all day to yourself, it won’t be a problem.

But when your writing time is limited as it is, things get a bit complicated.

Here’s the harsh truth: if you look at the most successful fiction writers today, most of them are too busy writing to blog too often.

Danger #4 – You’ll Be Tempted to Publish Your Writing on Your Blog

But hold on a second Vincent, isn’t this a good thing?

Didn’t you use to publish 50-word stories on your blog?

Yes, I did. But those stories were just me having fun. They were a literary experiment. I wouldn’t try to make a living selling 50-word stories.

As writers, there’s something we should remember – the channel through which writing is presented affects how it is perceived.

Take a chapter of a new book by a young writer. Publish it on a blog. Publish it as an ebook. And publish it in paperback. Then give it to a bunch of people to read.

I think it’s likely that most people would perceive the paperback version as more valuable even if the text is exactly the same as in those other formats. And this, for the simple reason that we are used to paperbacks meeting a certain level of quality.

People tend to perceive a published text as having inherently more value than when it’s only posted.

After all, anyone can publish a blog post (without any quality checks) or an ebook (after only a few basic quality checks).

This is not to say that blogging cannot help you draw attention to your work. Indeed, quite a few established authors share chapters or excerpts from their works on their blog.

But they keep the big stuff for their ebooks or for print.

I think it’s okay to use blogging to promote your work. But unless you don’t intend to publish your writing the traditional way (or self-publish it online), sharing your work on your blog can affect its perception, and not necessarily in the best way.

A notable exception here is poetry. I think that today, many people are more likely to read poetry digitally, while they are on the go, than buy a poetry book in a bookstore.

So, Am I Suggesting You Should Quit Blogging?

By no means.

Blogging is a useful tool for any writer. It’s a way to connect with your audience and even hone your skills up to some point.

But it can tax your time and take your writing mind in a direction that’s counterproductive to the actual story-writing process.

When you’re working on a novel or other big book, maybe it’s best not to blog too much.

2 thoughts on “The 4 Big Dangers of Having a Blog (As a Writer)

  1. Excellent points.
    When I started blogging, I already had tons of material to draw on. Nearly a thousand poems that had been previously published in small press magazines, decades of my own journaling, newsletter articles, and so on.
    What I didn’t anticipate is how much time the project takes.
    One thing I’ve been doing is posting outtakes from the revisions. They’re already written and give some perspective on the background thinking or character development. I’m also offering “look books” of visual images that helped spur details for the scenes.
    Cheers!

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