Friday, January 23, 2009

Blogging vs. Writing

I've found lately that I have less and less time for writing and editing. Now, that's my bread and butter--hopefully anyway. The big, bad intruder? Blogging! 

So, is blogging the streetlight or the Eiffel Tower? Accessory or Focal Point?

I know there is value in the time I spend hitting the blog trail. I've learned a lot about the industry, met friends, found beta readers and a crit group, and gotten some excellent advice from fellow writers. That support is very valuable.

But! How much time is too much time? Have I let blogging become too big a focus? Does it support my writing or has it taken over?  How do you limit your blogging time? What positives do you see? Negatives?


JaneyV said...

Ah! I have this problem too. I agree that blogging has been an invaluable source of info, support and companionship but it certainly can take over. I have written so very little recently - for a variety of reasons - that I have come to realise that I have to timetable myself. The blogging can be unpredictable - somedays there are more things to read than others - so I feel the way to do it is to have a strict schedule of writing. I have two blogger friends who have issued challenges that I have signed up for: McKoala and Aerin. These are very reasonable targets and completely doable. 1000 words per month for Aerin and 100 words per day/6 days a week for McK. Doing McK's means I can complete Aerin's without a problem. If you only write 100 words a day but make those count, productivity will automatically increase. The great thing is this means there's still some time left in the day for the blogs you like.

One other thing I would say is decide the blogs you really like; following 250 blogs will, by necessity, impede everything else in your life.

Violá mes deux cents.

Lady Glamis said...

Oh, great post!

Um, I spend way too much time blogging. Way too much.

I was thinking about this this morning... thinking that I don't need to comment on every single post I read, and that perhaps I should only blog in the mornings and leave the rest of the day (naptime and bedtime for Darcy) to writing.

I really need to crack the whip on this, even if it lessens the number of hits to my own blog because I'm not commenting as much. In the end, popularity on my blog isn't going to get me published. My writing is going to get me published. Especially if it's finished and queried.

Lori Tiron-Pandit said...

I am trying to find a point of equilibrium between the two. Writing a manuscript and writing a blog are two very different things for me. Blogs give instant satisfaction and lots of small and scattered rewards (new friends, new advice, new discoveries of all kinds). Writing a book is solitary and of very long duration and you can only dream about the rewards which may never come.

I feel that I need blogging to heal some of my novel writing ailments: lack of confidence, boredom, desperation, that sort of thing. But of course, writing the book is my main objective. The blog only keeps me saner through the process.

You have a great blog, by the way. I've discovered it recently and I am enjoying it a lot. Thank you.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Boy, are our minds on the same track!
Just today I did a post on change...I've decided to go from blogging daily to Mon., Wed., Fri. for the very same reason. My writing isn't getting done.

But I agree with you completely--blogging has given me support and new friendships--and has kept me from being a total hermit!

Captain Hook said...

I actually only check blogs for about 10 minutes a day. Writing for them? Maybe 2-4 times a week. So all in all, between 10-45 minutes a day.

Writing I'll do for hours at a time.

Justus M. Bowman said...

Pro: Networking

Con: Timesink

I'm trying to find a balance.

lotusgirl said...

Janey, I think I'm going to have to set myself up a timetable too.

Glam, Up until just recently I almost always commented on blogs when I read to let the author know I was there and supporting them if nothing else, but lately I'm finding it harder and harder to do that. I guess mostly it is that I follow a lot more blogs than I used to.

Lori, Thanks for stopping by. It's nice to meet you. I think you're right that with writing being such a solitary thing we reach out to others like ourselves and find that blogging gives us a bit of a social fix.

Becky, I've worried about this for a while and adopted the Mon. Wed. Fri. schedule when I started feeling the blogging taking over. In some ways, I think it's considerate of my readers too. I know they are busy and want to check out what I have to say, but can't always do it. I don't want to inundate them with posts. (Not that I ever felt that way about yours--they are always so fun and entertaining--my son is still talking about the video I showed him on the lego day).

Sarah, You have so much more self-control than I do.

Justus, It's all about the balance!

beth said...

What a great pic!

For me, I have to think about where my focus is. I usually do need something to get me started--I find it difficult to jump right into writing. Blogging--or critiqueing, or reading writing articles--warms me up for writing. It also provides me a release from some of the frustrations I have.

On the other hand, I feel that there is a need to cease blogging at times. When I become more focused on blogs than on writing, and I become aware of how much of a waste of time I have allowed blogging to become, then I disconnect and refocus on the task at hand.

lotusgirl said...

Thanks beth! I took that in Paris about a year and 1/2 ago. It's such a photogenic city. The streetlamps are incredible. I kept thinking I'd love to do a photoessay on the streetlights of Paris. I know it's already been done, but so have a lot of things. Who knows, maybe I could bring a new perspective.

PJ Hoover said...

Community and people are such a huge pro! But yeah, it can be a time suck. I do need to do a better job of minimizing my blog time. But it's just fun!

Joe Iriarte said...


I know just what you mean.

I only subscribe to about forty blogs. I have had the experience of feeling that I spent most of a day just keeping up with those forty. But blogging and following blogs has brought me so many positives that when I think about quitting I realize how valuable it really has been. I've learned tons, about the business and about the craft. I've also I think, become a part of the community. What community? Well, it's nebulous, because it's really about a hundred overlapping communities, but there are blogs I post on where people seem to recognize me. I've met some of these people and they've remembered me from their blogs and been friendly because of that past interaction. And, yeah, the networking (sounds like it's the same thing, but there's a shade of nuance there that I may not be able to articulate). I track the hits on my blog. I get a lot more hits when I'm commenting on other people's blogs than when I'm not, and I've been able to tell by navigation history and ip address that some of those hits have been from writers, editors, and agents. (Not to mention the occasions when one of these people actually comments on my blog.) So I feel like I'm getting my name out there. I pitched one agent in person, who requested a partial, where the blog recognition was definitely a door opener.

So what to do? Luckily, I seem to have the ability to shut something off when I feel myself getting drawn in too deeply. It happened with television when I was in grad school. I was never a TV-watcher growing up, but in grad school I got cable for the very first time and found myself getting sucked in and getting no work done. When I did, I just quit cold turkey. I've done it with blogging too--quit for a couple of weeks, and then take it up again when I no longer feel like a slob. (Of course, when I did, I had like five-hundred items in my feed reader!)

Good luck finding balance. I myself may be coming to a stage where I need to step back again.

lotusgirl said...

Joe, it's nice to hear that the positives do actually yield fruit with agents/editors and not just other writers. I am hoping that when I am ready to send things around that there will be some name recognition and that my web presence will be a positive thing for me.

I want to find the balance rather than cutting myself off completely.

Joe Iriarte said...

I get that. I just suck at balance is all. ;)

Natalie said...

Ah yes. I went through a blog addict phase (I think it happens easily when you start connecting with ppl), but then I slowed down a lot.

I mostly visit my buddies now (cuz I like them) and then a few choice "publishing" blogs that give good info.

Most everything else has fallen off the radar.

lotusgirl said...

Congrats on reaching the equilibrium we all seek. I suppose that's how you can get so much writing done--well, that and your cyber ninja status. I see myself getting to that point. I don't want it to cut into my writing time anymore.

Hybrid J said...

What a fantastic post! I just started blogging on Jan and it is already getting into the way of my writing.

Working 4-days a week and only write on weekends, time is never enough. But I believe that blogging has its purpose in our lives. Like all the comments beforehand, through our blogs, we make connections with other writers-to-be (I call myself writer-in-practice as I'm an unpublished writer). We share and learn together.

As all comments point to the word "Balance", I'm glad that I found your blog and learn from everyone. Thank you very much.

Will go now and re-balance my writing and blogging.

Cheers and have a wonderful day!

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