Robin Hobb is my favourite fantasy writer. Not many fantasy authors can create such well-rounded characters and engage the readers with exciting plots. And because of that, I googled to find her blog, hoping to catch a glimpse of the author behind my favourite books. Instead, I discovered that she hated blogs, calling them "anti-fiction", and that she believed authors who blog have "fallen to the dark side.
Her rant surprised and disappointed me at first. I didn't like her condescending tone at all ( am I a less dedicated author if I blog?) and thought that it was ironic that by writing that rant, she was essentially blogging. ;)
But after reading her rant more thoroughly and without my "I blog therefore I am" blinders on, I realised that she has a point. I particularly agree with what she said about blogging getting in the way of writing your manuscript:
Daily you will rise and go to your keyboard. You will blog. And you will read what people write in response to your blog. And you will write responses to what they have written. And then you will visit the blogs of those who have responded to you. And you will write pleasant and cheery comments there. And then you will go back to your own blog, to see if anyone has responded to your responses. And then you will go back to the blogs of others, to see if anyone has responded to your responses to them.
And the clock will suddenly say midnight. And you will look at your manuscript in consternation. How can it be that there are no new pages, not even a paragraph? Where has the time vanished? Why are your hands so weary?
I can attest that my hands are weary at the end of the day - too weary to write my manuscript. As a professional writer who writes for bread and butter, I spend hours writing something that is not my Great Malaysian Novel. And while I enjoy my work, I find it almost impossible to write anything creatively at the end of my working day because I'm all written out.
So yes, to an extend, if you spend hours blogging, it does get in the way of your manuscript.
If you have totally no control over yourself.
If you tell yourself "I will only blog for half an hour a day" and keep to it, then blogging is doable. If you know your priorities - to get that manuscript done by so and so date - and achieve them through proper time management, then blogging is okay.
But to write off blogs entirely just because there's a possibility of it robbing you of time with your manuscript is short sighted. Blogs are fantastic ways to interact with your readers (if you're already an established or published author) or introduce yourself to readers (if you're trying to make it).
I've been blogging for five over years now, and the friends I've met from around the world - some whom I've met personally - are simply precious. Why close that door?
I blog because I cannot not write. I do not limit my writing to my manuscript; I do not consider one medium of writing better than another. Because writing is who I am, and blogging is just another aspect of my self.