I’ve let blogging dissipate. Two weeks ago, I was convinced this was fine. I thought of blogging as only a social activity (still is, for me), and Facebook took over that area of my life.
But I didn’t realize how important blogging was to my writing productivity until the other day. First, I blogged, and then writing went well. Second, someone’s blog or status update made me realize that back when I blogged every day, I was nailing higher word counts more easily. Writing was going MUCH better.
That realization surprised me. I know Erica blogs to “warm up” the writing in the morning. And many, many writers wrote letters and essays to warm up or practice their writing skills, before blogs or computers were around.
The largest benefit is having to organize my thoughts—very, very difficult for me, as we’ve already ascertained. (Fish Oil helps a lot, wow, a lot.) A blog post is small enough to make organizing my thoughts doable, and large enough to exercise my brain’s muscle in doing so.
Secondly, it helps to write in complete sentences. Sometimes this comes naturally to me, and sometimes it doesn’t. I can’t tell you how many writing days I have (about 50%), where just bits come out of my fingers. It’s awful. It seems that writing a sentence ought to be easy for a writer, but some days my brain is so disorganized, that it’s edging toward impossible. I even struggle with it in blog posts, but it’s easier: in a blog post, every sentence need not be as vivid and honed as in fiction. (Maybe it should be, but…)
Third, it forces me to say something, to come up with an idea, to develop it, and to deliver it.
And finally, I get to practice the “finishing” muscle. A novel takes forever and ever to write. Months. Every day, I’m left feeling I have more to do. The task is never completed. Even if I hit the word count, the incompleteness of the entire work nags at me.
Finishing a blog post is satisfying. It gives me that I-did-it feeling, plus the pride of completion—important feelings to practice often. And it’s a reminder that I can finish things, when in the midst of a novel, this confidence can fade, and then writing becomes a struggle.
I think these arguments can also be applied to writing poetry, flash fiction, and short stories—other things I need to start doing more of.
So my goal, from now on, is to compose a blog post, flash fiction, poem (*cringe* as I’m so bad at it), or half a short story every day.
And I should be back on the blogging circuit more. I need to organize my Reader. I have at least 200 feeds, and frankly, that’s too many. I need to at least get my closest friends in one folder so I can read you guys first off, instead of having you disappear amongst 1,000+ unread posts.
Have you let blogging slide? Do you notice any benefits to blogging? Do you write short stories or poems or anything else, to help you write novels? Or just to help you be a writer?