Is blogging a waste of time?

A friend of mine from grad school commented on my Facebook page the other day that, while she likes me and doesn’t want to offend, she hates the whole idea of blogs, even mine. Here’s how she put it:

I honestly don’t “get” blogs. If I have free time, I would MUCH rather spend it working on a novel rather than anything else. I like YOU–very much — it’s just the whole concept of “blogging” that is problematic to me and has been for years. It seems narcissitic to me and reeks of self-promotion over production. No one needs to know what you’re thinking every day. They just need to read your work. And to do that, you need to be focusing on the WORK not your “writerly image.” 

She goes on, but that’s the gist. And in some ways I agree. No one needs to know what I’m thinking every day. But I also have to take her comment with a grain of salt. See, this is a woman who produces a book about once a year. She is prolific, to say the least.

Unfortunately, not all writers can work on their novel all day every day. I wish I were one of those people, but honestly, if I’ve worked on my novel for four hours in a day I’m pretty happy with that. The rest of the time I’m exercising other writerly muscles, like my freelance work or my blogging (which I really only spend about an hour on every week).

I think blogging can be promotional, but it really only works in that capacity once you’re a big enough celebrity that people want to read what you have to say, at which point, do you really need the promotion? No. For me blogging is more about discipline and expression. The discipline of writing something regularly (for me it’s Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and the expression of myself in my writer community.

I’m pretty sure most of the people who ready my blog are my other writer/artist type friends, so I see this as a way to talk about what I’m working on, how I’m feeling about it, etc. I also like to share little things I discover that make my life easier as a writer. Certainly nobody’s under any obligation to read it, but I enjoy writing it. And I enjoy reading my friend’s blogs and knowing what they’re up to (I’ve listed some of my favorites on my blog roll in the right hand column, btw).

So maybe it is a waste of time, and narcissistic, but I like it.

Excuse me, I need to go spend some time gazing loving into the mirror now.

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