To blog or not to blog? This topic frequently pops up on writers' blogs. I'm supposed to write about this subject because I'm a writer AND a blogger. I'll fan the flames a little and declare that I'm firmly in the camp of don't blog if you don't feel it. If you write fiction, don't go fumbling around to start a blog. Why? Am I a turncoat? Let me be stingy for you. The fact is, if you have time to write, write your novel. Don't blog.
Why do I blog? Because sometimes it's just easier to jump on this little wagon than pull out the novel. "Ah," so you say, "I'm a procrastinator." Nope. Easily distracted, but not much of a procrastinator. I write every day. Maybe not fiction. But I do write. Does that count? Who's judging here?
But save yourself! Don't start a blog because the social media gurus and the indie-wonks demand that YOU MUST. That's a pile of fartooie (on a blog, I can make up words. You can do the same in your books. Give it a whirl. See if it drives your crit partners crazy).
Write because you love to write, whenever and wherever you have the space and time. It's Holy. A skyscraper H. Find your center in your words. Share them and make the world better. Uplifted yet? I'll share this, too, from Verlyn Klinkenborg, who wrote at the end of a piece in the NYT last June:
Whenever I teach older students, whether they're undergraduates, graduate students or junior faculty, I find a vivid, pressing sense of how much they need the skill they didn't acquire earlier in life. They don't call that skill the humanities. They don't call it literature. They call it writing -- the ability to distribute their thinking in the kinds of sentences that have a merit, even a literary merit, of their own.
Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn't merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you.
No one has found a way to put a dollar sign on this kind of literacy, and I doubt anyone ever will. But everyone who possesses it -- no matter how or when it was acquired -- knows that it is a rare and precious inheritance.