Should aspiring writers blog?

I keep running across blog posts here and there that say aspiring writers shouldn’t blog. Hmm.

I didn’t start blogging so I could feel like a real author. 

It wasn’t a decision I made on a whim. I thought about it and made sure it was something I’d be committed to. And that I wanted to do.

Some say it’s a waste of time. I should be focused on writing. Well, I am focused on writing and the need to keep growing as a writer. Blogging never comes before my writing.

I blog for several reasons:

  1. To have a web presence.
  2. To support authors and help promote friends who are published.
  3. To have this part figured out before I am published.
  4. To find a community.

And out of all the reasons I started blogging, one reason has become my biggest defense.


It’s the rare author whose blog puts them on the best seller list. It is the writing/story that sells books.

So blog because you want to. And for the right reasons (not because you think it will get you published.) And never let social media take up more of your time than it should.

And don’t feel like you have to blog if you don’t want to. It’s a personal decision.

Why do you blog? And what have you gotten out of it? Do you ever feel like you shouldn’t be?


24 Responses to Should aspiring writers blog?

  1. Sherrie Petersen September 17, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    I had no idea I would feel such a sense of community with people I’d never met, but bloggers are awesome. I’m so glad to be part of this online writing community.

  2. Carole Anne Carr September 17, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    Naturally gregarious! And writing can be a lonely business, I can take a break and chat for a moment… hugs..

  3. anne gallagher September 17, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    If I hadn’t started blogging I wouldn’t be where I am today, finishing up my second book and heading into the query wars again.

    I’m ashamed to think of what I didn’t know.

    And I’m so glad I do blog. Without this community I don’t know where I’d be. Probably half strung out on an overdose of chocolate, babbling to myself incoherantly at Starbucks asking people if they know how to spell ‘was’.

  4. Quinn September 17, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    I started blogging for pretty much the same reasons as you. Well, actually, it was more for the first reason — to get a web presence. But now that I’ve been blogging, I say I blog mostly for the community. The people I’ve met and talked to have been great.

    • Laura September 17, 2010 at 10:54 am #

      I’m glad I’m not the only one. I had to wait a few weeks before I could even post this because I didn’t want to come across as defensive in an angry way. As with all of you, the online community is pretty awesome – and esp. when we’re in the query wars – it can be what encourages us the most! I can see how maybe famous authors blog more for their audience but I’m sure they all feel that sense of community too!

  5. Andrea September 17, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    Laura, the community is one of the reasons why I blog too. It’s so nice to feel the support of other writers.

    I also learn a lot from reading blogs – about approaching agents, writing strategies, or how to cope with the challenges that writing brings to my life.

  6. kris September 17, 2010 at 11:52 am #

    I started blogging for myself as an online journal. As I made connections, I found it more exciting to come up with interesting posts and the community is just wonderful–so the blog expanded. When Laura started blogging in earnest, she inspired me to step up my own blog. (so thank you! 🙂 )

    It’s good to know that unpublished writers don’t HAVE to blog–but I can’t imagine how blogging would be an impediment (unless of course the blog in question is inappropriate.)

    And last time I checked, I WRITE my blog–so as far as I’m concerned I’m still writing when I blog. 🙂

  7. Jennifer Shirk September 17, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    I first started blogging because of peer pressure. LOL I wasn’t published but my friends kept telling me to do it. So I did. It really became fun when people started visiting and commenting. Writing is such a lonely business. It’s a great way to meet other writers and gather and give support.

  8. Stina Lindenblatt September 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    If I didn’t blog, I wouldn’t have found . . .

    all the great advice that’s helped me improve as a writer.

    a great community of writers, many who are now my friend.

    Some great CPs and beta readers.

    Some awesome books to read and authors to fall in love with.

    Sure, I’d have more time for my writing, but I think the benefits far out weight the one negative. 😉

    • Laura September 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

      Wow! So I guess the response is overwhelming and that most of you feel as I do. That the benefits have outweighted the time cost. Even if we’re not agented yet. Even if we’re not published yet. And, even if we don’t have a 1,000 followers yet.

  9. Laura Marcella September 17, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    I do know what people mean about non-authors having a blog. Sometimes I do think it’s a little silly for me to have a blog because I hardly have any professional writing experience (as in querying, finding an agent, etc. I’m just not there yet). I wish I could provide more helpful content, but I suppose I’ll get better as I continue pursuing my dream and gain more experience in the writing and publishing industry.

    I started blogging because I wanted to find other people who shared the same passion for writing and books and reading like I have. And did I ever! It’s been a terrific decision. 🙂

  10. Paul September 17, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    For me the best thing about bloggin has been connecting with people, especially other writers. I’ve met amazing people and valuable critique partners who are turning into close friends, all through blogging.

    I had no idea this would happen when I started my blog. I’d read very few blogs beyond the agent blogs that taught me a thing or two about how to query letter. Basically, I focused on my writing. I’d resigned from my job to write full-time and took it very seriously–like it was my new job. I devoured craft books, studied novels written in my genre, and wrote and wrote and wrote.

    I think the right time to start a blog is up to the individual. If I’d known how fun it was and how much I would learn, I probably would have started mine earlier:-)

  11. Laura Pauling September 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    Thanks Laura and Paul – both perspectives are helpful. And Paul, I think we all need to be doing what you did – learning as much as we can – and not put blogging first. Who cares if we have 1,000 followers if our writing isn’t improving? All good points.

  12. Susan R. Mills September 17, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    I blog so that I can interact with other writers. I’ve gained knowledge and friendship. I’ve felt the need to take a break from it a couple of times, but for the most part, it’s been a blessing not a burden.

  13. Anna September 17, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    I think when people blog only because they feel they have to, then it’s probably best for them not to be blogging. I blog for the reasons you listed, but I also blog because it gives me a chance to figure out my thoughts about different aspects of writing. If I didn’t write about those things, I probably wouldn’t think about them as carefully.

  14. Andrea Vlahakis September 17, 2010 at 7:16 pm #

    Oh, I agree with Anna–if you’re blogging because you feel you have to then you probably shouldn’t be blogging. But if you do anything because you feel you have to, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Just today I had a student who felt she should write a vampire novel, even though she doesn’t write YA–or want to. How many guesses on whether this novel will work or not?

    I think your list of reasons is spot on, especially the fourth one. I didn’t imagine the community that would form or that I’d be part of.

    • Laura September 17, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

      Susan – Agreed! Def. more of a blessing!

      Anna – I missed that one. I love sorting out what I’ve learned and typing it out. Or asking questions to my more experienced readers!

      Andrea – And maybe that’s who certain people were referring to when they said aspiring writers don’t need to blog – the writers that don’t really want to and post infrequently. But still, maybe they had to do it to learn they didn’t want to?

  15. Martha Calderaro September 17, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    I have a mild blog presence (wait, does that sound like an illness?). A main reason is that my other writing comes first, and when you add other commitments — freelance work, family, etc., etc. — there’s only so much time. That said, having a blog and reading others’ have been essential in making contacts in the writing world and improving my craft. I agree, the best part is having chance to “meet” many talented, funny, wise, and creative folks!

  16. Lynn September 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    I was surprised to read you have come across posts that say aspiring writers should not blog. Many posts (and marketers) agree that social media is a benefit for writers (and most businesss, actually). I blog to learn, and to write. It does take up writing time, but I am allowing it to presently. And can take breaks when I need too. Writing bloggers understand that, another way the blogging community is supportive.

  17. Dayana Stockdale September 18, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    I read something that said all aspiring authors should blog, and so I started. At first, I wasn’t fully into it and felt like I had to do it. Then I realized it wasn’t necessary, I took a step back from it, and then decided I wanted to do it on my own.
    Writing is a hard job. Its tough to work so hard for so long and not get paid or recognized. Its also lonely work. I like blogging just to interact with other writers. Read their advice, share some of mine, encourage each other. I have a lot fun doing it.
    Also, I actually understand the publishing industry now! If I wasn’t reading agent and editor and pubbed author blogs and engaging with them and asking questions then I’d still know as much about the industry as I did last year–next to nothing.
    Blogs are without a doubt The Best place to get writing and publishing info. Most websites can’t compare to what authors and agents are saying on their blogs!
    But, I agree that writing comes first. 🙂

    • Laura September 18, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

      Martha – We can only do what we can do. Especially, if we don’t have a book deal. There is no best way to blog.

      Lynn – I agree. The information out there totally contradicts eachother. Some publishing professional feel a blog will totally help. Others think there are too many aspiring writer blogs out there clogging up the system. Totally depends on who you talk to.

      Dayana – I read different blogs for different reason. Some are entertaining. Some are encouraging. Others are helpful. I like them all.

  18. Jemi Fraser September 20, 2010 at 1:46 am #

    I did begin blogging on a whim – a friend suggested I should. I checked out 2 of her posts, 2 posts of another friend and started. 🙂 Those were the only 2 blogs I’d seen – ever!

    I had no idea it would be so much fun or so addicting!

  19. Marcia September 20, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    I like your points a lot, but I especially identify with 1 and 3. When I published most of my books nobody was blogging yet. Heck, they were hardly online. I have a site, but it’s not active enough right now. The way to keep renewing my web presence, I felt, was to blog. When I publish again, I don’t want the promo learning curve to be any steeper than it already is, and I want agents who might look me up to find something fresh and current. Building a community goes hand in hand with writing a blog that people actually read, and it’s such a wonderful benefit.

  20. Sarah Mullen Gilbert September 21, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    You said it, Laura, it’s about community. Blogging and reading blogs takes time, yes, but I’ve connected with so many wonderful and supportive people. Not to mention all the great book recommendations 🙂

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