I once attended a writer's conference where the food was absolutely scrumptious. Actually, the food at most conferences is scrumptious -- at the snack tables if not at the meals themselves. Anyway, at this particular conference I was part of a group sitting around a table eating juicy, fresh fruit, and one person said, "Y'know, if this writing thing doesn't work out, I think I'll be a writer's groupie just for the food." We all had a great laugh, but that concept of "writer's groupie" has never left me.
Writing has lots of facets, many of which aren't actually writing. Most of them are either extremely helpful or downright necessary -- doing market research, doing topic research, attending conferences, planning and doing author visits, reading how-to books on writing, visiting blogs and message boards, keeping financial records that will square with Uncle Sam, setting up a website, and more. But if we throw ourselves into these things with gusto yet find the writing itself is just kind of piddling along -- are we in danger of becoming mere groupies? We hang around writing, but we don't really do it? "Oh no!" we may cry. "I write! I write every day if I can. Even if I get only a line or two done on my story, I email my friends. I write old-fashioned letters to Great-Aunt Helen who doesn't have a computer. I send cheery notes written on pretty cards to my family. I journal. I blog. I . . ."
Wait a sec. I fully agree that any and all writing improves our writing skills. But those of us who blog and visit blogs know what a time suck blogging is. More so than most other forms of non-WIP* writing.
Not long ago I visited an agent's blog; he had just begun posting again after a long hiatus. His explanation for the gap was along the lines of "I wasn't sure what the point was." Meaning blogging was peripheral, it "hung around" his real purpose. It wasn't the main thing, but it was feeding off the main thing.
So what do you think? Does your blogging play groupie to your writing? Does the sheer time element of blogging make it a gigantic step forward in self-delusion about how much writing you do? And finally, am I making any sense? :)
* WIP = work in progress