Blogging is NOT good practice for fiction…

No substitute for writing fiction…

I’ve ran across this before: “You should write everyday. So, blog if you can’t write a story,” or something similar. Perhaps you’ve heard this or something like it. DON’T LISTEN!

Blogging is not good practice for fiction. Why not? I’m writing aren’t I? Well, yes you are, but that doesn’t mean it will improve your fiction writing. It will probably help with with any non-fiction writing you are doing.

Saying that blogging will help your (fiction) writing is like saying painting houses will help you paint the Mona Lisa. It won’t. It can’t. The skills required for writing fiction are not the same as those to create a blog. Sure, there is some overlap, but only a little.

Now, if you post short stories, flash fiction, or excerpts of your novel in your blog, that is a different story entirely.

I know we writers don’t always have time to sit down and pound out a ten thousand word short story, but we can do a 500 word blog about what kind of shoes we are wearing today. Why? Because to write good fiction we must engage a part of our mind that creates not only good prose, but good stories. Blogging does not require our minds to create, only to report. The same goes for writing emails, letters, or any other type of writing that isn’t fiction.

I only rant about this because I’ve seen it a lot in the bloggosphere, and wanted to stab it in the heart and kill it now.

If you want to become a better writer, then write fiction everyday. Use writing prompts, rewrite your favorite short story from your own perspective, or any other exercise you can think of, but engage your imagination. Don’t simply tell yourself you have completed your writing for the day because you finished a blog today. Challenge yourself.

Rant finished.

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13 thoughts on “Blogging is NOT good practice for fiction…

  1. I have to put in my two cents on this. The blogging may not make you a better fiction writer, it may not even make you a better writer. But what it can do for you is shake ideas loose, and by that I mean; when I am stuck in the middle of a story, not sure where to go, all I need to do sometimes is come here and write out where I’m at, what I’m doing and often, in the process of doing so, I’ll shake something out that resembles what I was trying to do in the first place.

    So I argue that blogging can help a writer, but, like you said, not by making them a better fiction writer. I’m sure I could be argued back, but it may just be semantics at that point.

    • Codex, I absolutely agree with you. Blogging is an excellent writing tool. And, certainly, writing a blog post is better than writing nothing.

      I posted this mostly because I had read a blog post that said, “well, I didn’t write anything on my story, but I blogged, so all is good,” or something to that affect. It got me thinking about it, and I realized I was doing the same thing! Rather than taking 15-20 minutes to work on a story, I was blogging. That’s no good. And the coda of “write every day” can be misleading.

      Thanks for your thoughts, and your experiences. I am a new blogger, so I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Cheers.

  2. I completely agree with your point that blogging and fiction are actually different forms of craft (just as fiction and journalism, technical writing, poetry, etc. are). Where I find blogging helpful is when I: a.) read other posts that might spark something, or b.) post an exercise I’ve done in the past. Usually that peps up my recall and gets the circuits firing. It comes down to portion control in the end: A little blogging, a little blog reading, a great deal of fiction writing, a great deal of literary reading.

  3. Hm. I’m gonna take sort of the the opposite approach on this. They aren’t the same, but there is some cross over and some things you can learn. Let’s start with hook. Both your blog and your story better hook the reader or they aren’t gonna be read. Voice: I think it takes awhile for people to find their voice in both story and blogging. Blogging is a good way to experiment with different techniques. Narrative: a blog post and a story’s body needs to hold up well or your going to lose the writer’s interest. Editing: don’t know about you, but I edit the hell out of both to make them more concise and better to read. Marketing: this is weird, but its true. We want more people to read our blogs. We do things to try to get more readership. When we publish our stories, maybe our blog subscribers will take a gander. Great post!

    • Hey Dan,

      Those are really good points. That is a good expansion of what Codex said as well.

      Let me ask you this. While I don’t disagree with you, would you say that blogging, like journalism, approaches these shared traits with fiction from a different angle? Of course, I suppose it depends on what type of piece you are writing. But, it would seem that a hook for a blog or new piece might differ in style from a fiction piece.

      I ask earnestly here, as I have never written any type of editorial piece, aside from my blogs. Do you have any experience with that type of writing professionally, or have you had any journalism classes? I’d be fascinated to find out how that type of writing approaches those aspects you mentioned.

      Great thoughts. Thank you.

      • I haven’t had any journalism classes, so couldn’t say for sure. Just reading some of my favorite journalists, though, they do share some of the same traits as fiction writers: hook, voice/style, etc. They are often good story tellers in their articles. I have written scholarly type manuscripts. There are a few cross overs with fiction, but its not the same at all (my wife, who has written plenty of scholarly works but no fiction, seems to think so–silly female).

      • Sounds good Dan, thanks.

        I know I have a book around here somewhere on article writing. I may have to dig it out and read it a bit. Might learn something that could help both my blogging and my fiction. You can never learn enough, right?

  4. I think writing about the process helps me with the process – but anything can become a distraction for sure. Having posted a blog today is not a good excuse for not getting on with what I know I need to be doing on the novel – but I suppose it is better than nothing at all. By the way – love your blog title.

    • I agree with that idea. I suppose it is like anything else. The more you write about it, the more of it that sinks in, strengthening those mental pathways.

      Thanks for stopping in!

  5. I totally get it! I blog a lot now, and it’s not helping my other writing one bit, although sometimes I get seduced into feeling like I’m writing deep stuff, and it feels like I’m satisfying a writing itch. It does keep the muscles going – but I think you have to write fiction on a blog for it to help your fiction writing! And that’s just nakedness — I wouldn’t want to do that.

    • Ha! I know what you mean. I was really reluctant to put my early stories on here, unedited at that! But, I think we learn a lot about writing from bad fiction as well as good fiction. And besides, none of my friends or family know I even have a blog, so my exposure is strictly with strangers!

      Thanks for stopping in!

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