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Writing a book? Stop blogging.

Chetan Mahajan

· Writing,Blogging

Authors are writers. So are bloggers. That's where the similarity ends.

Writing a book is the great grandmother of all projects. It is long and arduous. You lock yourself away for days on end to work through reams of pages and interminable edits. Coffee quickly loses any effect and you continue to labor in solitude. After months of interaction with imaginary characters who have little sympathy for their creator, the draft is done. The author - or her barely sane remains - finally declares that her manuscript is done. She then starts approaching publishers or literary agents, and for a first-timer often has to deal with ego-grinding rejections. And then, if lucky, maybe, just maybe, she gets published. And even after the book is published her odds of any fame or glory are statistically about the same as a sperm becoming a mammal.

 

I am an author, and I understand first-hand the pain and destruction associated with writing and publishing a book.

It is no wonder I blog.

Writing a blog post is easy. It is quick. I can write a post and publish it the same day. It means not having to deal with rejection letters or external reviewers or any other such ignominy. Blogging is instant, free and people say nice stuff almost all the time (because they're friends).

The biggest reason authors blog is the instant gratification - I write now and get my friends and followers say nice things to me right now. It is the amniotic warmth of an echo chamber. For all these reasons, it is very tempting for the book-writer to go blogging instead of writing the book. Blogging is the authors escape from the behemoth book project. It is also succumbing to a distracting thief of time and energy.

We are rather torn here at the HWR because we help people in both blogging and in their larger writing projects. But our advice is simple. If you want to blog, we can help. If you want to write, we can help with that too. But we sincerely suggest that if you want to write that book, turn your blog off for a few months. Or maybe you can allow yourself the luxury of one blog post as a reward for completing each milestone of your book writing project.

 

While writer's block is a terrible thing, writer's blog isn't too far behind.

(For all the moralizing, this author is blogging right now as an act of escapism, as his book project awaits his attention.)

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