Is It a Waste of Time to Write About Writing?

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There is an author I love, who shall remain unnamed in this post, who posted a piece of writing advice on her Goodreads page awhile back that, at least temporarily, made me question what I was doing with my life.

Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, maybe. The magnitude of questioning, not the piece of advice. To aspiring writers, she suggested, and I’m paraphrasing here, that instead of writing about all the books they wanted to write and about their writing progress, they should step away from their blogs and actually get some writing done.

For brand-new writers, or writers who are really struggling to focus and get things done, this is really good advice. But for someone like me, who has been writing for over half her life, it sort of threw me off.

Was I wasting valuable writing time by writing about writing?

At first, I started to think so. Most of the posts I write take around an hour, sometimes less, and I could very easily crank out 500 to 1,000 words of an article I’m getting paid to write, or a novel I’m hoping to get published, instead of spending it “with” you guys.

Yet I’m not sure this author’s advice really applies to me, in the sense that by blogging and connecting with other writers online, I’m actually gaining much more than I’m losing. I’m experienced and disciplined enough to balance it all, whereas a newer writer won’t be – not because they’re not good at what they do, but because they haven’t had years of practice fitting writing into the various hidden crevices of their daily lives.

I think it depends on the person. This is one of unfortunately many cases in which general writing advice is more harmful than it is helpful. I do my best to try and give you advice that you can either apply to your own writing life or pass on to someone who you think might benefit from it. It’s never going to apply to everyone, but generally, we do our best.

You have to do whatever keeps you moving forward when you’re trying to get a lot of writing done. Most days, writing blog posts gets me fired up to do the rest of my writing for the day. I don’t think I would have as much drive to write as much as I do without keeping up this blog. I enjoy it. I enjoy putting my thoughts out there, but more importantly, I enjoy the opportunity to hopefully, maybe, help another writer or two find their way.

It doesn’t feel like wasted time to me. Do you write about writing, via a blog or Facebook groups or other types of forums/websites/other mediums? Does it help you focus, or take away from your productivity as a writer?

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

Image courtesy of Kalyan Chakravarthy/flickr.com.

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4 thoughts on “Is It a Waste of Time to Write About Writing?

  1. I think your admirable but unnamed author is talking through her hat in this case. There’s nothing wrong with writing about writing, or anything else that happens to absorb you. People who write blogs tend to be writers and often find other writers’ ideas and experiences interesting. Besides, as you point out, you/we are not getting paid for this half an hour/500 – 1,000 words – so we can write what we goddam like. Bother her!

    1. Haha!! She may have been responding to a reader who asked how she finds time to write, I would have to look again, but you’re so right – we have to do what we have to do! Whatever works and keeps us writing!

  2. There are times when I think you can blog so much you don’t give yourself enough time to write your novel, though. It has to do with setting priorities and goals and deciding “I’m going to give this much time to blogging, and this much time to my novel.” I find I don’t write much on my blog when I’m seriously writing my novel, and vice versa, because the very time used to do one is the time that could be used to do the other.

    But I wouldn’t say blogging is a waste of time, because it helps build you into a better writer, not to mention all the perks of networking (and finding a group of people who might be interested in reading said novel whenever it gets finished). :-)

    1. I have definitely experienced the struggle that is trying to blog a lot and write a novel at the same time! With my goal of finishing my current book by November, I’m starting to get a little nervous, but something I’ve also found is that you generally have a lot more time and energy than you think you do. If it’s 9:00pm and you don’t think you can spend an hour writing, if you can somehow convince yourself to open that document and start, you’ll have no problem getting another hour of writing in. It’s just that hurdle of actually getting started. Finding balance is hard no matter how long you’ve been writing!

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