Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Does Blogging Help or Hinder Writing a Book?

This guy has the right idea: write a little on your book, write a little on your blog. Keep your creativity flowing, either for immediate or long-term feedback.

“When he has writer's block, John Battelle, author of the forthcoming book "The Search: The Inside Story of How Google and Its Rivals Changed Everything," keeps on writing. But not his book manuscript. Instead, he goes straight to his blog (

Mr. Battelle, a founder of Wired and The Industry Standard magazines, sometimes makes quick notes on the blog about a topic related to his book, and other times posts longer essays. "Writing for the blog is more like having a conversation," Mr. Battelle said.

For years, book authors have used the Internet to publicize their work and to keep in touch with readers. Several, like Mr. Battelle, are now experimenting with maintaining blogs while still in the act of writing their books.

"It is very satisfying to write something and get an immediate response to it," said Mr. Battelle, who calculated that last year he wrote 74,000 words for his book, and 125,000 words on his blog. "It is less satisfying to write a chapter and let it sit on the shelf for six months."

The article, in the New York Times, also talks about how authors build readership through their blogs.

For the last few months I have been doing a lot of writing on my blog. Last week I spent five days at the Huntington Library in delicious solitude, leafing through 19th century Los Angeles county court documents. Do you know how hard it is to read that elaborate handwriting hour after hour? But I found some amazing trial transcripts that shed light on the business world of 1875 Los Angeles. So now I have to write. On my book. A lot. This blog will suffer.

It’s interesting to note that a number of others have taken a break from blogging. It’s tough to be entertaining and provocative day in and day. Sometimes ideas flow, other times they get stuck.

Ed of the Return of the Reluctant is taking a break. Carrie of Tingle Alley gets so distracted by the Internet when she is working on her novel that she recently bought a typewriter to get work done.

1 comment:

Dave Munger said...

How about if your blog is your book? I started Cognitive Daily as a place to keep research notes for my book project. It's cool, because every time I write research notes, I get to put them online and see what people thing.

However, sometimes I do need to get away from the 'Net. Thankfully not all coffee shops have wireless Internet -- yet.