Yes, blogs can be great. By following the blogs of experienced agents, editors, and fellow writers, any aspiring author can tap into unlimited knowledge concerning the publishing biz. Without visiting the library or even subscribing to Writer's Digest, you can receive a wealth of advice and insider information for free! All you need is a computer, a mouse, and one finger for clicking.
There's the danger. Free insider tips can become intoxicating. You want to write better, right now, so why be stingy on yourself when the info comes gratis? Your finger goes to work clicking and subscribing to blog after blog. Some of these web logs are more helpful than others, but hey, since they're free, what's the harm in following them, right? Besides, your fellow writers appreciate it when you subscribe. They're delighted when you leave comments on what they've written.
Before you know it, you've clicked your way into a veritable Niagara of writing lore. Your craft gets swamped by endless cascades of tips, questions, answers, pet peeves, query letters, good proposals, lousy proposals, success stories, horror stories, examples to imitate and bad examples to shun. If finding time to write was hard before, now it becomes nearly impossible because the multitude of blogs consumes all your spare minutes. Worse, each blog that gushes about yet another writer's new contract for a 20-book series paralyzes you.
"Why don't I get offers like that?" you wonder. "What do they know that I don't?" So you plunge back into the endless current of blogs in search of the ever-elusive secrets to success.
Don't. Blog overload can smother your writing career. Whittle down that list of blogs you follow. Pick three, maybe four, that deliver the most precious nuggets of gold and stick to them. Don't worry about that new friend from the conference being offended if you stop commenting. Don't fret about not having your name and avatar plastered in daily comments all across the web.
Now, use those freed-up minutes to add new sentences and paragraphs to push your manuscript forward each day. This way, you'll still be learning, but you'll also be applying that new knowledge and creating manuscripts of your own.
Rick Barry has been freelancing articles and short stories for over twenty years. His two novels to date are Gunner's Run and Kiriath's Quest.