Writing for Free: Why I Blog

Work in Progress not progressing? Must be time to write a blog post.

piggy bank girlBlog posts, after all, are just short snippets of thought. They don’t require character arcs, or plot development, or outlines. They don’t require much at all, really, except a quick trigger that is intriguing enough to require more exploration.

I enjoy blogging, or I wouldn’t do it. After all, as an editor-friend says, “What’s the point of writing for free?” My answer (and I won’t pretend it’s anything other than a justification): it’s creatively satisfying. It gives me the chance to share my thoughts and views with others, worried only about communicating an idea and not whether that idea will sell.

But I also wonder if blogging is a bit of a crutch for those of us who fancy ourselves as novelists: when in doubt, write a blog post. It’s kind of like hitting the bottle before breakfast instead of using it as a reward for the hard work that precedes cocktail hour: too easy, too much of a quick fix.

Freeing the creative piece of my brain is impossible if I’m worried about paying the bills. Lately I’ve discovered I also have a hard time being creative if there are too many other demands on my time, making it seem ridiculous to “write for free.” Somewhere in between the two lies my imagination’s mecca: a month of mornings with rain tapping on the window, no looming travel plans, no book signings, and only a slight pressure from clients.

But the next time that might be the case is at least six months from now.

So for now, I try to keep slogging away, writing bits and pieces of a new story in hopes they will eventually add up to a plot that excites me so much I will neglect what I “should” be doing.

After all, it’s hard to complain about being too busy to write for free.

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