When I started blogging three years ago, I did it purely as an experiment and because I like writing, whether an article for a magazine, a blog or a novel.
I also knew that blogging can be a very good way for a writer to build a platform, to get your name out there. It can also provide a support network, and build friendships. If writing is your day job, it can be a very lonely profession.
Recently, however, many people in the blogosphere and even in the publishing industry, are doubting whether blogging is good for authors. Shouldn't a writer put all his or her energies into producing the thing they want to to produce, ie books, rather than blog posts?
I've noticed that there's also a school of thought where if you are a non-fiction writer, setting up and keeping an informative blog on your specialist subject is almost a must, whereas for fiction writers it might be more of a distraction to have to keep up blogging as well as 'proper' writing. There's an excellent recent blog post about this on Joanna Penn's blog, The Creative Penn.
Personally, I know I wouldn't be the writer I am today if it wasn't for this blog.
Firstly, my first published novel, The Englishman (which incidentally is on a short free promotion at the moment), was born out of a set of blog posts I started writing here (remember How I Came to be in England?).
Secondly, I've made numerous friends since I started blogging. These online readers and fellows writers have spurred me on in ways I could not have imagined before I started writing a blog. You guys gave me confidence to finish The Englishman, as well as to bring out my other two novels, Coffee and Vodka and The Red King of Helsinki.
Thirdly, I have learned a huge amount about publishing, book marketing, and - yes- writing through having this blog and reading other blogs.
Lastly, writing a blog has taught me discipline in writing. For instance this A-Z Challenge is just what the doctor ordered for me right now. With all of my completed books out, I literally need a kick up the preverbal to get me going on a sequel. (Not telling you which book will have a sequel yet…it'll be a surprise!)
So, for me as a writer, blogging is a must.