I have noticed a strange, positive, effect blogging has had upon me. When I began I wondered what I could write about once or twice a week. I decided to focus upon my epic, Gods Among Men, and the issues I deal with in trying to write, edit, and eventually publish it.
I discovered there was only so much I could say about editing before I began repeating myself. And since I haven't tried to publish Gods Among Men yet there is nothing to say on that subject.
This left writing itself for me to blog about. Yes, I did post tidbits about the group meetings and such, but most of my posts became about my story. My ideas, goals, characters, plot, how Gods Among Men fits into literary genres and so forth.
Writing the blog forced me to put concrete words to amorphous ideas. To take ill-formed concepts and express them in a clear, concise fashion. At least, as clear and concise as my talent and verbose tendencies will allow.
As one of many possible examples, consider my protagonist and antagonist. I knew in my head, more or less, what I wanted from them as characters, but I had never clearly expressed those ideas aloud even to myself. In my story I had to write about them in an indirect, literary, fashion. When I wrote about them in the blog, however, I was required to state directly who they are, what they want, how they fit into the plot, and so forth.
As I blogged about these important characters I would write a sentence, reread it, and say, "No that's not right." So I would re-write it and say, "closer, but still not right." And so on until I discovered the phrase that captured, for me, what I was doing and why. In this process the general, often non-specific, thoughts in my head gelled into strong central themes.
These themes were always in my work, but in an ad hoc, sometimes unintentional, fashion. Now I see them with better eyes and can craft the scenes to support and enhance those themes in a more rigorous way. Blogging about my writing made me a better writer.
I plan to continue this trend in future posts. To lay out more details about the characters, culture, and world in my story. It could be considered a huge writing exercise of sorts. The result may well be of interest to me alone, but since I am doing this primarily for my own benefit I can live with that. In any event, for those interested in improving their own writing I can recommend blogging about your writing. It certainly has helped me.