I’ve been a blogger for a little more than 20 years and in that time I’ve written a little more than 20 books: novels for adults; novels for teens; short story collections; essay collections; graphic novels for adults, highschoolers and middle-schoolers; a picture-book for small children, and book-length nonfiction on various subjects. I’ve written and delivered some hundreds of speeches as well, for several kinds of technical and non-technical audience, as well as for young kids and teens.
Over that same period, I’ve published many millions of words of work in the form of blog-posts. Far from competing with my “serious” writing time, blogging has enabled me to write an objectively large quantity of well-regarded, commercially and critically successful prose that has made many readers happy enough that they were moved to tell me about it — and to inspire some readers to rethink their careers and lives based on how my work made them feel.
There’s a version of the “why writers should blog” story that is tawdry and mercenary: “Blog,” the story goes, “and you will build a brand and a platform that you can use to promote your work.”
Virtually every sentence that contains the word “brand” is bullshit, and that one is no exception.