Another plus point was that this evening it was light enough to get almost all the way home on sidelights only, which was fortunate because I had noticed, when pulling into my parking space last night, that one of the dipped headlight bulbs has died. Ooops! Must get it replaced on Saturday.
Everyone's talking about it, so all I'll just say in response to Robin Hobb's rant against blogging is... matociquala! Not to mention the many other people on my friends' list who are both productive as writers and who also blog.
LiveJournal and Usenet is, for me, the sort of socialising that many other people do down at the pub or via chatting to friends on the phone or attending local writers' groups etc. Because of my location and the hours I work, face-to-face writers' meetings are next to impossible to get to. SF and fantasy writers' meetings are non-existent. But the Internet is there and with asynchronous communication, it doesn't matter if some of my friends are in New Zealand and America.
I'm sure there are writers who get lured into blogging and neglect the writing. But it could just as easily be another distraction. If you want to write, you will write. One of the reasons I bought the Asus Eee was so that I could work away from the Internet if I felt it was going to stop me writing. But I mostly blog when I'm not in a fit state to write good fiction -- like tonight. I'm blogging now after a long day at work and under the effects of a cold. I can just about manage coherent prose. I couldn't, however, manage to juggle plot, character and description to write a vivid scene. :)
I know there have been times when I have thought, "Oh, I'll just check my email," and then a couple of hours have gone by as I've read rasfc and LJ and had a chuckle over lolcats and perhaps looked at Flickr, but I can also point to the 75,000 words of novel that I produced under the influence of the LJ community novel_in_90. I wouldn't have been able to write so many words so fast without the camaraderie in that group.
There is, in fact, a concept amongst educationalists called "communities of practice". Basically it states that people learn not just by attending lectures and reading books but by being with other people practising in the same field. Writers are solitary and scattered, so without rasfc and LJ I would have a completely unrealistic idea of the life of a full-time writer. I also wouldn't have picked up so many useful ways tackling the job of writing. Even experienced writers can learn from others because each book is different and as many of us have found, you only learn to write this novel, not novels in general. When the usual way fails to work any more, looking for other ways of approaching the task can offer a way forward.
So *shrug* it's a case of "Writer know thyself". If you want to blog and have online friends and you can keep it in proportion, then it can only be good. If it's going to absorb all your time or you're only starting a blog because the marketing department of your publishing house has said that a writer must have one, then I suggest that you forget it.