Our speaker at the September meeting of my writer's group did a presentation on blogging, particularly on how starting a blog can help writers. We had a pretty lively discussion, both on the basics of blogging (best providers, designing the layout, cost, etc.) and content. I'm fairly new to the blogging scene, but I was able to share some of what I've learned throughout the course of blogging fairly regularly.
Another writer friend and I have had an ongoing discussion (debate?) on what to put in a blog post. She argued that anything you put in a blog post is considered to be a published work and therefore, the blog could keep the first-time rights of your work. I couldn't dispute that, but I then argued that you shouldn't post anything in a blog that could be a potential money-making idea elsewhere--i.e. a possible article or short story idea. If you blog long enough, you'll learn to identify when a post sounds like it could be more of an article idea.
In my opinion, blogging is especially effective for writers in the following ways:
Helps you become disciplined. Since I made the commitment to start a blog, I aimed to post 3 days a week. It's become part of my routine, like going to the gym and working on other assignments. I feel guilty if I don't have a few posts in the works or ideas for future posts. I love the "Post Options" function in Blogger, because I can save what I've already done, then go back and make changes. I can also schedule the posts ahead of time, so they'll be up without my having to worry about it. I've also found that having to think of a constant stream of blog ideas dovetails nicely into coming up with article ideas or speaker topics for my writers' group.
A way to share your knowledge and learn from others. My blog is about the "trials and triumphs of the writing life", so I can share my successes, rejections, and lessons I learned throughout the process of both. I also enjoy reading other writers' blogs to see how they may have handled the same issue.
Vent about issues. Same as above. It's nice to know that there are other writers out there grappling with some of the same concerns.
What are some other ways that blogging can help writers?