Gotta blog? Good. Here are five ways that blogging benefits you and your writing -- without you doing anything except blogging:
1. A blog forces you to write every day. When you write every day, you get better at it, so your blog develops your writing skills;
2. A blog stops you "writing". In other words, you stop being conscious of the fact that you're writing, and you just communicate. A wise man said that you need to write a million words before you become a writer. IMHO, the million words create the connections between all areas of your brain, your mind, and your heart, so that you write simply, clearly and effectively. Note: developing your ability to write in clearly etc is a lifetime effort. Your blog makes this (almost) effortless;
3. If I had a choice, I'd love to write like Stephen King. Or Charles Dickens. But, I can only write like me, just as you can only write like YOU. Since writing is an act of DISCOVERY, you don't know how to write like you -- you just write. When you just write, your writing topics and your writing skills develop unconsciously. The writing is your writing, for good or for ill. Your blog shows you the kind of writer YOU are;
4. Your blog gives you ideas for writing. I always advise my writing students not to begrudge their prewriting warm-ups. They help you to write better, and to write more. Don't believe me?
OK, try it. Tomorrow, before you start your writing stint, spend five minutes free writing. Just set a timer, and write anything that comes to your mind for five minutes. The only rule is that you can't stop writing. Watch what happens the rest of the day: you'll write more. And your writing will be better and easier.
Your blog is your daily writing warm-up which will help you to develop ideas.
5. Your blog makes you fearless. Hate sending out submissions to editors? Your blog will cure you of your anxiety. When you blog, you know that your writing will be read, and you get used to writing for an audience. You begin to realize that people must enjoy your writing, or they wouldn't be reading your blog. After you've been blogging for a while, you'll send out submissions with confidence.