At a recent luncheon with my wonderful group of girlfriends (we call ourselves the Fab Four) I was asked how my next book was coming along. I admitted it wasn't. Every waking hour, I said, was devoted to self-promotion and marketing of my books.

Well, that and my blogs. All three of them.

My good friend who thankfully never censors a single word, blurted, "Well, why are you blogging? You should be writing!"

I considered her question. WHY was I spending all of my precious time on blog posts? Then, it hit me. Or rather, a comment I once read attributed to Ray Bradbury (I think it was Mr. Bradbury) hit me.

He lamented new authors no longer have the wonderful training ground he had when he first started out as a writer. He was grateful to all those magazines that published his short stories. Through them, he learned how to write, and over time (and practice) became a better writer.

I gave that comment a lot of thought. Are new authors at a disadvantage?

Not really. If anything, the opposite is true. I believe the Internet is today's writer's training ground. Blogging gives us the freedom to choose a topic and release it into the world. Better yet, readers drop by to read the post, and if they like what they see they either leave a comment, become a follower of that blog, or BOTH.

Blogging strengthens a writer's skills. In the few short months I've been blogging I've cut my preparation time by half. In the beginning I used to spend hours not only on the post, but just on the basics of how-to post a blog.

Everything I've read and researched about blogging suggests it has to be done frequently to maintain readers. A writer can't just set up a blog, post two or three times, and then abandon it.

Okay. They can. But they shouldn't.

When I worked at a small town community newspaper and sold display advertising my boss explained that effective advertising is an on-going process. It has to be maintained to be effective. (Think Coke and McDonalds. Both names are recognized around the world.)

My boss gave the analogy of an airplane. To get airborne it must use a great deal of fuel and power. To STAY airborne the pilot must keep the engines running. Coasting won't do the trick.

So, think of your blog as an airplane. Keep the engine running. Don't let it crash and burn. Thoughts?