Is Blogging for Publication Like Bombing for Peace?

I’m sure you all know how the real phrase goes, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from fellow bloggers extraordinaires, it’s that artistic liberty is part of our job descriptions as writers of words, tellers of tales, and purveyors of the improbable, the strange, and the downright impossible.

         I do feel a need to clarify the above statement. I’m not making any claims that blogging is detrimental to publishing–not at all. I believe blogging is a great way to build a platform, network, and, eventually, promotion. My question, one I’ve been pondering for a while, is related to what is considered “published” material these days. In reading submission guidelines for various publications, contests, etc. most of them consider something posted on a blog as “previously published,” therefore negating it as an acceptable submission. It makes sense: why pay to print something that people can find for free online? This is not a discourse on internet piracy, I’ll leave that to the more impassioned and informed.

        Which brings me, in a roundabout fashion, to the point. How does this affect blogging? If I have stories I write that I want to share with you all because (a) I’m a writer and therefore an exhibitionist and (b) I trust the judgement of my readers and want to know if the story has merit, do I refrain from posting because a 1,000 word blog post may invalidate a 100,000 word novel I write one day? Is that really fair? For example, for those of you that have been following, if I wanted to turn Evie and Owen’s story into a novel for publication, all signs point to rejection.

        I enjoy posting stories that I think might have a future as something else, because I want to post quality stories, stories that I think are important, that I take pride in. Sure, I write stories just for the blog. But, if I wanted to take them somewhere and submit–I couldn’t. I’ve come to a bit of a crossroads. Do I hide all my works in progress away, take them off the blog, and give you only the loose bits and pieces that have no place elsewhere? Or, do I continue writing and posting the stories I would like to see be published (in whatever form or draft) in the hopes that the rules will change?

       There are a lot of question marks in this post–they aren’t rhetorical. I would love to hear from you—whether you have personal experience or not. For as the poet, John Donne said “No writer is an island, darlings.” Or something like that.