In this excellent post, blogging pioneer and creator of the Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan explains why blogging has improved his writing. This is particularly impressive given that he was already being an accomplished writer when he started blogging:
When I started blogging – writing as clearly, briefly and colloquially as possible – I worried that my ability to write longer essays or books would suffer. The brain muscles associated with longer compositions, structured essays, or book-length arguments like Virtually Normal might atrophy. My writing might become what Leon Wieseltier would derisively call typing (even as I have never witnessed a faster writer than Wieseltier).
But I was wrong. What it did was help me unclog some of my longer pieces and books – I wrote The Conservative Soul while blogging round the clock – and make them clearer and more succinct. The thing about blogging is that it forces you to stop throat-clearing, its chatty, provisional nature mandates simplicity and clarity, and it punishes long-winded guff. I’ve found that the writing skills of interns improve much faster with blogging than they did with old media writing – and I’m lucky enough to have witnessed both in action as a one-time editor of The New Republic and as the pied piper of the Dish.
He also has interesting observations about how the internet seems to improving the writing of school students. It seems to encourage them to write more and with an audience in mind.