I personally think working on my platform is fascinating. I love putting myself out there and meeting new people and becoming part of a community. However, the time you spend blogging, tweeting, facebooking, emailing, all that fun stuff, means you aren't actually writing. And writing is what makes a writer.
Especially in todays publishing world. The more you produce the more you have to work with and market and experiment with traditional vs. self-publishing or a mix...in other words, its good to have lots of stuff out there. (This is obviously mostly from a business standpoint. Everyone has their own ideas and strategies as far as artistic creativity, but we writers really do have to be business-people to make our writing careers work.)
But having a platform is also important. If people don't know about your book, they won't read it. Simple as that. Building a platform and networking is how you increase your readership and have a good relationship with the readership you already have. At least thats part of it.
So how do you balance the two? For me, at least, its about setting rules for yourself. Set a word count that you have to reach before you can go online (1000 words is a good rule of thumb), or maybe set a limit on your platform-building, non-writing time. Personally, I try and give myself a list of things I have to do each day, which includes a word count and things like daily blogging.
What has helped you accomplish these two sides of a writing career? For the actual writing, what helps you actually sit down and get the words down? What are your favorite tools for platform building? What has helped you reach the most people, both in your writing and networking?
Hope this helps! I'd love to hear some of your ideas.