To write, or not to write?
Consider this a state of the blog address, or even a state of Bill Thompson the faux movie critic/blogger address. What do I mean by that sentence, well, I think the activity on this blog should answer that question. However, I’m sure it doesn’t so let me explain exactly what I’m talking about. And remember, this entry is about me, and no one else, just for clarification purposes.
I originally created Bill’s Movie Emporium in 2008 for me and only me. Along the way I picked up a lot of readers, far more than I ever thought would care to read what I have to say. Fast forward to 2011 and people stopped reading my blog. It never really bothered me, but I went from averaging four-five digit views a day to somewhere just South of five hundered a day. Again, this never bothered me much as the blog had always been, and remains, nothing more than a tool for me to express myself through my love of movies. As long as two people are reading my reviews and engaging with me in intelligent discourse then I’m a happy man.
I haven’t been a happy man when it comes to film for about a year now. Productivity at the blog slowed down, and eventually I stopped feeling the need to watch movies and write about them. It even got to the point where my beloved Splatter Time Fun Fest was shortened for the year of 2014 and I didn’t bother with the annual Bloody Machete Awards post that I had so much fun with. My passion to write about and discuss movies had waned, and so too had my interest in the blog (In the interest of full disclosure, I wrote every one of this year’s Splatter Time Fun Fest reviews much earlier in 2014 and thus all the reviews being posted in October does not represent a renewed interest in writing about film on my part).
It really comes back to the idea of discussion. To be frank, discussing movies became a draining matter. It seemed like I had to defend every opinion I put forth to levels that I found ludicrous. I couldn’t offer a take or an opinion anymore, whether here or at any number of message boards or groups. If I dared to say I liked a movie that someone else hated, or I was lukewarm on a “recognized” classic the onus fell on me to justify myself. I was fine with that position for many years, but eventually it wore me down. I no longer wanted to supply my opinion because I didn’t have the energy to defend myself for hours on end. What good is a film blog where the blogger no longer feels the desire to discuss his opinions?
To be clear, I am perfectly fine with others disagreeing with me. Disagreement is the lifeblood of discussion, and I love civil discussion. Which brings us to my second point, the lack of civil discussion I was/am encountering. I’d always dealt with people who attacked me with vitriol. In 2014 I’d had my fill, and really could have done without any number of the “You didn’t like Movie A; you’re a fucking idiot” comments that I sifted through on a weekly basis. We all like what we like and dislike what we dislike, I wish people would be more open to others having a different opinion from them. Alas, the majority of people online do not and all the personal attacks made it where I felt wary of entering the fray and thus stopped watching/writing about as many movies.
Another large hurdle for me is that outside of vitriolic comments I don’t receive many, if any, comments at the blog anymore. I write for myself, but I write because I love the discussions that can come about because of the subjective nature of film. Those discussions have died at Bill’s Movie Emporium, replaced instead by the sound of crickets and the occasional “You’re a shitty writer, you suck” comment. Needless to say, those reactions don’t exactly give me the itch to stroke the keyboard.
Lastly, I do feel I deserve some recognition as a decent writer/critic. This is very selfish, I am fully aware of that. And no, I don’t need people coming to my blog telling me that I’m awesome. I’m not talking about words of praise for my writing, or even being paid. Rather, I’m referring to my yearly failure to be recognized as a critic by the Online Film Critics Society. I know being rejected by them shouldn’t matter, but it does. When I see guys/gals who started writing about film at the same time as me being accepted into the ranks of the OFCS while I am denied, it matters. Scrolling through the list of OFCS members and realizing that I’m a better critic/writer than a number of them, that hurts. As I said, this is a selfish diatribe, but it’s my blog and I’m allowed to vent my selfish frustrations over the OFCS telling me year after year that I meet all their criteria, but I’m just not a good enough writer to be in their ranks.
Does all of this mean I am done writing at Bill’s Movie Emporium and closing up shop? Nope, that’s not happening, mainly because I am stubborn and refuse to quit. Don’t expect to read a slew of reviews from me, but reviews will trickle in from time to time. Maybe I’ll find enjoyment from writing about movies again, I sure hope I’m able to do as such. But, I don’t see much change coming in the online film community and that doesn’t leave me with much in the way of an incentive to come back to the world of online film discussion/blogging on a more full time basis. I’m still going to contribute to Sound on Sight and The Gentlemen’s Blog to Midnite Cinema, albeit on a very limited basis. I’ll still be writing at Bill’s Movie Emporium every once in a great while. But, the enjoyment is no longer present, and that leaves me without a smile on my face, but such is life sometimes.