Thursday, September 16, 2010

2 Years Of More Or Less Not Sucking


Thanks for being here.

Today marks Things That Don’t Sucks second anniversary!!!

(Aw you don't have to get me anything... Though if you do read the blog regularly and want to press the Follow Button I won't stop you...)

Kinda…

You see technically I registered the domain name on June 17th, so my anniversary was three months ago. And then again my commitment underwent such a seismic shift around July 1st of last year that I seriously considered pulling a retcon and writing a one year anniversary post when that date rolled around this year.

But that as Roy Batty would remind us, would be unsporting.

Two years ago I started with a statement of purpose, and a post about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Things quickly went downhill from there.

So instead, since I blogged the wrong way for a year, and have I hope, blogged in what is more or less the right way for a year, I thought I might share a few thoughts about blogging that I have been having and even offer a bit of advice.




Now yes, I know this is perilously close to teaching your grandmother to suck eggs. But bear with me here. In the course of a year, I took Things That Don’t Suck from a blog that nobody was reading, to a blog that some people are reading. My readership may not be huge, but it is very much an appreciated one (and intelligent and uncommonly good looking as well), and even though my little corner of the internet may never reach the size with which Glenn Kenny will wish to feud (Oh to dream...) I have at least shaken off that feeling of schiziophrenia, of talking to one’s self, that plagues so many bloggers in the early going.

The reason I didn’t retcon myself a one year anniversary. Is the same reason I don’t delete my old posts, or alter them in any way aside from the occasional typo clean up when I spot them. It would be dishonest, and dishonesty is really the thing that will unseat a blogger.

Because the thing that I didn’t understand then, that I get now, is that though blogging is film criticism, there are subtle ways in which it is different. I work as a freelance print critic to a few weeklies in the area. Still I doubt that any of the readers of those columns, assuming that they exist, would say that they know me. Oh they might know my style, and I’d like to think that sans byline they still might know one of my columns if they’ve read enough of them. If only because its somewhat unlikely that anyone else would devote several inches of print to say A Bucket Of Blood.

But all the same, they don’t know me the way that perhaps you oh constant reader do, if I may borrow a phrase. Because blogging isn’t just a declaration.

It is a conversation.

And sometimes that conversation is not a pleasant one. Particularly when its spaced out over the course of years. I’ve seen writers whose work I admire greatly sour into petulance. Sometimes it is a pleasant one, though, sometimes writers who at first came off as officious learn to relax, and writers who first came off as ignorant get an education before your eyes.

Like I said, that’s why the archives of this blog are not ever shifting. Because I believe you should be able to read this collection and follow my progress from being a complete idiot (and trust me there are some loo loos there in the early going), to being a bit less than a complete idiot.


So how did that change come about?

Well to figure that out I need to talk a little about the history of the blog. And I know, I know, this is just getting more and more exciting as we speak. I promise I’ll try to keep the pontificating short so I can get to the preaching.

Like I said, two years ago, I started Things That Don’t Suck. I started it concurrently with a blog in which I planned to review every DVD I owned in the order that it was shelfed.

This was a phenomenally bad idea, for any number of reasons. Mostly because I, like I suspect most film fans are enormously fickle creatures, I can barely make myself draw a selection from the pile I have set up for The Unseen. Hell sometimes I find myself unable to find a single thing that suits my mood in my entire DVD collection, which is embarrassingly immense. The strictures of viewing every film I had in order, which given the way I have them organized would lead to long blocks of very monotonous viewing was ridiculous. I soon abandoned the blog.

But, just at that time, I started tinkering around on Things That Don’t Suck…

And I did a pretty horrendous job of it.

Oh that’s not to say that I don’t like some of those early pieces. I do. But the way in which it was done, long periods of silence, met by frenzied bursts of activity, followed by more sulky silence when those bursts weren’t noticed and rewarded all suggest the work of a man touched in the head (and I was certainly making one big and very obvious mistake). Of course no one was reading me. Hell I wouldn’t read me.

So what changed?

Well, in short order I lost everything.

I’m not trying to be dramatic. But yeah, within the space of a week I lost my job, my girlfriend, my apartment, and there was a death in the family. And to top it all off it was beginning to look like I had more or less wasted the last four years of my life.

And then, just to crush those last lingering shreds of self esteem, I had to move home (Yes I know a film blogger living at home, shocking).

Like Morgan Freeman telling you about Andy’s problem with the sisters, I wish that I could tell you that in the face of such adversity I sprang forward, spurned on by a new sense of purpose.

Really what I did though was baste in self pity and despair. Working short term labor jobs to distract myself that I had no prospects for any long term ones. I drank too much, I put on fifteen pounds, I stared blankly at open word docs, hoping vainly that new words would appear. I smoked with a ferocity that suggested a death wish. In other words, rather then cleaning up the mess my life had become, I just kind of wallowed in it.

After two months even I began to realize this shit would not stand. But what else could I do? I’d yet to find any permanent employment to start saving any money, and the two projects I was writing, a loose vignette based book about working in a supermarket, that I still hope to salvage, and a truly dreadful crime novel were both lying dead on the table.

Well why not revive the old blog? I don’t know how many times the thought came to me before I finally was goaded into it, but I do know the movie that did the goading, and launched what I consider to be the true start of TTDS. Ironically enough given the blogs title and mission statement it was a film I more or less hated. And it taught me the first of the eight lessons I want to pass on.

FOLLOW THE CONTENT:

If you as a beginning blogger, only take one piece of advice from this, it’s this. Your blog should follow what you are watching, rather then what you’re watching following your blog.

If you go back and look at those early archives you can see me straight jacketing myself. I’m doing alright at first. But then you can see I lock myself straight from the first (failed) attempt at 31 Days Of Horror to my first (failed) attempt at Revisit Evangelion.

See a pattern there? Not only was I locking myself into an unyielding unwieldy program, I was failing at doing it. It's clear in some of those pieces that I would rather be writing about something, anything else, but would I let myself? Noooooooooo….

Now don’t get me wrong, I like writing in series, I like blogs that write in series. But if you make yourself only write in what you think you should be interested in, rather then what you are interested in, you will fail.

If you want to be a horror blogger, but all you’ve been doing for the past four months is listening to country music, then maybe you should write a post or two about country music. I mean why not? If you want to have a highly respectful blog that only features Bela Tarr and Ozu reviews, but you can’t get the haunting vision of Schwarzenegger’s pecs from Commando out of your head, well then write about that! Or else your next essay about Dryer might have some awful strange subtext. Not only will your writing improve when you write about what you genuinely want to write about, but so will the next thing which is…

"IT’S THE CONSISTENCY STUPID!":

Now I’m not saying quantity over quantity here, what I’m saying is you have to get some kind of schedule going.

Like I said, in the early days this varied wildly, I would go from posting six times a week to once every three months without warning. Its doubtful anyone could have followed me if they had wanted to.

That doesn’t mean you have to post every thing you write at exactly 3:42:34 AM EST on Tue. But if you tend to post once a week you should have that post ready once a week. If you tend to post every other day, then you should have a post ready every other day.

Readers don’t appreciate getting stood up, if they keep refreshing through the day, only to discover that you didn’t really give enough of a fuck to give them a post, chances are they ain’t going to spend the next day refreshing, and the day after that they might not bother to drop by at all.

Look we all have lives (or some semblance there of), and some days shit just doesn’t allow you to post.


Still like I said, some standards are helpful. If you go back to last July, you can see me go from posting every three days, to every other day, to finally a schedule that’s more or less daily. Sure every once in awhile I have a day where I’m either too busy or too beat to get something up, but for the most part, if you come to Things That Don’t Suck, there will be something new for you to read, for as long as you may care to do so. That being said…

IGNORE THE DAILY POST COUNTS:

Its only natural that you’ll want to sign up for something like Sitemeter to let you know if anyone is actually reading this damn thing.

So allow me to offer a word of friendly advice.

DON’T .PAY. ATTENTION. TO. THE. DAILY. HIT. COUNTER.

Oh you will look at it. But don’t devote unto it any sizable psychic space. That way lies madness.

Here’s what’s going to happen. You will write a 1,500 word deeply felt essay about a film that means the world to you. Forty people will read it. You should feel lucky.


The next day you will post a link to some stupid internet video with text that amounts to haha.


It will rank 300 hits.

Like Rorsarch staring into the sky thick with human fat, covered in the blood of dogs and men you will realize that there is no order.

See what I mean about the crazies.

But in the monthly counter lies your salvation. It evens the spastic jerks of the daily hit counter out into a mellower much more helpful picture of what you’re doing right and wrong. If you have more readers at the end of this month, then you did at the end of last month, you’re doing a good job. If not, maybe there’s something you want to adjust.

Either way the monthly counter is less susceptible to the jagged vagaries, both elating and spirit crushing, that the daily is predisposed to. But to get those numbers up you have to ask…

"ASK. THAT’S HOW YOU LEARN THINGS STUPID BY ASKING":

Everyone knows that few things in the blogging world are more valuable then sidebar space. Nothing is likely to draw a reader to a blog more then a referral from a blogger the reader already trusts.

But how to get such a referral?

Well by asking for one. Now yes, it might be tempting to ask a big blogger like Stacie Ponder, Kim Morgan, Self Styled Siren, or Sergio Leone and The Infield Fly Rule, for sidebar space right off the bat.

After emailing them, you can be more or less assured that they will chuckle warmly to themselves before metaphorically burning your email for metaphorical warmth as we bloggers are too poor to be able to afford actual fire. Along with the other five hundred so requests they received that day.

This is not done out of malice, I must add, but as mentioned, it is the five hundredth such request they have received that day and at its core, the message amounts to “I would very much like to benefit from your hard work and good name.” Also it is very cold in the hovels where we bloggers live.

So where does that leave you?


Why with us midlevel bloggers!

You still don’t want to do it out of the blue, but leave a few posts, ask for some advice, let us get to know you a bit and yeah, most likely we’ll be touched and delighted to give you some space.

After all we’ve all been there ourselves, I know that plenty of my first followers came curtesy of the links other larger blogs afforded me. So I’ll take an opportunity to thank two of the first, Emily, and Erich thank you, its doubtful I would still be here without you.

Another way to ingratiate yourself very quickly is to, do blogothons. Younger blogs are often shy to participate without invitation, but don’t be. As someone who ran a week long blogothon, I can tell you it’s a nerve racking experience where one feels desperate for content. Any submission you’ll give will be welcome, and there’s no better way to start making your way into the community of bloggers, then with some good entries into a blogothon.

Which brings me to my next point…

GET AN ALLY:

(Don't worry Neil we both know I'm the Aquaman here)

A lot of blogging involves becoming part of a community. Blogs by their very nature tend to form into rings and cliques, the trick is to get enough movement going that you can start to draw in members from other rings as well.

But there’s a point where Etiquette becomes Politicking, and that can become fucking noxious.

Now here in we get into the grey area. I truly think that a long series of comments that say nothing more then, “That was a good post.” Can be just as annoying as complete radio silence. Admittedly there are some blogs whose frame of reference I don’t share, but whose writing I enjoy, so I end up making comments, whose subtext is, “I assure you I am still reading what you are writing” every month or so.

But ideally you should only be commenting when the post in question has been interesting enough to make you want to comment on it.

Ideally the relationship between two blogs should be like the relationship between this one and Agitation Of The Mind.

I first came across Neil’s Blog a little under a year ago, during the Olson Brother's Italian Horror Blogothon (see that there?). Since then he’s directed readers to me, and I to him. I’ve participated in events that he’s hosted, and he’s done the same for me. We both know that if we need a blurb, a friendly link, an article, or some sidebar space we can count on the other.

BUT and this is the crucial but. This didn’t happen because I was perusing the interwebs going “Hmmm… I really could use a good ally in this whole blogging thing. I better go out and get one.” No this happened because I was and am genuinely engaged by what Neil writes and was obliged to tell him so. And he was not sufficiently horrified by what I was writing to chase me off with a large stick.

In short the second you try to cultivate something you kill it. It shouldn’t be a chore to participate in other’s blogs. And it will be immediately obvious to the blog’s writer if it is. It should be something you want to do. And if you haven’t found a blog that engages you enough so that you want to do it, then you’re not looking hard enough.

JUST SAY NO TO BLOG ADS, PRESS RELEASES, AND OTHER QUESTIONS OF QUALITY:

Lets get this out of the way, nothing says “I’m doing this for the wrong reasons.” Faster then a new blog swamped with blog ads and hypertext.

It’s not wrong to want to profit from your blog, but it is wrong to ONLY want to profit from your blog. And to prove that’s not what you want, you’d better earn your bones before swamping your site with ugly adds about fucking Meg Whitman.

Now just to keep the hypocracy in check, can I promise that TTDS will always be free of any form of advertising?

No.

But I’d like it to be. And as long as I’m making money from my writing in other ways I think it can be. But if, my steady sources of free lance writing were to dry up, could I honestly say, that I could resist the temptation to get some cash out of writing about film again? No. But I wouldn’t like doing it.

I’m not saying its immoral, I’m not saying anyone with blog ads is a sellout. I’m just saying that it has to be earned. And even then, it has to be carefully considered.

Much more insidiously, are the press releases and “content” that will pop up slightly altered on other peoples blogs as original posts.

Lets not bullshit here, the number of blog readers who are not blog writers is small. And it’s shrinking every day. And unlike screeners the PR companies are none too picky on who they send these releases to.

In other words if you’re just a cut and paste blogger chances are your readers know it, because we received the same boilerplate in our inboxes that morning. If I wanted to read that shit, I would read my junk email folder. Presumably I’m reading your blog because I want to know what you think, not what some publicist from Lionsgate thinks.

Reposting this crap is so lazy and mercenary it makes blog ads look like an innocent virtue. Nothing will sour me faster then seeing something on a blog’s I’m following post that I deleted from my hotmail account five minutes ago. I can think of two blogs who lost my follows AND space on my sidebar after I saw a repost there a time or three too often.

As always there are exceptions to this rule, the one that pops immediately into my mind is Johnny from Freddy In Space, who God bless him, reacts to each trailer announcement from After Dark Films as if he just received Jesus’s lost memoir. The reason is obvious, Johnny is such a passionate writer that he can get excited over press release. I’m betting he was really good as a Kid at convincing Grandma that socks really were what he wanted for Christmas. That and he publishes plenty of original content as well. But the sooner, that some studio wises up and hires this kid to their PR department, the better. Because If the boilerplate they sent me conveyed a tenth of the amount of the enthusiasm for their own product that Johnny does describing it, I might actually consider reposting it.

But probably not.

Which brings my last point:

GIVE THE PEOPLE SOMETHING WORTH READING:

Because seriously guys, these hundred word reviews that can be summed up as “I liked it. It was good.” Don't cut it.

The best writing is concise and precise (and yes I know that this article has sailed past three thousand words, and that’s kind of inexcusable, I never said I was the best). Every time someone reads your blog, they’re choosing to not read, literally thousands of other blogs.

That doesn’t mean you have to start out writing five thousand word diatribes, in fact its best that you don’t. But you do have to engage the material in your work.

I think four hundred words is about the bare minimum for a decent article, and even then you’re probably not getting past the surface.

Five hundred words is the minimum I impose upon myself, and that’s better. But I still think the best film writing takes place in a sweet spot between 800-1200 words. Long enough to dig into a film, not long enough to overstay its welcome (once again yes, the irony is apparent).

Anyway, that brings me to an end of the diatribe. Yes I know, this thing has turned into the Bataan death march of blogging but what are you going to do?

But before I finish, I want to circle back around to my opening. When we last left our hero, I was broke, doing my best to destroy my health, and couldn’t work. Did blogging help?

Well in my darker moments, I wonder if it’s just a distraction, I wonder what kind of work I could really get done if I excised the daily hour of writing and two hours of film watching I normally do for this blog out of my schedule.

But the manuscript for my first completed book I have sitting next to me, refutes this. It’s a mess, but it’s a mess I think I can work with, and the sixth month period I was advised to take away from it will be up in a couple of days. Before it is, the manuscript for my second completed screenplay will join it.

Over the year I’ve improved myself in other ways too, four months ago, I started running, and have since managed to lose my depression weight, and actually make some decent inroads to actually being healthy. I quit smoking after a nine year long love affair with tobacco. I have a full time job, it's not in my field and it has it’s frustrations, but a step above the minimum wage slave ones I’m used to working and for the first time I’ve gotten serious about saving money so that the next time a series of catastrophes come they won’t knock me on the ass with such humiliating completeness. I keep my hand in independent filmmaking and am planning a reassault on that particular job market in the coming months.

Are these things the result of blogging? No. But they all share one thing in common, a certain stubborness, which came from my blogging first. I may not be able to become the world’s healthiest man, but I can stop actively killing myself and get off my fat ass for an hour a day to do a few miles. I might not be able to break all my bad spending habits, but I can at least put a bit of money away, rather then pretending all is well, until its not. And no, I may not be able to summon a heart breaking work of genre shattering staggering genius out of the ether. But I can write a little something every day, keep working the heavy bag and hopefully get some people to read it.

I'm still having fun doing this and I'm rolling out three new features that are going to be a lot of fun.

1) Covering All Of Scorsese's Films by my third anniversary. I've written before about how much Scorsese's films mean to me, and how personally I can take criticism of them.

I've decided to stop being such a big fucking pussy.

If Scorsese is as I say the most significant artist to me in what I write of as the most significant art form. Then I have no choice but to engage him. Anything else would be cowardly.

2) I'm finally going to start Grindhouse Theater, something I've wanted to do for a full year. A kind of kissing cousin of The Unseen in which I deal with all the multi pack Exploitation movies I was powerless to keep from purchasing when they briefly flooded the market after Grindhouse. More to come on the rules of this game.

3) Music Blogging: When I first conceived of Things That Don't Suck, I wanted it to be more of a multi media blog. But film soon settled as the dominant force and rightly so. Still I want to keep from getting too stale, I'll be doing a twice monthly (or so) music column to discuss the work of whatever artist is haunting my brain.

I’m in this for the long haul. But I wouldn’t be if I had no one to support me.

So I’ll end this by saying what I did when you came in.

Thanks for being here.

Sincerely.

See you tomorrow.

25 comments:

Steve Miller, Writer of Stuff said...

Cool post.

And you're dead-on about the "don't pay attention to hit counts," because if I did, I'd have to turn my blogs into all Sienna Guillory all the time. That one throw-away post I did about her as part of my "Saturday Scream Queen" series has gotten over 4,000 hits since I posted it at the end of August. Meanwhile, my beloved "Shades of Gray" blog seemed to be getting only a fraction of the visits. Until I looked deeper, and noticed that I'm actually getting READERS there, because people are drilling down and following links to other posts and visiting even some of the oldest reviews.

Now, the trick would be to figure out how to get as much attention for an actual review as I got for a gimmick post featuring a picture of a girl in a bikini. :)

filmjunkie25 said...

Good post...happy blog-birthday! I learnt a bit from here, and come to think of it, my blog used to suck. I think about seven months after I first opened it, it got better. It still has a lot of improvement to make, and I'm not sure I have an active readership, but...all in good time, right?
Anyway, I like your blog, keep it up=)

Liam [Less Than Three Film] said...

Well, I for one am thankful you stuck it out! This is an excellent blog with posts that are always worth reading.

I agree with all your points you make, especially writing about what currently interests you. I attempt to review each movie I watch, but if a movie never particularly grabs me, it shows in the writing. I find leaving it a week or two, rethinking my approach and trying to see if there was anything in the film salvageable works.

Most interesting is the sporadic spate of commenters I get. I quite like active discussions on my blog, afterall, the most fascinating aspect of films for me is how others perceive them. My favourite is when someone disagrees with what I have to say - there is where you can truly learn of a film's shortcomings (providing the person disagreeing is intelligent enough to write concisely and not just "lulz this film sux nd u suk").

But it seems you've worked hard to get a good following, and one that is well deserved! Here's to many years more.

Aaron said...

Congrats, sir. Keep doing what you do and I'll keep reading (and not commenting as much as I should).

"Blogs by their very nature tend to form into rings and cliques"

Hence why my blog is down indefinitely. (98% of) The blogging "community" makes me sick.

Scare Sarah said...

Spot on. Isn't it funny how things that seemed important 2 years ago just aren't now. It takes that time to gain the experiences needed. Running changed my life too! And blogging about horror has made me enjoy even more the hobby I never knew I had. You've gotta love what you do! Here's to another 2 years.

The Film Connoisseur said...

Congrats on your second year, and congrats on surpassing those dark moments that life sometimes hurls our way without mercy!

The recommendations on bloggin where excellent and spot on! I liked that part about getting an ally, cause I've done it myself and its been a gratifying experience!

By the way, I feel the same way about some of my older posts, I guess one gets better with practice cause some of my earlier stuff is uggh..

Keep it up man, your blog rules!

Budd said...

heres to many more years of not sucking.

Blogathons huh? I will have to look into that.

J.D. said...

Congrats on your anniversary. Blogging can be such a transitory thing, so many go up only to disappear a few months later so longevity is quite an accomplishment. As a frequent reader of your blog, I've enjoyed what you have to say and that you do so very eloquently. I look forward to see what you come up with next!

Andre said...

Congrats! This was a very interesting and captivating read.I too am continuously annoyed by the copying and pasting of press releases. You give great advice here that I will sharing with others as the day goes on.

One thing I would add is that the big bloggers you named are still just bloggers. I prefer the method of just getting to know fellow bloggers by leaving comments and connecting with them on some level, rather than asking. By doing this even the bigger bloggers notice and if they like you they will add you. Same of course for the middle tier.

Sometimes I get very put off when someone asks that I add them or rather I should say...tells me to add them. Something like "Hi Andre PLEASE read my blog and add it to your site" makes me not want to.

But anyways, I'm rambling. Once again great stuff!

Bryce Wilson said...

@ Steve Miller: Keep up the good work man. But hey there's nothing wrong with a girl in a bikini. ; ). You're getting there though.

@ filmjunkie25: Glad I could help. You do a lot of good on Cinematic Paradox and I always enjoy reading.

@ Liam: Many thanks for the kind words. Don't let yourself get too discouraged by lack of commentators. A good group of commenters is one of the few things that I genuinely think will come on its own as long as you give it enough timelines.

I agree about the opposing viewpoints, and frankly wish I saw it more often. Like Chesterton said, "You should enjoy hearing an opposing viewpoint like a spy enjoys listening to an enemy battle plan."

@Aaron: I was very sorry to see Death Rattle go down yesterday and hope to see it back up in the near future.

You shouldn't let other bloggers get you down too much though. I agree I get annoyed and mystified by the vagaries of Blogger decorum sometimes, I think when a blogger starts caring more about how many comments they have versus what those comments say, something is going wrong.

But you had a lot of good readers, and you did a lot of good writing. Take a break if you need to, but I do hope you'll come back to them. : )

@ SS: Cheers Sarah, your blog is one of my favorites (and yes I must confess one of those "I assure you I'm reading what you're writing ones I talked about." lol) And glad to see a fellow runner in the blogosphere.

Its so funny, I ran for most of my life, but never enjoyed it until four months ago after stopping for five years or so.

@ FC: Thanks for the comments, your's is a conversation I hope I get to keep having.

@ Budd: Its a good idea, I honestly don't know a better way to introduce yourself, because no matter what you write you will be leaving a positive impression on some people.

You do great work on both of your blogs. Hope to have you keep coming around.

@ JD: I hope you know the feeling is very much mutual, and Radiator Heaven is definitely what I would consider a kindred spirit.

@ Andre: Thanks for the kind words and thought provoking post.

Just to clarify I didn't mean to suggest that the bloggers I mentioned where some kind of Ivory tower of contempt. Just the opposite, I think they're the best in the business and wanted to point them out as such.

And I agree, there is absolutely no substitute, for long term participation with a blog and its writer...

HOWEVER, we're not psychic (most of us) and I'd rather somebody ask me for a favor, than assume I'm ignoring them, get mad at me and then have me lose them as a reader.

It's a fine line to walk though I grant you. And of course the blogger in question should have some idea of who you are before you ask them for a favor.

Micah said...

Congrats on the two year mark! Honestly, I hadn't heard of your blog until today (via a twitter link from Andre), but I will be reading it henceforth.

As a relatively new blogger, I found this post to be both informative and interesting. Lots of good advice, especially around the hit counter. I was mentioned by a major major site as a blog of the day and got more hits over the course of three days than the prior couple months combined. Since then, I just don't care. My numbers are shooting up, but more importantly, I am having fun.

I've also met a lot of fantastic like-minded people through blogging (which was unexpected). And I too have have found a "sister" site that I go back and forth with.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your advice. Look forward to lurking around site a bit more today.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Happy second blogiversary, Bryce. By the way, "I would very much like to benefit from your hard work and good name"...only because I do link to your blog but apparently don't rate a reciprocal link in kind.

Word verification: Boolox!

Marcus said...

Congrats on the anniversary Bryce. I've really enjoyed reading your stuff. You inspired me to watch all of Evangelion, Princess Mononoke, and checking out Scott Pilgrim, and I'm sure there were other things I've discovered from your posts. One of these days, I really want to try to start a blog.

Elwood Jones said...

Congratulations on reaching the two year mark.
I remember when I first started reading your blog, after reciving your e-mail you sent me, which at that perticular point I had been living in my own rosey denial that I was the only one fliting between the cultish genres as I pleased, only in away to find you somewhere between a kindred spirit and a rival, but then you've always inspired me to try and push my writing further.

Some great advice hombre and here's hoping you keep continuing to inspire :)

Simon said...

That bear picture always makes me sad. Thanks.

Congratulations on not sucking!

Good advice. Lovely advice, even. You keep doing what you're doing.

The Dirty Mac said...

Congrats my friend, here is to your continued success!

Oh, and just to get it out of my system....
IGNORE ME!!!!!!

Emily said...

Happy blogirthday Bryce! And a huge congrats on the quality of your work. I've always enjoyed reading it, and your advice here is fitting to that. There's a way to be a smart blogger and keep people reading, and mostly, that's by writing great stuff. And I also completely agree about commenting as being part of blogging. I know podcasters feel the same way when it comes to feedback. Nothing feels better than getting comments or emails that tell you your work is reaching someone.

I'm also incredibly pumped about the Scorcese blogathon! I'm hot and cold on him but always interested and I look forward to reading your posts.

Keep up the good work!

Bryce Wilson said...

@ Micah: Welcome Micah. Lurk away!

@ Ivan: See this is Exactly what I'm talking about. Now I can cease being an asshole.

@ Marcus: I hope you will. You always leave insightful comments, and you've already got a great name picked out.

@ Elwood: Many thanks for the great comment, man. And trust me the feeling is mutual.


@ Simon: Right back atcha.

@ Mac: "YOU HAVE NO IDEA OF THE INTRICATE CRITERIA ON WHICH YOU WILL BE JUDGED..."

@Em: As always Em you speak the truth. Been loving the casts by the way.

Ryan T. said...

I need to save the entry for reference, because it's pretty spot-on. I just started my blog just a little over a year ago and it's still a work-in-progress. Trying to figure out what kind of blog I want it to be vs. the kind of blog I CAN deliver. It'd probably drive me mad, but I think knowing that I'm doing this for fun and not for any sort of livelihood or even fame helps a lot. I don't have a sitemeter and have no interest in those sort of numbers so I liked seeing that in one of your tips.

In any case, congrats on your blog-iversary! May there be many more years of not sucking!

cole roulain said...

congratulations, bryce. i certainly appreciate what you do here. thanks for actually leaving the dark and difficult personal things in and thanks for being equally honest and heartfelt in the advice you dispense to those of us that are new to this game. here's to all of us getting better, all the time.

Adam Zanzie said...

Happy 2-year anniversary, Bryce. Your blog is one of the finest I've discovered this year.

Bryce Wilson said...

Ryan T.: Your's is exactly the kind of attitude to have.
I'd love this blog to lead to more freelance work. But if it doesn't I'm not going to cry.

cole: Thanks man, and you're doing just fine. You're one of the few bloggers that truly has their own thing going

Adam: And vica versa my friend.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but even though I love what you write, I think you could benefit from a more consistent schedule. Like I said, not necessarily more. Just to make it easier for folks to follow you.

You're a great writer with a lot of potential and ambition, and I'd like to see you make it easier for folks to follow you.

Neil Fulwood said...

I'm late weighing into this thanks to the unmerciful machinations of T-Mobile, and I can only echo what everyone else has said: congratulations on Things That Don't Suck's 2nd anniversary, and congratulations on an eloquent and very pertinent post.

The importance of building up your relationship and reputation with other bloggers is paramount. This whole business of exchanging links is nonsensical. The only way to develop is to link to the blogs you genuinely love reading, leave comments, and build up a repartee. Blogathon participation, as you say, raises your profile and also supports the efforts of other film writers.

It took about 18 months before The Agitation of the Mind started to enjoy its present readership, but I feel that I've built it into something I can take pride in. You can justifiably say the same thing for Things That Don't Suck.

Congratulations, too, on fighting back against the crap that life threw at you. Good on yer, my friend!

Here's to the next 2 years of non-suckage, and our continued friendship. Hell, between the two of us Aquaman won't know what hit him!

Rob said...

Sorry for this very late comment, but congratulations! And all your advise is excellent-I never really know what I'm going for, so sometimes my posts kinda suck, but it's still a lotta fun. I'm glad things are looking up for you-you're kind of awesome, dude!

Bryce Wilson said...

@ Neil: Many thanks man. Just to further clarify, I never said asking should be a replacement for the type of long term relationship, just that it doesn't hurt to be assertive.

As for the next years, I'm looking forward to them. We'll get that fishy bastard.

@ Rob: Many thanks my friend, but as always you underrate yourself.