Review 2006

Colin asks:
Whenever I think of doing something like a blog, I always worry that anything I write would either sound really pretentious or be very boring. How do you handle those fears and just write?

Just write.

Which is really easy for me to say and I share your fear. Most of anything I write on here is potentially pretentious and probably boring not that I can tell and no one's told me it's either. Not all of us has an interesting or exciting life or for that matter is all that engaging when they do write anything. I find it incredibly difficult sometimes to put fingers to keyboard, let alone produce something that someone else would actually want to waste thirty seconds of their day reading. My writing style is either embarrassingly prosaic or keyboard stammeringly simple. And I can never seem to strike the tone I'm really looking for. But here I am, five and half years into this, still publishing something.

I can't say how you can handle your fears though and anything I suggest will very much fall into the do as I say rather than actually what I do category. I suppose it all depends on what you want to achieve with the blog. Is it going to be an online diary, the record of your life, or are going to cover just one aspect of that life, a pastime or whatnot? Are you going to write only about a subject that you're interested in, and express your passion for it to the world? Is it going to be a link blog even, your interests and yourself appearing in the words not spoken between the items your publishing, readers getting to know you by what you direct them to look at online?

One of the strengths, but also weaknesses of this blog is that I don't really have a mission statement and it's a combination of all of those things that can make it seem unfocused, but also unpredictable. I used to post links and write about a much wider range of subjects, but sometimes it seemed a little bit forced, so now it's mostly films and television and news but that's ok because it's where I'd like to think my career is headed. I also like that there is a mish-mash of writing styles (I think) with sometimes quite serious headed reviews with rotten bits of opinion knocked together when I'm exhausted which I can later read with fresh eyes willing myself not to go back and edit.

Looking through the archives I can track how my tastes and interests have changed over the years and I'll often stumble across something I've forgotten or forgotten I'd forgotten. It's not a detailed account and not everything is there because of the rules I've given myself - no talking about work or friends in a bad light or about things I know nothing about. Of course I'll break those rules now and then but there is a lot of self censorship - but that means there's always the possibility I can talk about things years down the line which I haven't mentioned before when the dust has settled and coast is clear. So there's always material.

So really my only advice, if that's what you're looking for, is to just write and there is always the chance that somewhere along the line you'll find a voice and an audience and you'll be winning all the blogging awards and book deals that have so far eluded me. Not that I'm actually doing this for any of those reasons you understand, thank God.

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