Last Tuesday, — so exactly a week ago — Movie Muse turned one year old! Although moviemusereviews.com still has a few more months to go, I still thought it fit to reflect on my first year of movie blogging.
As amateur as the word “blogging” has sounded to the human ear since the term’s inception, there’s a remarkable lot that you can learn as a blogger and more surprisingly, a lot of ways in which you can grow as a writer and person. I thought I would share some of those with you today.
Movie Muse has been an incredible tool for getting myself out there this past year. In April, the site helped me become the movie section editor for PlayerAffinity.com, a job that has given me editor experience without working my way up the pay scale. So as much as this feels like a hobby, MMR is so much more.
Thanks for reading.
5. Readers really like top-so-many ranking list posts.
And why else do you think I sub-titled this post “5 Things I’ve Learned.” I knew you all would be 10x likelier to read this post instead of reading all the way through some personal essay I wrote about blogging.
On a more serious note, however, almost all of my top posts over the last year according to analytics have been filed under my “rankings” category. “Ten Greatest Comedy Couples,” “10 Best Animated Disney Movies,” “Top 10 Time Travel Movies,” “Top 10 Mind-bending Movies,” etc. You eat that stuff up like frosting falling off of a cupcake. I would write them more often except they take a substantial amount of effort to do well as opposed to me rambling about something in the movie industry.
So, if you have any good top ten suggestions, I will likely put them on this site.
4. Spam comments bad, all other comments needed.
Avid web readers are like vacuums: quick to suck up as much as possible, but rarely giving anything back.
I get a comment for one of every three posts I publish, which of course does not include spam. Thankfully, as far as spam goes, my buddy Michael who does my occasional site maintenance has it down to a near-spotless minimum, but it’s another example of people whoring out their sites through innocent people’s.
I would like more non-spam comments. I admit I could do more on my end to promote user interactivity, but my average article gets maybe 20 unique views in a month and maybe I get one comment. “I liked this one” would be all I need. It would mean a lot. Right now, I judge my content decisions based on hits and visitors. I would like to be able to determine it based on user feedback.
Either way, when you read and benefit from some blogger’s work, make it a goal to comment on a post you read. Nine out of ten bloggers will tell you they’d like or encourage an open dialogue with their readers, something I’ve learned from reading and being a member of LAMB, or the Large Association of Movie Blogs. Nearly everyone I’m friends with on facebook has read Movie Muse at some point or another; I know this because people I run into tell me they’ve checked it out on occasion, but I’d never know it otherwise, so let me know you stopped by!
3. Blogging keeps you fresh and improves your writing.
Most people probably wouldn’t think that just by writing prolifically on the Internet that you become a better writer, that in essence “practice makes perfect” doesn’t apply to aspiring web writers. But it does. If nothing else, you think better about writing in terms of the “what,” maybe more so than the “how.”
If I hadn’t started Movie Muse, I would’ve stunted my growth as a writer. Once you start writing for a perceived readership, you begin to imagine what that perceived readership wants and expects and you hold yourself to certain professional standards. Sure, as an aspiring professional writer if I was going to put this on my resume I needed to take it seriously, but regardless, blogging has sharpened my mind, my writing and my voice.
I think the bottom line is that anything you do that you consider a “job” or a “priority,” by thinking of it as such it benefits you and makes you better at whatever it is you’re doing. Someone could just as easily be paying me to do this — that’s how regularly I blog — but pay or no, I think about it like I’m profiting, otherwise I’m not going to benefit long-term from doing it.
2. Saying you blog about movies is a good icebreaker.
Movie Muse has yet to win me any dates (I did blog from my parents’ house for almost the entire year … ), but it’s proven a hell of an easy way to start a conversation with someone.
Everybody watches movies to some extent, it’s simply a matter of whether you go to the theaters to watch them, what kinds you watch and how closely you follow what films are coming out. As such, these conversations are witnessed proof of my stupid amount of knowledge in what’s going on in the world of film, but my dorkiness exposure aside, saying I blog about movies is conversational asset.
In fact, sometimes I don’t even have to say anything. “You know Steve has a movie blog,” has happened on numerous occasions thanks to my supportive friends. I’m often asked what I’ve seen that I liked lately, or these days, “what did you think of ‘Inception?'” I enjoy being treated like the movie guru friend, but at the same time, I’m always appreciative of suggestions of films to watch. About 50 percent of the time I’ve seen the recommended film or it’s in my Netflix queue, but if not, I always check it out on imdb and then most likely add it to my Microsoft Word list named “MOVIES TO SEE BEFORE I DIE.” Yes, I have one of those. So if you see something you like that I might not have heard of, let me know, and hopefully I’ll live at least one day longer to get that title in.
1. Blogging is a practical and credible tool that can help you get a job.
If you’re a writer and there’s something you love to write about but you have only found work waiting tables or singing Jewish music with kids on Sunday mornings (ehem), you should be blogging. You’re not giving away your talents for free (though technically speaking yes), seeming pretentious by claiming to be a published authority who people should read on a certain subject, or following a fad that no one actually respects in the professional world.
Until I became the movie lead for Player Affinity, Movie Muse was the thing I was most proud of on my resume. Just because I hadn’t found work being a movie critic or entertainment journalist, didn’t mean I wasn’t allowed to write about it. I’ve showed numerous professionals my blog as a means to network and the quality of my work has indicated that I’m serious about film and can write about it with some authority. Add Player Affinity and I’m qualified for just about any writing job on the web relating to movies, at least on paper.
I’ve also been in job interview situations that were a far, far cry from movie blogging, but I’ve been able to use the fact that I have experience writing for the online medium every time. Truthfully, blogging shows that you’re a self-starter, that you don’t require having your hand held to produce good writing and that you’re capable of making content creative decisions. Take it seriously enough and you can add persistence and dedication to the mix and arguably a good sense of deadlines, along with all the other perks of showing off your professional writing.
Blogging is not a piece of cake/write whatever you’re thinking. It’s a lot more and the more seriously you take it, the more rewarding it becomes. On any day, someone could shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and present me with some cool opportunity just by coming across my work on the web. It’s an exciting thought and along with providing my readers with original insight into movies, it’s much of the reason I keep Movie Muse going strong.
So for those of you that have started reading Movie Muse this past year and visiting regularly and leaving comments, thank you, your support means so much to me. For the readers scrolling through on chance, I hope to see you around more regularly.