Why do I write here?
I’ve written more posts on my blog in 2020 than ever before. It was tricky to start with — I had to find a new voice and get in a groove. As the year ends, and I begin to think about 2021, I find myself wondering, are they worth the time I put into them? I might get a few extra passersby from the links I post to Twitter, and so might sell a handful of books, but that isn’t why I write here. Why do I write here?
I’ve mostly written about films this year. Doing that has definitely deepened my experience of them. The act of writing makes me think more thoroughly. An essay starts with a title, a question, and I unconsciously have questions when I begin a film post. It’s only in writing this that I realise what they are. Why did I choose the film? What do I think about it? How does it make me feel? What did I really like about it? What memories does it evoke? How does it link to what is going on in my life right now? What didn’t work? I’m not interested in writing about how the film got made, where it fits in a director’s filmography, its box-office takings, or whether it got good reviews. I’m looking for a personal connection.
I don’t think of my posts as reviews because I’m looking for what is useful to me, and I’m biased towards my interests. Writing helps me pull out of other people’s creative work something of myself, from my unconscious — ideally for my own work-in-progress. That’s a high bar. Mostly I manage three or four paragraphs, with a brief synopsis, and a few things that struck me. I’m a devil for putting myself under unnecessary pressure, which helps get them written, but maybe keeps me in the experiential shallows. However, as in most things, something is better than nothing.
In the New Year I want to do things differently, write more about the connections between films and books, be more specific about what I’m looking for, and play with this blogging voice. It doesn’t have to be this way — this voice. There are many ways I can do this in 2021. That’s exciting.