12 Days of Meditations #12: What’s the point of this all?

Why do bloggers blog?

It’s a simple question, but you’ll probably get different answers from everyone. For me, blogging is a form of introspection, an outlet, a tool for reach out to like-minded people. It’s great to have a site where you could post your thoughts, anime or not. It’s a space where you should feel safe, and believe me when I say that’s not as easy to maintain in the online world. I try to keep this blog disconnected from my real life, not so I can rant about people behind their backs, but so I can have more freedom in posting.

(After all, if your meatspace friends or even your boss can read your depraved Japanese cartoon blog, it’s going to open up a can of worms.)

Blogging is an outlet, because I can write about stuff that I can’t talk to people here, because they are so out there in terms of subject matter that nobody else cares. So instead of sperging out in their faces, I write it down here. And if I’m lucky, people will read, and comment, and I get a bit of conversation. Then we become Twitter bros4lyf (don’t follow me on Twitter!). Even if your posts aren’t the least bit personal, there’s still a therapeutic effect you can count on–it just feels good.

You know when people rant online about not having anyone who shares hobbies in the area? Man. It’s 2014, make a blog or a Tumblr (which has evolved into something more than a blog, and less). Expand. It’s not like you can do a lot about living in a hick town where nobody else has heard of Crunchyroll. Actually, most of you are lucky to have Crunchyroll.

What about reaching out? Time and again I am surprised with how fans just turn up when I post about something. It’s my favorite feeling when someone comments with gushing enthusiasm in any of my posts. Just means that other like-minded fans will come to you as long as you plant your feet on the ground and shout.

There isn’t much to it. I don’t force myself to write posts anymore, because it’s never going to be good, and someone else will put me to shame on the topic.

These reasons are probably why I am still keeping this blog. Since I don’t care about hits, I’m not inclined to follow any trends that I can’t see the worth of, like, ehem, season previews. They’re useful and all, but this blog certainly isn’t a service to others, and I don’t even have an audience I could reliably pander to!

Lastly, I’ve grown a wall. I don’t read that many blogs anymore. But that said, my wall isn’t that high, if you’re a 50-meter class blogger then you could totally smash it. I still find new blogs to read and bloggers to befriend, though I’m more sedentary about it.

* * *

Whew! I thought I’d never finish this post series. If you’re still reading, well, I’ll drop the semi-serious tone and cut loose with…

Schneider’s Totally Unsolicited Advice For the Struggling Anime Blogger:

  1. Find the drive to write within yourself — that way, nobody could take it away, and you could still write even if everyone hates you
  2. Be interesting — infuse your posts with your own life experiences. What new insights can you bring to the table? Why should we read your blog instead of someone else’s?
  3. Be sincere — just get into the stuff you like, and the rest will follow. We have enough of the snarky, cynical 4chan wit around.
  4. Respond to comments — duh
  5. Comment on other blogs you like! — seriously
  6. Use the preview button — it’s great!
  7. Don’t owe anyone anything — don’t force yourself to write episodic posts within one day of the episode coming out, or you’ll quickly hate blogging and yourself
  8. Don’t be scared of trolls — an army of them isn’t waiting in ambush for the first stupid thing you say, and you can always block them
  9. Don’t write season previews unless you know exactly what you’re doing and chances are, you don’t
  10. Don’t rant all the time, or everyone will think you’re a stuck-up asshole
  11. Don’t infuse your posts with contempt — we get enough of that IRL, don’t bring it here
  12. Don’t force anything! — blogging, networking, whatever. If you don’t like it, you can quit. It’s not a competition.
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15 Responses to 12 Days of Meditations #12: What’s the point of this all?

  1. omo says:

    I do as you say o/

    I think I would add #13, for anime bloggers: Blog about actual anime sometimes. It’s the one thing I don’t do often enough.

    But then again, I don’t think people blog about the meta often enough either.

  2. It’s been over two years since I closed up shop over at WRL so I’ve had time to reflect upon the whole experience. It was overwhelmingly, a good one. Whenever I go back and take it all in — visiting old posts and comment threads (usually when some contemporary anime blogger links to one of the old posts on the retired blog), I feel good about myself and what I did in those 4 years I’ve blogged anime.

    Part of it is because I took all of it seriously. I don’t mean this in that sense that what I was doing was of consequence and I should be taken seriously. Rather I took the whole approach to running the blog, creating the content, and working (yes, work) the communities very seriously. I enjoyed myself and was humorous and joyful and full of life, but I took all of that (even and especially the humor) very seriously. I treated it as a craft.

    As a reward I felt that I grew (power-leveled, if you will) at something creative and with interaction/feedback from real readers and fellow fans, during a time when other aspects of my life (career) were embattled. Blogging anime was my MMORPG and I got my video game high from it, only that I feel that the social (media) skills and content creativity I practiced then carried over to other aspects of my career now (which luckily, had fully recovered and is in a new golden age).

    So yeah, I regret nothing.

    So what I offer as advice to anyone doing this is to go balls out. Not every post will be successful but go out guns blazing alpha strike kitchen sink trans-graham. Take it all very seriously without being a douche and taking yourself seriously — and trust me, you’ll honor yourself better this way. But don’t go thinking you’re making art or something — but approach it like you would a craft, like illustration and well, writing.

    Years later after you’re done with it all and barely watching anime, you can come back to visit your old blog, be appropriately horrified at your failures at craft, and enjoy everything else you’ve done (even the shitty posts) because you’ve gone all out when you know most people do things half-assed.

    This doesn’t make you better than them, but feel free to feel good about yourself.

    • So, basically we should all secretly hope that your career goes south, an WRL’s doors will reopen? XD

      In all seriousness, this was really good advice, ghostlightning. It was very sports anime, and I mean that as a compliment. Thanks, and thanks again for WRL!

      • Thanks Doc, but looking at rayout, I think you’ve done something very much in the spirit of WRL: 2 dudes, robots, hot bloodedness, kiryuin satsuki, theory/philosophy and criticism, lotr, lotgh, katz kobayashi…

        /subscribed

        • Wow, thank you so much for the kind words. As someone who discovered WRL late in its life, I didn’t really get to be part of that community, but I have always respected your work an awful lot. Your thumbs-up pretty much made my night! :)

    • schneider says:

      I can get behind this, too. Do it, or don’t bother. You are everyone’s Coach!

      • Well, utter n00bs have got to start somewhere. The monster that is Digibrony started out as a truly shitty blogger that so happened to have ridiculous obsessiveness and compulsion. Look at that dork now! He’s probably gotten laid now and that’s all a product of blogging his hobby. All of it.

        But yeah, after you grow a little bit you need to make a call: am I committed to being awesome of do I just want to faff about?

        You can coach the former, and the latter can only suck but without the privilege of suffering.

  3. I blog because, like you, I need some kind of creative outlet for my anime fandom. I do feel that I have lots of room for improvement as a writer, so blogging is a means to that end. Also, it gives me a chance to play around with the skills I acquired in the pursuit of my currently unused masters degree in philosophy.

    • schneider says:

      You have a masters degree in philosophy? Wow! (not gonna ask why it’s unused)

      • I know, I know. I don’t come off as a smart guy, I get it. Rub it in why’dont’cha. XP

        For a young family like mine, I wanted to go into a field with better job prospects, pay, job security and less required mobility than being a philosophy professor. So, I switched career tracks and went and got ANOTHER masters in a different field. I never want to take a class of any kind ever again.

  4. rockmanshii says:

    I’m having a lot of fun blogging.

  5. froggykun says:

    This was really therapeutic to read because I’d been encountering some difficulties in my motivation lately after having my writing criticised negatively. It’s nice to have an outlet where you can just feel free about what you write, but when you lose sight of that, it becomes very difficult. But I think you’re right – in the end, it’s all about finding self-fulfillment, not about pleasing others. I want to work harder, but I never want to lose the sense of energy and love for anime I project through my blogging. So thank you for the kind and uplifting words. I can tell blogging is a relaxing thing for you, which is what it should be.

    P.S. I found Ghostlightning’s words very inspiring as well. I also think I’ll have fond memories of blogging when I look back on it in years to come.

    • schneider says:

      You have haters on your blog? I’m kind of envious…

    • You’ll look back fondly at having haters.

      I had allies openly calling me out (Baka-Raptor), Rankafags up in arms, Getterfags butthurt and enraged, and all sorts of flotsam from the Gundam franchise upset with me at one time or another. Then there were the real douches from Colony Drop.

      The best way to deal with all that garbage is to succeed on your own terms. Finish your projects. Do what you said you were going to do, never because of haters (unless you’re having a ball trolling them; I love fucking with Gundam fans), but always towards your own aspirations.

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