Oguie Maniax published a thoughtful entry on the means to find your blogging identity, to me is a very useful and important post relative to the posts I participated in making on THAT Anime Blog. The guide I wrote in particular offers suggestions on the external aspect of the hobby: getting readers, publishing regularly, interacting with the community &c.
SDS instead writes about the things to think about, the things that inform our writing as bloggers; the things I believe, are actually fundamental to making it worth for not only the external factors to interact with us, but also part of what will make the hobby fulfilling to us internally.
Think of the Possibilities
Before I even start to write, I approach anime blogging with the notion that there is always, always something interesting to talk about or to consider. Now a lot of times I don’t even manage to reach those interesting conversation points, but what’s important here is the mindset. Somewhere out there in the nebulous space of otaku-relevant thought is at least one on-going discussion that is worth exploring, or perhaps an idea that has yet to be expanded upon, or even an area into which you can funnel your own thoughts and opinions.
Great advice, and something I follow as well. I too, don’t think that I manage to reach those interesting conversation points on a regular basis and I don’t even publish as often as SDS, but I definitely have the mindset he talks about.
It may seem that I actually look at what’s not being talked about and try to do that, but I don’t even get to do so because there’s a lot of anime blogs out there and I can’t really read them all. Instead, I ask myself, “what questions would I like to hear answers to from commenters?” and work from there.
Understand Yourself, or At Least Try to
If you’re looking to foster your “voice” as a writer or at least as an anime fan, I think it’s good to have a good sense of yourself and how you approach your anime fandom. Do you see any trends? Why do you think you like one show but not the other? Can you commit those thoughts to your keyboard in a way where others can understand where you’re coming from even if they disagree with you?
Again, very good advice and something I followed myself even as I started out. My first post wasn’t about Macross, it was about Cowboy Bebop. But, I had already named the blog “We Remember Love,” and like Oguie Maniax it is a distinct and particular advocacy.
I could tell how many blogs were about being filters of quality in the form of reviews, or imposing onto readers the authors’ particular standards. I knew that this wasn’t what I wanted to read, and was very sure this wasn’t what I wanted to be about.
And even within the Macross fandom, I knew the role I wanted to play: not one to rise within the existing community, but rather attempt to welcome people who discover Macross for the first time in the best way possible (as well as make older fans remember love).
Love It Even When You Hate It
The feeling that I really want to emphasize is joy. Anime blogging should be fun even when it’s frustrating and you feel like it might not be worth it to say anything. If you can keep it fun for yourself by watching fewer shows, do so. If it’s more fun when you focus on specific things, focus on that. If it becomes a bit of a chore, don’t be afraid to experiment and find something you do want to talk about. If you can get fired up over what’s wrong with a series instead of what’s right, talk about that provided you can do so with genuine gusto. Burn-out is fairly common within anime blogging, and the chief cause is a simple loss of passion. That’s not to say that you can’t sometimes get tired of writing about anime or whatever topic you’re on, but that even when you get the strange feeling that your blogging has turned into an obligation, it shouldn’t completely extinguish the flame of fandom that burns within you.
My means of protecting myself from this is buffering. What this means is I write as much as I can and as often as I can, but I schedule the publication of my posts as evenly as I can and as farther in between as I can. This way I don’t feel the pressure of writing, and on having to write “while on empty.”
That said, I’ll repeat what I told to fellow blogger usagijen some time ago:
One thing I discovered is that no matter what happens, sometimes, it’s just not going to be fun. It’s not going to be fun to finish this draft you did a week ago. You’ve moved on and forgot what you wanted to say at the end of the post. You lost the energy that you began the post with… you have 900 words put in a post that needs an ending…
this is a real shitty feeling.
What’s worse, if you put this off now, something tells you you’re not going to touch the draft for another week. And guess what, when you do open the draft it’s not going to be easier. So sometimes, it’s just not fun at all.
But do you give up on the blog? Disappear for a while? Spam twitter? Comment on everyone’s shared items on google reader? Anything that gives a semblance of productivity (but it’s a lie and you know it).
Sometimes, it’s just not going to be fun. You just need to suck it up and finish the damn post. No matter how unsatisfying the thing ends up, no matter how stupid you think you sound. You just type, add your links, upload your images, then publish.
Then you wait…
for that first comment, that no matter what it says, brings me back to life every single time.