Maybe I’ve been doing this all wrong.

I had come upon this idea, as you can probably observe just by looking at the dates of these posts, sometime in August. Having just gotten out of a summer job and twiddling my thumbs for the next academic quarter, I started downloading as much anime as possible before the rigor of school inhibited my opportunities. During this time, too, amidst the anime watching and the aniblog stalking, the need to write also cropped up.  I figured, since writing seemed like a way to blow off steam and the anisphere seemed to be a nice enough crowd to mingle with, starting up a blog would not be much of a problem at all. I find it kind of funny how covertly yet severely I lied to myself that day.

The first problem was that I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with an aniblog. Am I interested in doing episodics or editorials? What’s going to be my unique take on anime? What’s my online persona going to end up being like, and will I not end up hating myself for it? In order to shape my opinion and expand my horizons, I browsed through as many blogs as possible, running into some fellow up-and-coming blogs along the way. I ate up as much material as possible, commenting at times, privately bookmarking them at others. Within the span of a day or two, I had amassed a good-enough pool of resources to refer to if I ever need some sort of inspiration to write. When I think about it now, that was probably a trap. Perusing for high-quality material only served to feed my indecision, to the point where I think I secretly prescribed to Fukitol in large doses behind my own back. It was intimidating, seeing all these people who could write often, and, more frequently than not, write consistently well at great volume. I have no idea how you people can go on for more than one thousand words. Eventually, after a week of this, after tinkering with some themes and images, I had made my first post.

Yet, I chose to keep the site private, visible to me only. There’s some reasoning behind this that I’m expounding upon now. The more I looked at other blogs, the more I wondered exactly where they found the time to write so much. I worried. You might witness this in real-time with me, but one of my most shameful talents is to put off things for weeks, months, half-years, years before I finally start doing something about them. A lot of personal issues have suffered because of it, and I won’t really go into the details because that’s kind of personal, but suffice to say my style of doing work is waiting to the very last minute. An A-prus procrastinator, to put it that way. Knowing this little detail about myself, the first ideal for this blog sprouted a couple days after the first post.

I thought, if I treated this as a chore, that it could help me fall into a workable schedule. That was the key thing when I first started this blog: scheduling. If I forced myself to write about what I liked, then I could eventually become comfortable with it. To pull this off, I decided to do an episodic series on an anime that was already completed, one which I already had some stray thoughts and ambitions: that would be Xam’d: Lost Memories if you haven’t bothered to read the rest of this blog yet. I figured that an anime I was familiar with would come easier to the mind and make the writing experience more enjoyable on my part. Two mistakes on my part made this a slight failure. One, there was no one to motivate me but myself, and going off of past experience I’m kind of terrible at motivating myself. Two, my expectations were too high for the quality I wanted from my posts. Of course, the actual quality of said posts is debatable, but I put my fair share of effort into making them. Writing, as I’ve said earlier, doesn’t come easy for me.

What exactly do I mean by this project being a bit of a failure? Well, the expectation was that I have a new post each week, and that I could possibly finish the entire anime episodic series by the end of the year. If I could pull that off, maybe I was aniblogger material after all and I wouldn’t feel inadequate about making something that could have gathered dust in my neglect. I even resolved to delete this blog if I couldn’t meed this standard. Sometime in October was when I lowered my expectations to just having the series done up to episode 14, and have the blog opened in time to participate in 12 Days of Anime openly with the rest of the anisphere. As you can see, I’ll probably find myself in late 2013 when I am finally finished with this foolish wager of mine. I worried more. I fretted incessantly.

Fast-forward to sometime a few days ago, maybe today as well. For you people suffering like I am right now, it’s close to finals week. Right in the midst of studying furiously for them and trying to maintain adequate sleep hours, I came to the conclusion that I was not going to finish the first half of the episodics by the 14th of December, minimum, and by that note not even the 1st of January. It became quite clear that I went into this whole blogging business with some misguidance on my own part.

Maybe I’ve been doing this all wrong.

What was I writing for to justify holing myself in my private password-protected blog, where no eyes other than my own can judge? Was it to voice my opinions in my own fashion? Of whose approval did I seek solace in other than my own? The primary purpose I manufactured for this blog was to look primarily at completed series and completely ignore the current season. It felt unique at the time, but I slowly understood why people didn’t really go down that route. One was obviously the timeliness factor of having popular posts and massive reader followings, but I also figured that writing about the past required that I step up my writing game proportionately. The effort took up a lot more time than I expected, something I should have known going into this, honestly. And now, with everything closing in, perhaps it was time to think differently.

So I thought about my life, my privileged, sheltered, anime-obsessed college life. Thinking about it, anime dominates a majority of my life nowadays, and I’ve quickly and regrettably become out of touch with society. Perhaps my own take on the American social outcast. Its relevance to my life is strangely existent yet laughable, a phenomenon where the very nature of my interests is so unsharable in popular culture that it’s taken a toll on my social expertise.Why did it have to be so hard to find people who were interested in the same anime you were, much less people interested in anime at all?

Yes, that’s what I want. My opinions on anime are something I’m trying to share, not showcase. I’ll become good enough at the pretentious writing to effectively showcase anime someday, but that time is not now. The danger of setting expectations too high is the creeping anxiety that there’s always something better out in the anisphere more eloquently written and more relevant than what I tried to do. My pursuit at quality and uniqueness got caught up in such meaninglessness and, quite unsurprisingly, got stuck in a rut.

The ultimate thing to come out of this realization, an epiphany that happened, no kidding, during a bus ride back home earlier today, is that I have new ideas for this blog besides just the episodics and the older series. This blog is going to end up a bit more personal, perhaps with more feelings attached. With exactly what, I can’t tell just yet. I’ll have posts and ramblings that come just as strongly from the heart as it does the head. Hopefully, anyway.

Anyway, beside the point, I’m opening this blog now. Releasing the hounds. And it is going to be absolutely terrifying.

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8 comments

  1. First. (I had to do it)

    Opening a blog really isn’t as bad as you make it sound. Remember that you’re on the internet, and regardless of what people tell you, it’s not always serious business. You started a blog because you wanted to share your ideas, but don’t forget that, at heart, you’re still writing for yourself. By making your blog public, you’re merely giving yourself the opportunity to bounce ideas off other bloggers.

    I know how hard it is, but you shouldn’t compare yourself to other blogs if its just going to get you down. Instead, ask yourself what they offer and think about how you can implement that into your own particular writing style. The fact that you can form a sentence without any blatant grammar or spelling errors puts you a cut above a lot of bloggers. The fact that you can write a post with an original idea beyond a simple summary is another mark in your favor.

    One bit of advice I’ll give is to not put yourself on a concrete posting schedule. If you force yourself to write, you’ll end up hating it in no time. Instead, schedule time to sit down and think about what you’d like to write. If you can’t come up with anything, so be it; there’s always next time. If you do manage to think of something worth writing about, you shouldn’t need a schedule to convince yourself to start.

    You gave me a little push out of the starting gate so here’s me returning the favor. Oh, and I feel your pain on finals.

    1. The original point was precisely to hate writing, deal with it, and move forward anyway. I usually have all the time in the world (in terms of free time, anyway) to post something, and this was a chance to prove to myself that I can finally keep a running schedule. I equated my disinterest in writing the next post with laziness on my part, so there wasn’t much to blame for my lack of punctuality other than myself. Now that I think about it, this was a bit misguiding. It felt like laziness because I hadn’t considered other avenues to take this blog, not because I needed to maintain the fervor I once had for my original idea. I’ll see where that mindset takes me with the next coming months.

  2. I’d also like to chime in here!

    First, finals man. I understand as well. And yet, here I am, after watching anime for like 6 hours instead of studying. It’s the best feeling, amirite?

    “So I thought about my life, my privileged, sheltered, anime-obsessed college life. Thinking about it, anime dominates a majority of my life nowadays, and I’ve quickly and regrettably become out of touch with society…Why did it have to be so hard to find people who were interested in the same anime you were, much less people interested in anime at all?”

    I can totally empathize with you here (unnecessary story follows). When I was in high school, I had a small group of friends who I hung out with all the time. All of them accepted my anime-watching/otaku habits – heck, 2 of them co-developed them with me. We would talk about shows we’d seen, and as we became a bit more seasoned, started watching shows as they aired. We would talk about them together, and later go to a Con together (twice) and attempt cosplaying. We even started an anime club (although we originally just wanted a place to hang out, it sorta took on a life of it’s own and actually has survived us!). However, none of them really were that much in-tune with my academic interests. But I didn’t really mind that much. (Besides the social aspect, anime has had a huge impact on my personality/realizations, starting with Eva in high school but continuing on to the present day.)
    Fast forward to college, where it’s the opposite situation. I manage to find a great group of people interested in the same subjects I was, and we talk about them and geek out about them together and on a semi-regular basis. And people appreciate your academic interests much more (most of the time). But anime? I found a decent amount of people who’d heard about it, less who’d actually seen a decent amount, and almost none who was still into it like I was. And it absolutely killed me. I was unhappy and restless for most of my freshman year solely due to that. I felt out of touch, isolated, weird (not like a good unique way, but ostracized). I was so starved for discussion I started talking to myself when I would watch shows alone in my room, with the door closed so as to not annoy my roommates. It’s a habit I actually still have, for better or worse. It was only after hard searching that I finally found a group (well, two people) late in the Spring. I still remember just how ecstatic I was finally being able to talk, really talk, about anime with people. It was unreal.

    Anyways, I look forward to reading your future posts. I’m always interested in hearing stories of how anime is, not only as a genre or medium (with week-to-week updates), or what issues it deals with (e.g. Ghost in the Shell-esque cyperbunk discussions), but also how it has impacted people. Ultimately, anime-watching is a personal experience, which isn’t totally divorced from the medium. I mean, I find any subject much more interesting when it’s not just the subject itself that is discussed but also the human stories intertwined with it. WHICH MEANS good luck! :D
    …and I think you might’ve even inspired me to write a personal blog post or two of my own in a similar vein! ;)

    1. You can’t hear it, but a Chicago song is playing in the background as I read your post. Thanks for the encouragement.

      I’m going to be posting some stories and personal accounts about the people I did find in college that matched my interests in anime. They’re a small handful, but I’m way more fond of them than I probably should be no homo.

      1. No homo *brofist*.

  3. This is a very long post! But I managed to read it all the way till the last comment :)

    Okay. I wanted to tell you that I feel the same way as you do. Your blog is probably quite older than mine (even though you kept it private first) so that put us on the same boat of being new to this aniblogging thing. I know how you feel about insecurity and such. When reading well written blog posts, I feel insecure and I started to compare myself with them.

    But that doesnt discouraged me or even questioned myself if I’m doing the right thing. In the first place, I’m doing this for myself, to improve how I express myself. Getting my post being read by others is just a plus.

    Compare to your writing skills, I am nothing. And it just like what windyturnip said,
    “The fact that you can form a sentence without any blatant grammar or spelling errors puts you a cut above a lot of bloggers”

    About scheduling and such. It’s up to you. :)

    I also considered doing reviews of old animes (er- they’re not that old) but I sticked with episodic reviews of some animes this season. Well, for the reason of timeliness. And, oh, it’s easier!

    This is a long comment as well. I wish you luck with all your endeavors, including your finals of course. See you around!!

    1. Thank you kindly. My finals are over by this point, so I’m just sitting here writing into the sunset.

      THE PAIN.

      1. Lucky! Our exams are just starting xD

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