The Hardest Part About Blogging
Writing about foreign cartoons on the internet can be serious business. Writing about anything, for that matter, whether it’s for an obscure hobby or a term paper, can be so, so difficult. What is it that causes bloggers to burn out so often? Why can it be so much of a struggle just to write out a single post? It always depends on the person, but as it turns out, time is one of the issues that has the least impact on my productivity in the blogosphere. Now I see you saying, wtf is all this bs, eh, Mint?! Scratch everything and just admit that it’s all just because you’re LAZY. And to that I say, shut up, I’m trying to write something insightful and personal here, I want to look nice for the Tourney visitors.
This is the big one for most, but the reason I’m writing this post is that this isn’t an issue for me anymore. I have loads of free time. I’m rolling in it. All I do at school is slack off and nap, with the occasional soul-destroying calculus midterm here and there. But there’s something still that makes writing/blogging difficult. Instead I’ll point you towards a great post that Tofu wrote about balancing anime and time management. Also, I want to blame any craziness in this post on my teachers. Especially the one at 10:59.
b) Fear and standards
To tell you the truth, a big part of it is just me being a wimp. That moment before I hit publish always scares me, if I’ve put a lot of myself into an entry and now I’m sending it out into the internet for public scrutiny. There are times when I try to generalize my opinion, make it a little more conventional to avoid conflict, obey the regular rules of grammar, and other crazy stuff like that. Am I being a little bit too weird? Too blunt? Too random? Too cheesy? Too generic? I’m not sure if writing completely for myself is a good thing, but if at least one person out there finds me a little entertaining or a tad bit interesting, that’s good enough for me.
If what I’m writing doesn’t live up to my own standards, I can’t physically bring myself to keep at it. I can’t just write without thinking of editing it later, which is probably the reason I’ll finish Nanowrimo when the US switches to the metric system and another Firefly movie is made. It has to be the perfect final result when I put down the first words, and that’s impossible. That mentality also makes it hard to write pretty much anything. That’s a personal challenge I want to overcome. To just let go of my nitpicky brain and write without a care in the world.
Which, to some degree, is what this post is a product of. So maybe that’s not such a good thing…
I kinda think of the commenter-blogger relationship like a game of Harvest Moon. (I apologize for the next few video game comparisons I’m about to make.) Yknow how if you stop giving the villagers gifts for a while, they stop liking you? Or in Animal Crossing when they can move out FOREVER?! When I was eight years old that kept me awake at night. I love you guys. Unless you’re that stubborn weirdass pig that I was constantly trying to get to move out but he never did. But seriously, I am as obsessive about not losing commenters as I am at keeping every single Fire Emblem character alive at all costs, even it’s some bearded axe user that I haven’t used, ever.
The equivalent of obsessively making sure that I maintain some pixels’ affection for me is like this, but instead of throwing colorful grass at you or a dead fish thats been sitting in my bag for a while or showing you one of my chickens, I return comments. I try, at least. Unless your name is Rick. God, I hated that guy.
d) Fighting the urge to multitask
I have the approximate attention span of someone watching an Old Spice commercial. I can’t watch anime on my computer without inevitably opening another window to multitask while a show is playing. Otherwise, it’s impossible– I always find myself drifting off. Strangely enough, the solution to a lot of my problems has been… my five year old first gen iPod touch. (I wish five years wasn’t so long in the tech world.) I’ve been typing up drafts in my email app and for some reason it does wonders. I can actually concentrate because it doesn’t feel like I’m Writing Something, thus getting rid of all that perfectionist crap from point b).
Typing out the first words on my iPod also helps me just get down those first words. They’re the hardest, but once I get started, the rest isn’t so bad. (And then I can’t seem to stop, which is another problem entirely.) There’s nothing more terrifying than staring at that completely blank word document, while all the distractions/other stuff I could work on the computer at any given time begin weighing on my mind. Getting away from the laptop is the only way to get me to stop multitasking. Let me tell you, it even made it easy to get past the slower first episodes of Kimi to Boku, which is, by the way, a surprisingly sweet and funny slice-of-life, haters.
This entire post, actually, was typed out entirely on my iPod at three in the morning, because I only ever get the urge to write things at the most inconvenient of times. (Aka in the ten minutes I get ready for school or when I’m in the shower.) So I apologize for the occasional bout of craziness or any incoherent thoughts… So much for looking nice for the Tourney visitors.
e) The best part about blogging
When your jumbled thoughts suddenly start to fit together. When you get a surprisingly great response from readers. When you write something that you can be proud of. When you get to meet and talk with all sorts of awesome people. When you get into that typing frenzy where all the words just come pouring out of your brain. When you look back at your posts two years ago and wonder how in the world you improved that much.
When it becomes a sort of collection of thoughts that show what kind of person you were at any given time. Most of my writing for school purposes has gone in the trash throughout the years. With blogging, the words are the ones that you chose to write, and the ones that you publish will always be there. For me, at least, it’s the only way to see how my writing’s changed over time. And changed it has.
I wonder if I’ll ever settle down with a consistent writing style. After two years, it’s changed from fangirly to overly sentimental to a more honest, sometimes cynical, sometimes offbeat mix between all of the above. I’ve never written a summary, and I don’t have enough confidence in my ability to truly analyze something with depth and clarity. So for now, my posts will just offer a random couple of hundred-word glimpses of what makes me tick. What I know for sure is that I don’t want one of my posts to look like anyone else could’ve written it. I want to write the same way that I talk. So it might get random, it might be sappy, not very funny, loose with sentence with structure and the like, but that, I think, I can do.
The Aniblog Tourney brings back all sorts of memories. Especially given that they’re what brought me here now in the first place, two years after Sekijitsu was the last-minute entry and the very first matchup.
My reckless fifteen-year-old self was hypnotized by the jaw-dropping graphics (oh Sekijitsu, you beautiful thing, you), saw that it was hiring, sent in an email with so much enthusiasm that it would probably make me cringe to read it now, and what followed were several late night/early morning cross-continent msn conversations, one particularly random one which ended up leading us to some friendships with folks at Metanorn and Daifuuku, several wildly unsuccessful attempts on my part at consistently blogging shows (and I don’t even want to talk about my Kaichou wa Maid-sama episodics *shudder*), and then some posts that I look back on and think, wow, I wrote that?
And not always in a bad way.
Even if that’s the only thing I’d ever get from blogging (and it definitely isn’t), but if it was, well… I think that’s enough to make it all worth it.
What about you?