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Ever since THAT Anime Blog came out with its guides on how to establish yourself as a blogger, I’ve toyed around with the idea of writing my own. My intended approach was to focus less on steps for “establishing” a blog-like entity and more on the act of writing one’s feelings on anime and manga. As I started to think about it more though, I realized that as much as I can talk about the way I write, the last thing I want to do is to give the impression that my style is better or that you should be trying to write how I write.
But even though I don’t think I can write a proper guide for anime blogging at this point, I still want to convey what I think are essentials for anime blogging, or at the very least are pointers that will help you, whether you’ve already been blogging for years or you’ve just started thinking about committing your thoughts to your internet journal. I will still use myself as an example, but mainly so that I can give some context to my thoughts.
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.
Anime series, manga series, comparing anime to manga, fandom itself, story, characters, episodes, story arcs, character design, costume design, political and philosophical messages, psychological elements of games, the possibilities are near-endless, and if I fail to talk about something interesting, I don’t think it’s anime’s fault for not having enough meat, but more my fault for having my attention caught up by other things.
Which isn’t a bad thing, really. I can’t fault someone for not feeling like they can write about anime or an anime-related subject because their mind was elsewhere. However, I think you can see that there’s a difference between “I couldn’t find anything interesting to talk about” and “There wasn’t anything interesting to talk about.”
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?
My personal voice as it has been established on this blog is one of creating connections. I look to connect seemingly disparate ideas with one another to foster conversation and at the same time connect readers with ideas both old and new so that they too can think more about themselves and their fandom. However, this is not entirely how Ogiue Maniax began, and it’s something that was only eventually established as I wrote more. So even if you feel like you don’t have a voice, or you don’t feel like you understand yourself as an anime fan, you can still treat your blog as a venue for self-exploration. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be about you. One possibility is to write your thoughts on two different shows and to just kind of compare your two posts and see if they differ any in tone, attitude, or some other area. Then, simply ask yourself, “why?”
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.