I actually don’t like writing about myself. I do write a lot about what I feel towards writing and blogging in general throughout 1.5 years of the limitless imagination, but I rarely talk about anything other than what is acutely related to this virtual space and the ani-manga community surrounding it. That’s really because I don’t like to bring anything that is not remotely relevant to the focus of this blog, which had unknowingly become established over time to – anime commentaries, essays, and just lots of posts about having no writing inspiration.
But I figured its probably time to write about one, mostly because I have been in the community for so long and yet I think, people don’t actually know me much. They know only what I write and what I choose to put on here, but I rarely communicate with people about anything outside the context of this blog.
But at this point in time, there are really a few things about my life that I think my readers need to know. I actually thought of skipping out this post because I am so pressed for time at this current point, but I realised there was one less deadline I had to meet and hence I ended up writing this.
Sorry for the wall of text as usual people. Read what you deem important.
I Joined UnimeTV!
I recently joined the UnimeTV team as a writer. I am pretty grateful and happy to be granted the opportunity to do so especially when the team is already formed for some time and going strong. Why I joined the team was really because I wanted to contribute to a greater cause and be exposed to other ways of collaboration on something that I like to spend time with and write about – rather than merely writing on an individual basis in this space, and what’s better than to help create a global anime social network?
Future changes to my blog direction
Let me start this by stating that I am actually a very practical and pragmatic person. Every single decision I have made in my life is one made as a result of a Cost-Benefit Analysis.
The decision to start this blog was a ‘Eureka!’ type of idea to a long term concern I have had, and it was only instinctive in action, but not in intention. As I have previously mentioned in other posts, I don’t have anybody in real life around me to share or talk about my love for anime with. I spent at least 2 to 3 years on MAL talking to random people, but there was not really a platform for my opinions as they just got drowned in the crowd, and the friendships there were very fleeting. I did not feel I was genuinely connecting with anime fans at all.
That was the initial reason, and also because I felt that a blog would mean a permanent space on the web for me to inhabit, to call mine, and to ‘leave a legacy’ of sorts.
When I started writing more and realised there was actually a very small community here, with people who actually comment and check back for replies, somehow I found that those reasons were not exactly enough to keep me going. Don’t get me wrong, its people, you guys, some whom I would call friends, who enable me to maintain a genuine heartfelt emotional bond/connection to this platform.
But it was really because I realised I was also trying to achieve a goal, an ambition of sorts. It was to help myself. To help me.
Throughout my whole life, I suffered from extremely low self-esteem. I used to think that it was only related to my appearances, but later I realised that it stemmed from something more fundamental – my intellectual capability. I have always been a relatively hardworking person, but my traditional Asian Chinese upbringing also meant that there was a dearth of compliments given to me, no matter how well I did on every aspect – grades, music, behaviour. I saw how my elders and relatives compliment me on my achievements and then, like an afterthought, add that it was only because I worked so hard but I was actually “not smart”. (the ‘polite’ way, in Chinese mannerisms, to say ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid’). I was taught to dismiss every compliment that was given to me as the person just being ‘nice’ or polite, or having some other motive, and this is something I still do today.
So it was really a surprise to me when I received my first compliment here. Those started to push me to do more, and to challenge more unconventional ways of thinking, putting them down and organising those thoughts into posts. I started writing longer because I want to write down as many developed thoughts as possible, and expand on them to show how much thinking went into them. (My posts end up covering 75% of my thoughts, but definitely not all.)
But the catch is that those posts take up a lot of time to write. I usually don’t write drafts and finish an entire post in one sitting, in order to save on the cumulative amount of time I spend on the blog, but even I realise that is not enough. Add that to the fact that I have a poor memory on the details of anime, and to write any form of analysis or commentary at the level I have been writing meant that sometimes I had to read all episodic synopses again or I even have to rewatch the anime because episodic impressions or reviews do not cover some details. (I forget fast. Like with the next anime episode.) (FYI: I took 12 hours to write that Your Lie in April commentary because I had to read synopses, rewatch some episodes, think – all because it had been 8 months since I finished it. I rewatched Eupho & wrote that Eupho piece when I was on episode 9. That cross-cultural analysis was possible because it is a topic close to my heart – arguably the closest because its what I always discuss with my mum.)
So it comes back to the Cost-Benefit Analysis. Yes, some of the benefits are non-quantifiable – like being able to know that I can write posts like those, and being able to just use commonsense, logic-based arguments as my basic writing style satisfies me intellectually. But I also know that the thing that drives me is both pride from past ‘glories’ of writing and that need to boost my terribly low self-esteem.
I would not say those needs are a thing of the past, but they rank lower on my priority ladder now that I proceed into the next stage of life. After all, university education has helped to a certain extent in proving to myself what I can do. Hence, I don’t think it is necessary to maintain the type of length in posts even though it seems to have become a quality I am associated with. That’s especially when I am only going to get busier. Admittedly, I have also noticed that my blog’s readership is not expanding the way I want it to – or that I haven’t been getting the comments I need. (Not necessarily blaming anybody or anything, but its a fact that I take into account.)
Hence, from now on, I am going to broaden my blog’s scope. That means that I will no longer be exclusively doing long posts. There are still some anime essay-like topics I want to write about, so those would inevitably be long because I do not like to compromise on argument quality and quantity. But I may end up venturing into posts like my Sakurazawa (Diamond no Ace) one – posts that focus on specific events or thematic focus in an anime series, or even informally written seasonal impressions. (That was only 1000 words by the way.) If I feel particularly inspired about an anime (e.g. like Eupho) I would write a long one, but it depends on how much I am inspired by and the time I have.
My Quarter Life Crisis
Moving on to what I deem as the other ‘necessary life updates’, I swear they are related to the above. Why? Because for the past six months, I had actually been relatively free, but I was not very motivated to watch or write about anime in any sense (hence the lack of posts, still) because I was just content with sitting there, doing nothing, and worrying about the future. I pondered about what I wanted to do with my life, what I should do at this point in time, and what I needed to do. Even when I thought of my blog, my thoughts centered around: what do I want to achieve with my blog? Why do I continue to write about anime?
It was a quarter-life crisis of sorts, and I have actually contemplated quitting writing about anime altogether or simply disappearing off the face of the WordPress earth. But that phase passed and it culminated in my decision to join UnimeTV and to switch my pre-established writing style, which may seem like a 180 degree switch from my thoughts. However, I realised it was ultimately because I wanted a new experience of some sort, and I seem to have reached a milestone with writing on my personal blog, since, as I have mentioned above, I no longer feel the constant need to prove myself and then taking up too much effort while doing that.
Oh and by the way, I graduated from university – from law school. Technically I have not had the ceremony yet because its all still in processing, and to be honest I don’t really feel a sense of accomplishment (perhaps due to lingering self-esteem issues). But I also know that IT HAS BEEN TOUGH. It was torture especially for my first two years which was why I did not start writing then. It was grueling, it was harsh, there were tears involved, anger, frustration, a lot of unfairness and I almost quit together with some of my course mates because of how uncompromising grades are, and how competitive it was because everybody is at least smart and 90% of them are smarter. Even though it was not entirely my own choice to go there, I am glad I went and got an education that opened the doors of my mind. I am grateful.
I am also going on a ‘grad trip’ to Hokkaido, Japan and flying off in a few days (I’ll probably announce this on Twitter again). Its a short trip because its only a week or so, because I don’t have much money and I don’t like to go on long trips and then having to be stuck in this country for the next x amount of years, saving up for the next. But woohoo! Its still a break!
This concludes my updates. Thanks for reading through this entire convoluted, informally written thing, or if you haven’t that’s fine as well. 😉 I apologise for being late in responding to WordPress comments here, but I’ll do so on my trip, which consists of lots of waiting and travelling. As usual, feel free to like or comment 🙂 And do check us out at UnimeTV if you haven’t already, we’ve got lots in store for you! 😉