Now that I’ve been maintaining an anime blog for over five years now, I’ve been wondering if I’ve ever developed some kind of goal for my work all this time. After all, if you’re like me and are very dedicated to your anime blog, your goal for it might not be something simple…
By “goal” I don’t mean a superficial goal such as reaching a certain number of posts or acquiring a certain number of hits – rather, I wonder if there’s a personal goal to blogging for all of us, whether we had the goal from the beginning or whether it was created over time. What kind of fulfillment do we get from blogging? Do we mostly do it for own sake or for others’ opinions? Which is more valuable to us, a good following of readers or simply getting our thoughts out there?
I didn’t develop much of a structure for MAY until sometime in 2008, when I really became familiar with the anime blogsphere and started watching anime almost strictly seasonally. I couldn’t update much in 2008 due to college, but around that time is when I became a more competent writer and found that my posts of choice are editorials about general anime topics. After I graduated college in mid-2009, MAY fell into the kind of structure you see today – mostly editorial posts about general anime topics, some favorites lists here and there, and reviews of seasonal anime when they start airing and after they finish. But unlike episodic blogs where there’s always something new to write about and no need to come up with original topics, editorial blogs like MAY have the challenge of coming up with unique topics all the time, which can be just as hard as actually writing about them.
So, now that it’s been a few years since I found this blogging structure I’m comfortable with, I ask myself, what is it that makes me want to keep on writing? As much as some of us like to think we’re only writing to get our thoughts out there and don’t care whether someone reads our posts or not, I know all bloggers feel at least a tinge of pleasure when someone comments on their posts, especially if they agree with your opinions. In my early years of blogging when I hardly got any comments, it was a great joy to get even one. Now that it’s been a few years since I’ve had a post with no comments, comments have become as much a part of my posts as the posts themselves. Replying to comments has also become a standard, as it gives back to the readers, letting them know that I in turn acknowledge what they said. It almost doesn’t seem like blogging anymore without that reader interaction. So I will definitely admit that one of my goals for blogging is for people to read what I write and acknowledge it through comments. After all, when you have a blog about anime, something the majority of English-speaking people know little to nothing about, your fellow fans online become the only people you can continually share it with. Your voice may get lost in crowded places like forums, but when you’re the voice behind your own blog, you get much more acknowledgement.
Of course, getting acknowledgement from others isn’t the only reason I blog. I would say I write for my own personal expression as much as I write for readers. There are three things I do to maintain my readership: 1) blog steadily, at least once or twice a week, 2) come up with original topics as much as I can, and 3) reply to comments. Other than that, I focus on writing in a way that gives me the most pleasure. Even if my posts end up being longer than usual or I want to write about something I don’t think my readers care about, I’ll do it if that’s what I feel like. Cyril Connolly once said that “It’s better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” Of course, the ideal situation is writing for yourself and having a public XD And honestly, I think that’s what my personal goal for anime blogging comes down to: finding a good balance of writing so that it gives me pleasure, while also writing in a way that keeps my readers coming back. I never disregard either side; I won’t write strictly for myself, never replying to comments, blogging inconsistently, and not blogging for extended periods of time with no explanation. But I also won’t blog solely to please readers, only talking about anime in a way I think people will like or trying to be the first to review something. Ultimately, the goal I’ve developed in five years of writing on MAY is to write so that I enjoy it, but also establishing a structure so that my readers enjoy it too, which then gives back more enjoyment to me even if I have to work a little harder to maintain those readers. It’s a give and take relationship, and that’s what I strive for in blogging ^_^
And lastly, for my fellow bloggers reading this, I’d like to know what goal you have that keeps you blogging. Self expression? Interaction with readers? Simply polishing your writing skills? Or do you not even have a goal in mind at all?