Anime blogging and evolving as a writer

Having been dedicated to writing about anime online for over a decade now, it’s no surprise that my style as a writer has evolved over the course of those years. Kai on deluscar wrote a post last month about how he’s also evolved as a writer thanks to a passion for writing about anime, which inspired me to share my experiences in writing and how my anime hobby has helped shaped me as a writer…

When thinking about how I’ve evolved as a writer thanks to my being an anime fan, what most interests me is that pretty much everything anime-related I’ve ever written since I first got into anime nearly fourteen years ago, has been of the academic format – things like essays, editorials, general information, and reviews – anything that’s informative and non-fictional, as opposed to creative writing, which is writing fictional stories. For me, that’s about 650 blog posts and another 100+ pages on my blog – that’s a lot of academic writing! Of course, this isn’t surprising since the non-fictional style is how most bloggers I know write and is basically a staple of what blogging is about. But the reason it interests me is because originally I was more into creative writing.

I actually wrote a few stories when I was a little kid, years before I even knew about anime. Some of the first writing I did (outside of school) was a little adventure story about the events of my then-favorite video game, Sonic & Knuckles, back in the mid-90s. It’s obvious that little kids are driven towards creative writing since they don’t yet have the thinking and reasoning skills needed to write academically. When I got my first computer in 2001, I wrote my first “real” fictional story partly for my high school English class and partly because I wanted to. It ended up being the longest story in the class and none of the other students had time to finish reading it during the period where we passed around each other’s stories to read (still got a good grade though!) Not too long after that I wrote my first academic piece, an essay about why I thought Team Rocket from Pokemon were such awesome characters XD (I was 15 years old, that was a hot topic for me at the time!)

My real dive into writing began when I created my anime fan site, AnimeYume.com, in mid-2002. My main goal for the site was to make it a source for anime information and media files such as pictures and video clips, since there was no Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, etc., back then. So everything I wrote on the site was objectively inclined descriptions of things like what an anime series was about and what each of the characters were like. Looking back on my early writing on the site now, as far as skills go I was always good at grammar and punctuation, so despite a few run-on sentences here and there, my old writing was pretty good for a teenager. As far as style goes however, the main problem I see with my old writing is that, being a new and young fan of anime at the time, I was very “elated” about everything; I used way more emoticons than I do now, 99% of everything I said about every anime and character was positive because I was just so amazed with this newly found medium that I couldn’t see any anime doing anything wrong, and my descriptions were way too filled with things like how” cute” or “cool” everything was. It seems silly to me now of course, but I guess it’s nothing unusual. After all, not only was I much younger and therefore less critical and analytical back then, but I also only watched about 5-10 new anime a year (compared to 30+ nowadays) so it’s natural that each one seemed so novel to me.

Around when I started AnimeYume.com, I did go back and take another shot at creative writing. A little before I started the web site, I wrote a couple of Pokemon fanfics, and about a year after I started it I spent a summer writing two long fanfics for Tenchi Muyo! and Evangelion. But ultimately I went back to just regular prose writing as my interest in fanfiction didn’t last long. In the ensuing years, the two things that radically evolved my writing were going to college and starting this blog, both of which I started at roughly the same time. Being a literature major, I was constantly reading creative writing but only writing academically about then. At the same time, rather than just describing factual things about anime and characters as I had been doing on my fan site, on the blog I was now strictly sharing my opinions about them through reviews and editorials. Even as I was still doing some writing on the old site at this time, my writing on the new pages were noticeably more refined and professional, and less “fangirl-ish” than the old ones. To make a long story short, college helped greatly expand my mind and taught me indispensable reasoning and critical thinking skills, which I then enhanced through the types of articles I felt like writing on my blog. Instead of just giving factual information about anime, I was now expressing my wholehearted opinions and backing them up, offering nostalgic anecdotes, and analyzing subtleties about the fandom as a whole – all styles and topics I never thought about before…and I loved it! And here we are today, 650 posts later, and I can see that my writing is continuing to evolve as posts I wrote in 2012 are better than ones I wrote in 2008…and who knows how much more my writing will continue to evolve. I look forward to finding out =D

In short, when I think about how I’ve evolved as a writer, I went from writing that was good but limited due to my rather childish style and insistence on writing only factual information, to opening a whole new world of mind-enhancing writing as I became a proficient blogger (and college graduate!) But despite this, I do at some point plan to try creative writing again, something I haven’t done at all since that Eva fanfic in 2003. I’ve had a story idea that I’ve played around with in my mind the past few years (as for what it is, that’s a secret!) and I would love to write it out someday. But after ten years of writing only academically, I wonder if it’ll be difficult to switch to creative writing again. We shall see!

18 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Shikon says:

    It’s always empowering to look back at old works and see how you’ve improved over the years, it’s something to be proud of. It’s also quite cool how you can write about about a passion (namely anime) and at the same time keep improving on your writing skills, that’s pretty awesome. =)
    All I can say is that I look forward to watching you grow as a writer with each new post, keep up the good work!

    • Yumeka says:

      I think the fact that I write rather lengthy posts all the time is why blogging has helped me improve my writing. Also, the types of posts I write – editorials and full series reviews. If my blog was more focused on images rather than words, or if it was something that didn’t require a lot of words, like news posts or quick episode reviews, I probably wouldn’t have improved so much ;)

  2. Frootytooty says:

    Congrats on sticking to writing for so long! It’s very impressive how you’ve managed to keep at it for so long and continue to churn out good stuff. Academic writing, no less!

    I’ve recently hit 10 years as an ‘author’ myself – this year marked a decade since I joined Fanfiction.net. XD Although it’s been many years since I updated more than a few times a year, I still enjoy having a creative outlet.

    Let’s hope both of us continue writing for years to come!

    • Yumeka says:

      I’ve actually been on Fanfiction.net around a decade myself. I joined in 2003 I believe, when I wrote those long Tenchi and Eva fanfics. I only have three or four stories on there and I’ve only read a handful of others during my brief months of interest in fanfics. Haven’t logged into my account in ages XD

      Good luck with your writing too!

  3. chikorita157 says:

    I have been blogging since my freshman year back in 2009 and looking back at my old posts, I have improved as a blogger as my writing wasn’t that good in high school or rather, my grade school education got screwed up because of someone placed me in Special Ed when I don’t have any learning disability. Besides from that, I notice that I have gotten more formal rather than being childish after the first Aniblog Tourney, which pointed out areas to improve. But still, I think one’s writing style changes through experiences and ideas he/she has besides episodic reviews, which are easy to write about.

    • Yumeka says:

      As someone who’s been following your writing for a few years now, I agree that you’ve improved too ^_^ You still do your usual episode reviews, but it seems like you’ve come up with great editorial topics recently too, which I enjoy reading. Keep on improving~

  4. Kai says:

    Glad to see my post inspired you :p

    Your long history made me think whether or not if I should had made nostalgic post like this a little later, since in comparison, my blog’s just a little older then 1 year lol xD Not as much reflection.

    Writing “satisfactory” reviews was always a challenge, and is still challenging now. Expanding an opinion above the biased “great”, “cool” and “awesome” is always difficult, and it’s pretty much what I struggled during by early years of reviews writing, and still am now from time to time.

    I never did any creative writing aside from a few forum RPs I joined before (not the one liners type. They require to write at least a paragraph). Writing fanfics is something I really want to try, actually in fact, I’m writing a simple one-shot story for my mascot atm – will keep the details of the story a secret still however xD

    • Yumeka says:

      Yeah, I guess you could have waited until you’d been writing for a longer period of time. But it’s good to write out your thoughts on a topic when you feel like it, since the interest is there and who knows what could be going on if you wait years later.

      College was a big help as far as me learning how to express my opinions logically and give reasons for them rather than just stating them. Other blogs and reviewers I encountered online helped as well. But still, one shouldn’t be in “serious mode” all the time, and anyone who’s read enough of my stuff knows that I have my time and place when I just let the fangirl come out and fangasm about things I love XD

  5. marthaurion says:

    I dunno…I think it’s easy to look at change and assume it’s improvement. I personally think that my writing has changed since I started blogging, but without criticism, I really can’t say I’ve improved. I don’t think I can be the judge of that.

    • Yumeka says:

      Well, one reason I feel I’ve improved is because I’ve gotten more reader response to my posts than I did years ago. Plus I tend to take time now and then to read things I’ve written in the past, and it’s pretty obvious to me that I’ve improved even though what I’m writing about may be different. But you do have a point, which is why I want to try creative writing again someday, just to make sure that I haven’t degraded in that area even though I’ve improved in academic writing.

  6. Kal says:

    Well, I do not know much about writing, or writing styles, but I like your writing style :) I did try a little creative writing, and even tried making the story for a simple RPG I was making with my sister, and found out it is so difficult. I may have lots of interesting ideas in my head, but actually putting them down on paper? That’s not so easy. It’s good that you can actually see yourself improve over time, that certainly helps a lot, and I hope to see you improving in the next years as I keep reading your blogs :)

    Also, you have a slight spelling mistake on the last paragraph. “In short, when I think about how I’ve evolved as a write,”. I guess you mean “as a writer”, or maybe “as I write”. :)

    • Yumeka says:

      Yeah, being an extensive, dedicated writer isn’t for everyone, even people who have good ideas in their heads. I’ve noticed that some people are great at expressing their opinions verbally but don’t have any passion for writing, while others, like myself, are reserved verbally but very expressive with the written word =)

      Thanks as always for the encouragement and for continually following my blog ^_^ Also fixed that typo you pointed out. Even the best writers make mistakes here and there XD

  7. Artemis says:

    I think it’s really great that you’ve evolved as a writer over the past years. Of course, it’d be good no matter what, but the fact that it has directly to do with your passion as an anime fan is awesome. I’d like to think that as long as people are always improving and striving to improve, their passion for whatever hobby or interest they’re into will likewise always continue to grow. :)

    • Yumeka says:

      Thanks! I’ve always had something I was really interested in even when I was a little kid, and once I got old enough to be a decent writer, which also happened to be when I became an anime fan, I let the pen (or, keyboard I should say =P) become my outlet. I think the fact that I was never good at verbally expressing my opinions helped fuel my interest in writing them instead.

  8. Nopy says:

    I remember fanfics being super popular back in the 90′s and early 00′s, but I never really got into them. It’s interesting to hear how you started out with creative writing as a kid but went with academic writing for your blog. I’ve always avoided writing fictional works because I don’t feel confident in creating any sort of engaging story. I don’t see much creative writing from bloggers (I’m assuming for the same reasons as me) so I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of things you’ll write.

    • Yumeka says:

      I lost interest in fanfics quickly because 1) it was hard to find well written ones amongst all the crappy ones, and 2) I’m very picky about what I like in a fic and few writers match my tastes.

      Even though they’re both types of writing, writing creatively and writing academically are very different, and it’s not unusual for someone to be really good at one but not the other, or really enjoy one and not the other. Since it’s been so long since I’ve written a fictional story, I wonder how I’ll fare after years of only academic writing XD

  9. Overlord-G says:

    Never did care for fanfics. I did temporarily write action/adventure stories but I quit that as well. Now I simply stick to talking about anime, video games, whatever I feel like talking about and of course, yuri.

    I’ve been blogging for two years now and I do notice some changes in my writing style. It’s just that they are far and few to write editorials about them. Heck, I try as hard as I can to stay away from writing editorials.

    • Yumeka says:

      Writing editorials isn’t for everyone, but you can certainly enhance your writing style through things like reviews or plain old rambling. Even though I don’t write reviews on my blog as often as editorials, I’ve noticed that they’ve improved over the years as well. I’m sure once you’ve been blogging more years, the improvements in your writing will become more noticeable ;)

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