Being a blogger, I’ve spent my fair share of time reading many other blogs. Two of them talked about the lifespan of blogs and how most blogs tend to last only 2 years. Well, even though I planned to be a blogger for the rest of my life, things did not quite turn out that way. In fact, I’ve fallen short of that projected lifespan. But, it’s been a great 1 & 3/4 years. I’ve met people like Hinochi and Dreadwing93 who knew me long before I moved to WordPress. I thank Yi for being one of the first bloggers to ever reach out to me. It was from Yi that I learned about the importance of Blogrolls and networking. In fact, I modeled Mind of Miku after Listless Ink. Then, there are many other blogs (in no particular order) like Atvrcr’s Oniony Otaku Blog, Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?, BLOG: Where stupid ideas run wild!, EmptyBlue, and Sekijitsu who followed suit shortly after. And don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, Nopy: I think I first met you during your amazing History With Anime project, and I’m glad I did.
I thank everyone who has ever commented on and subscribed to my blog, but especially Hinochi and Dreadwing93, since they have stuck with me since long before WordPress and even before I had a Twitter. XD Special thanks goes to Justin for being my first and only guest blogger. I know atvrcr was thinking about it too, but I understand that we’re all busy.
I know this sounds like a death letter, but understand that this is not the end of my life –– it may very well be just the start. I believe we go through life in a series of stages. I spent my high school years as president of my town’s anime club, and I’ve spent the last couple years being the administrator of this blog; even though I’m 3 months shy of my 2 year anniversary, I feel like now’s the right time to move on to the next pillar of my life. I can’t loiter any longer.
I wrote once that the greatest misconception people have about blogging is that it’s easy, when in fact it’s like having a 2nd job…literally. Allocating time to sit down and write is only a small, small percentage: you don’t see all the background work –– designing the site, finding images, reading and replying to comments, browsing other blogs, watching anime, writing rough drafts, organizing a schedule, etc.
Ironically, the reason I’m so behind in watching anime is because I’ve been so busy blogging about it. I had to essentially give up on video games to make time for blogging; now I’m going to have to give up blogging to make time for more important issues in my life.
Let me tell you from experience that it is not easy to write a book and be a consistent blogger at the same time. Writing a blog and writing a novel are two different monsters: one is casual and in 1st-person; the other is formal and in 3rd-person –– not to mention the former is meant to be read in bite-size pieces (unlike this post you’re reading right now! ^_^;), while the latter is a single affair that takes place over hundreds of pages.
Needless to say, it’s a lot of mental stress switching gears from one form of writing to another.
Speaking of stress, I have OCD. I remember when I first started blogging in September 2009, I was checking almost every hour –– I spazzed out any day I got over 100 visits. After moving to WordPress, I started acquiring things I never had a taste of on Blogger: comments and subscribers. While I was absolutely flabbergasted the first time I received over 20 comments on a single post, I also felt a sense of pressure and duty building up. Duty to do what? I don’t know. As I stated in another, much earlier post, blogging is like a service. Now that I had an audience, I had to live up to their expectations. Being the perfectionist that I am, I obsessed day and night about what those expectations may be. I already gave up on episodic blogging long ago, and thank God I did, because I couldn’t have any fun watching anime while thinking in the back of my mind what I was going to write about immediately afterwards.
I have a self-proverb that says a hobby is no longer a hobby when it feels like work. That goes for anything: video games, anime, blogs –– if you’re not having fun and it’s starting to feel like work, then it’s time to quit or move on to another hobby for a while. That’s when I know how to drop an anime –– when I’m no longer enjoying it.
I fell into a trap, and I have no qualms about admitting it, because I’m sure every blogger has done it at least once. I started writing posts no longer for fun, but for the acclaim. That’s not to say ALL my posts were just to get views and feed my ego, but sometimes I forced myself to write when I didn’t want to: either it was a topic I didn’t have much interest in or it was out of mere necessity.
Another trap that I fell into was the “daily view count” trap. Blog views are very volatile. You like to imagine they will progressively increase from week to week –– forever, until the end of time –– but over the last 7 weeks they have made a parabolic curve. Mind you, 2 weeks ago I received more views than any other week in the history of my blog, but the point I’m trying to make is that blogging is not systematically rewarding. Some days you’ll have many views and comments, other days you’ll be left empty-handed. It’s not your fault; that’s just life. So many factors come into play –– the day you post, the length of your post, who’s online at the time, what people are chatting about, what topics people are willing to read… Sometimes, the post you spent the most time on and you think will be extremely popular ends of getting hardly read at all, and the post you thought you f*cked up on and decided to use as a filler ends up getting discussed for days and spread all over the Internet! =D Of course, I don’t obsess over that stuff, or else I would’ve driven myself mad ages ago. The definition of success varies from person to person –– I surpassed my goal of Twitter followers by over 100 (so far), and that was very satisfying; I appreciate every single one of you –– but once you receive over a dozen comments or reach that climatic day of view counts, it’s hard to go back to your blog without craving more. That’s when my OCD kicked in. I was checking my blog many times a day, like when I had first started. “Am I going to set a new record today?” “Why didn’t I get as many views as yesterday?” “What should I blog about so I get more hits?”
They say, “The sky is the limit,” and I’m sure every blogger is curious just how far their blog can go, but just as you touch the clouds, that’s usually when you run out of fuel and burnout rears its ugly head. It’s like chasing after a perpetually moving target.
I believe I already mentioned that 2011 has been a hard year for me. I have many outer conflicts, aside from writing and blogging, which have added unnecessary stress to my life that I wish I didn’t have to deal with. But alas, sometimes things happen in life that are completely out of your hands. With so many difficult decisions in my life to contemplate over, I started having stomach pains, and while I initially thought it was because I was drinking too much soda, I stopped for a week and noticed it only started when my anxiety kicked in (my doctor prescribed me medicine for it).
To be honest, I only check my blog a couple times a week now; I don’t even bother worrying about the stats anymore because any added anxiety to my already chaotic life obviously isn’t good for me, and that’s kinda when I realized it was the beginning of the end.
As I already described, I got caught up in the numbers and started blogging just for the sake of blogging. I started putting out more posts a week because I noticed my views dropped whenever I didn’t blog –– but concurrently, my quality suffered for it. I had to sacrifice time out of my day, sometimes even sleep, for quality –– and frankly, this year I just don’t have the same amount of time as I did last year. Therefore, my next course of action was to find a balance between quantity and quality –– where I could set enough time in my day/week to write a quality post, but post frequently enough so that my view count wouldn’t suffer for it –– who knew blogging involved economics? Although, I never got around to it.
Almost two years later, I feel like it’s just becoming too ridiculous. I spend just about as much time (if not more) blogging about anime as I do watching it, and I spend even more time thinking about the philosophies of a successful blog, then I do actually writing on it. I could go on blabbering about all the trial and error that goes into making a blog –– the first year alone is genuinely experimentation –– but I’m sure you’ve acknowledged at least a part of this vast, infinite picture by now. The Internet will continue evolving, and –– as both a blessing and a curse –– as long as there is anime, there will always be something to blog about. Time –– or in this case, the Internet –– waits for no one. If you can afford the time to keep up with the latest anime AND manage your blog, then more power to you. But chances are if you’re a blogger, you’re probably sacrificing something right now.
The problem I am facing is that I’m currently at both the hardest and most important crossroad of my life, and I can’t keep toiling away at this blog, while years pass before me.
It’s time for me to decide the next step in my life.
That’s not to say Mind of Miku is going to become comatose. I think –– no, I will –– continue blogging, but I
can’t won’t guarantee you anything. I’m sorry that a year later I never finished my Top Anime of the Decade countdown, and I didn’t even get around to posting my Top Anime of 2010 (that kinda fell into the back burner while I dealt with other, more pressing issues –– as I mentioned, I haven’t had much time to spare for anime). I had so many things planned to write about (like my first anime figure, Black Rock Shooter Nendoroid), which I never did: That’s the story of my life; I start so many projects, but never finish; I guess this blog was just another one of those obstructions. Although, if you want to take on a cynical point of view, I suppose you can never “finish” a blog. So, Mission Accomplished?
My only regret is that I didn’t join WordPress sooner, because even though I’ve been tirelessly blogging for close to 2 years, I’ve only enjoyed the fruits of WordPress –– the streamlined interface and the fame/publicity that has come with it –– for a short 6 months.
I don’t know when I’ll write another blog post or how frequently. It definitely won’t be on a timely schedule because I just can’t deal with those kinds of preconceptions. Presumably speaking, I’ll use this blog as my sketchbook in the future –– a place for my ideas to run wild, the way I intended it to be from the beginning. Therefore, I will only write whenever I feel like I have something to say. Of course, I’ll still be on Twitter, because that’s a lot less time consuming; so feel free to follow me there.
So I guess this is the end of the road. It’s time for Miku to switch lanes and start a new era in my life. Where will this new road take me? God only knows.
P.S. Maybe I’m just being pessimistic and pretentious –– I really do have respect for anime blogs and the anime community in general –– but I feel like my blog doesn’t have the edge it used to. Something in my life is missing. I don’t want to believe that I’ve reached the summit. I feel like there is a bigger calling out there for me. I want to remain optimistic and believe that the best of my years are still to come. :)