A Danger of Aniblogging: Turning Leisure into Work

This post of Annalyn’s highlighted an oddity about aniblogging: it adds a degree of stress to a formerly relaxing activity.  Anibloggers naturally need to have opinions in order to write, yet this leads to people approaching Excel’s Saga like it’s Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina or Hemingway’s The Man and the Sea.  (Yes, my dear readers, I’m guilty as charged.)  This approach to anime exhausts one after a while, and I often find myself turning off my critical mind.  I’m a fan before I am blogger!

aniblogger

Like eating, there are three distinct steps to creating an informed opinion: tasting, chewing, and digesting.  How many judgments can I make while still tasting the story?  Five really: I love it, like it, don’t dislike it, dislike it, or hate it.  Purely emotional judgments which do not elucidate anything about the show itself!  The next step lies in chewing on the show: What led me to the reaction I had?  What themes does the story seem to be pursuing?  How well does the animation compare to other shows?  Is the soundtrack anything special?  What are the characters’ motivations?  Does the show seem to be alluding to other works of anime or literature?

Don't think that I could say something intelligent about Excel Saga if I tried.

Don’t think that I could say something intelligent about Excel Saga if I tried.

The reason I cannot do episodic reviews is because I’d hate to have to ask the above questions every episode.  Instead, I watch episode after episode chewing on these ideas and waiting to see if something strikes me about the show–which mode of viewing leads to the kinds of articles you see written here most often.  It might take many episodes indeed before I can stop chewing on the show and it begins to settle in my mind.  Sometimes, I never get to that point.

There's a girl who eats so fast that she neither tastes nor chews!  I should revisit Slayers at some point.

There’s a girl who eats so fast that she neither tastes nor chews! I should revisit Slayers at some point.

It is in the digestive stage where good objective judgments are formed.  Certain stories even resist digestion until the second viewing!  (“To read a text once is not yet to begin to read a text,” as Professor Jackson used to tell us.)  In order to facilitate my digestion, I will read what other bloggers are saying about the show.  So that I do not merely echo, I compare their judgments to mine and consider what their reasoning behind that judgment might be.  You’ll find that bloggers will criticize a show based on the expectations they made for it or praise it merely for the visceral pleasure it gave them.  I will not claim to be immune from either fault!

IB

And so, it takes me a coon’s age before I lay down a final judgment on a show.  (Otherwise, I write a negative article like this only to have the show grow very high in my estimation.)  Most bloggers have already given their opinions on a season long before I give mine.  I am certain that my judgments would be deficient if I wrote sooner: “…in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Prov. 11:4).  

So, what do you think, my dear readers?  Does blogging take some of the fun out of watching anime?  Does it make you more prone to be cutthroat in your evaluations?

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6 comments on “A Danger of Aniblogging: Turning Leisure into Work

  1. I wouldn’t say it takes the fun out of watching anime more than it does turn blogging into a frustrating chore – especially if I want to write about it. This season, I have had inspiration to write an editorial or two for a couple of series, but the ideas don’t come out as good as they sound in my head…in fact, they are worst. I do deeply envy people that go in give a straightforward post about something I had similar thoughts on (and swear I could do the same), but it is too much stress. If I do, the post probably is not done at the same time I have been involved with the material. There are still about 119 drafts in my editor dating 2 years back incomplete either because I lost motivation or beginning to sound like a shallow, 3rd grade book report. I still have that problem now, but If I wait long enough on some post, I rarely might have something presentable.

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    • It’s certainly been hard for me to blog this month. For posting once per day, I’ve resorted to reblogging often, but some new ideas are rolling around in my head which I’ll post as soon as I have the energy.

      That’s a great many drafts! I used to have a very scrupulous internal critic myself until I started blogging. Now, whenever something feels like a third grader wrote it, I usually say to myself “Better luck next time” and hit the publish button anyway. xD And sometimes people enjoy it more than I think that they will.

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  2. TWWK says:

    Oh it definitely can take the fun out of anime. For instance, this season, in an attempt to get as many viewers to my Your Lie in April posts, I rush to watch the episodes and write about, instead of maybe properly enjoying a series that could be among my very favorites.

    For “serious bloggers,” there’s probably some balance to be found. I don’t know exactly what the approach is, but I think I’m there right now, just because I know I’ve weighed too far into the “blogging becomes work” side before, and I’m far from that currently.

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    • Doing posts on each episode of an anime is one thing that would certainly start to make blogging feel like work to me. I’m glad that you’ve found the right balance!

      For this month, I’ve written a lot at the beginning and now feel like I just want to rest. But, rest is sometimes necessary for good posts, and I have a few ideas floating around in my head now.

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  3. jstorming says:

    The pressure of writing for an audience–blogging especially–in a frequent manner can be suffocating. I’ve definitely felt the burden of having to come up with something “critical” every time I start a blog post but diversifying the type of posts has helped. I save the digesting for the anime I really enjoy and am willing to spend 3000+ words on writing. I’ve also been experimenting with shorter, more playful posts on particular moments in show that have made an impression on me…and this works as well. Of course, it’s nice to see blog traffic grow (which happens with more prolific writing) but I remind myself that I can do anything with my blog and that it should be something that helps me enjoy and appreciate anime better.

    Watching good anime is a lot like reading good books. You need to rewatch/reread it several times, have your thoughts distilled for quite some time before you can really understand it and get more out of it. While I certainly appreciate the rapid-fire speedy postings of episodic reviews (first impression reviews can be quite insightful), you can write analyses or form opinions on shows that have already aired for some time.

    On another note, I like your blog. Do you mind doing a link exchange?

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    • Yep, short and fun posts do help to take some of the weight off one’s shoulders in writing for a blog. Also, I have noticed that some of my best articles were on anime I have seen several times. The only problem is that few people want to read them. Oh well!

      Sure, let’s do a link exchange. I’m pleased to hear that you enjoy reading my blog. I’ll put up a link to your blog this very evening!

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