Do you guys remember when I told you about my creative cycle? For me inspiration is like the tide. It ebbs and flows, it’s a little frothy and sometimes there are gross things in it…. Well I’m in one of those dry ruts. Work has been exceptionally busy lately so I haven’t had the time to sit down and brainstorm***, plus it’s taken up a lot of my brain space. As a result, I’m getting dangerously close to being out of ideas! This is a daunting thought but I’m a trooper. I just pick myself up by my bootstraps and remind myself that having nothing to say has never stopped me from talking! Yeah yeah…it’s one of *those* posts.
So I’m going to inspire myself by telling you where I get my inspiration!!!
First, a time honoured classic, we’ve all cited this one… For real though, I am extremely lucky and forever grateful that I have readers who actively interact with me and my blog. I can say with confidence that my comments section has been my most frequent and consistent source of post ideas. Little bits of fascinating conversations bring up larger points for me to discuss in posts. Frequently asked questions prompt me to seek out answers I can share here. Sometimes you even just freely give me post ideas because I can only assume you are the very best! I know interacting with others through your blog can seem time consuming to some but man is it ever worth it.
You’ve all heard this one before, though. I get it. *I mean it’s still true but whatever..* Here are some other places you can turn to. Now obviously, these won’t all necessarily work for you, but you may find something of use!
Scientific articles. I know it sounds weird but articles that popularize science (think Nature, Scientific American or NEJM) often tap into current social preoccupation in order to frame and contextualize the research and solutions the articles propose. They will make research papers more palatable by identifying a problem and offering up a potential solution. I will often see similar issues being addressed in anime (or through anime) and it gives me a jumping off point to speculate. For instance, a thesis in Psychology today on altering synaptic patterns through environmental stimuli, without the use of chemical that is, gave me the idea of writing about anime (and fiction in general) as a form of therapy.
Writing or literature textbooks. The art of constructing a story is complex and very involved. However, there are some basic tricks and “rules” (flexible ones) that make it at least possible to see the foundations. School books explaining how to write or analyze novels and plays help me figure out the basic elements under all the colours and artifice. This becomes very useful to me when trying to figure out why I like a certain character and am indifferent to another or what the underlying themes of a show are. Systematically breaking down anime isn’t for me but being able to take apart narratives just a little so I can get a closer look at the moving parts is an interesting exercise that I enjoy sharing with you! I try to put it to good use in my reviews.
The basics of writing also come in handy an a practical standpoint when it comes to writing the posts themselves. As someone who has never studied English in school or literature of any language, I have pretty much everything to learn. So I come to the blogging experience from a particular point of view. Sharing or just discussing the technical aspect of writing posts is one of my favorite things.
TV tropes and Know Your Memes. Two paragons of time wasting websites, I have lost many an afternoon wandering around the bottomless rabbit hole that is TV tropes. I don’t regret it one bit. It may not be readily obvious but tropes and memes fascinate me. As a social construct, they hold so much information. How any particular stereotype came to be and how it’s still used. The narrative implications and assumptions about the audience to which they are directed. All of this gives us a glimpse into how we see ourselves and each other. And I can’t get enough. I latch onto these whenever one happens to catch my eye and usually can’t stop myself from sharing it with all of you. Not that many of you share this peculiar interest but you try to humour me, and that means a lot.
YouTube or more specifically media analysis videos. Channels like the Game/Movie theorist or Folding Ideas. These go into details, themes and explanations of fictional universes with genuine glee and interest. More than once I’ve listened to these types of videos and answered back to my laptop that it’s like in this anime or that concept reminds me of this show. Anime fans should also consider this… Because the format is already an analysis of modern media, seeing how it can apply to my particular niche is easy.
Duh!!! Ok so obviously watching anime is a good idea when you want to talk about anime. However you don’t have to stick to the usual reviews or pseudo academic essays. Certainly you’ve seen me stray far and wide in my own post form meanderings on the subject. I’m not sure how many of you have had the pleasure to know D’s blog. They use to have a great anime themed FMK recurring feature. You can still read the archived ones here. I had so much fun with these. Point is, with a bit of creativity, just about anything that goes through your mind as your watching a show can become a post. And sure, the Big Important subjects are great but we love a good bit of silly fun once in a while too.
Finally, and this one is at your own risk: Twitter. As I’ve mentioned before, it can be a double edged sword. But Twitter is a bit like eavesdropping on a billion conversations at once. Conversations that are totally public and often between strangers but still. If you have the patience for it, it can give you a good idea of what anime fans are interested in at the moment. (As I write this it’s apparently Bowsette … I will not do a post on it). I can’t say I have found many ideas there but once in a while, it did bring up some interesting points.
Of course these are just my sources. I’m sure you all have your own muses that are suited to your style. I bet those essayists out there attend lectures and sit in on doctoral defences. If you feel like it, share your own tricks with us. You can never have too many inspired anime posts out there!
***I’m out of my rut now! the post worked!