Friends, readers lovers of colours and cuteness. Can you believe this is the second one of these I get to write? I can’t…or rather, to be perfectly honest, I never really thought about it that much. When I wrote my first introspective year end post, I had a passing idea that it would be fun to write a whole bunch with extremely similar names but that’s as far as it got. To be actually here and writing this post puts things into perspective. I made it! I’m actually proud.

in many ways, I’m a lot like Ram…

I try to underpromise and overdeliver as a rule. It’s a professional deformation. I’m in a job where people routinely sue you even if you live up to your side of the deal, so you make sure your side of the deal is as reasonable as possible. This bleeds over in how I view my blog.

For instance, if you look at last year’s post and the goals I set, my great overall vision for my blogging self was to remain more or less the same. Slightly doofy and more or less clueless, check! And still in awe and enamored with the kind and welcoming community I’ve been lucky enough to find. Big ol’ double check there. See, modest expectations are the key to success. As if anyone could get jaded of you guys!

As for my more tangible plans, my track record is a little more spotty. I wanted to practice and figure out how to properly review visual novels. I think I did pretty well with that one. I reviewed some regularly throughout the year and managed to come up with some posts I enjoyed. I also wanted to continue with collaborations and that’s also accomplished. With the exception of a single case that was a bit less than enchanting, once again my collaborative posts are some of my favorites and just a great experience overall.

anime collaboration
I’m the white haired one, I’ll let you guess who the rest are

I don’t really consider OWLS a collaboration. We are all very individual bloggers. However, after wavering on my involvement with the group earlier in the year, I think I finally found a formula that works for me and will keep me on the tour schedule. I turned it into Natsume… When in doubt, turn stuff into Natsume, it always works for me.

Unfortunately I was a bit less successful with my other ambitions. I stopped receiving submissions for my blogwarming project. In hindsight, I should probably have gone through Twitter and directly tagged people. That approach seems much more successful. However, I also realized, I don’t really like choosing posts. Having been overlooked for a few myself, I know it can be a bit demotivating. And let’s face it, bloggers need all the motivation they can get. Not to mention that I really do like most posts. On the other hand, featuring everything can make posts get lost in the shuffle and that defeats the purpose. This is why I decided to opt for discovery posts instead in the new year. I hope I have better luck with that!

And what does that mean? I have always loved discovering new blogs but I haven’t had time to do it as much as I like lately. In 2019, I plan on once again actively seeking out new blogs only this time, I’ll share my findings with all of you as well. Like a roundup post but for entire blogs! Hopefully, this will work out better.

anime lasso
wrangling up some great blogs

I also wanted to do more DIY posts and well. I did one… I’m counting this as a deferred goal. I have a whole list of DIY topics I want to get to but guys…those posts take a long time. I love them though. There will be more in 2019!!!

Well enough about my blogging checklist. Let’s get a bit more personal. I am a workoholic (not the holic you were expecting….) Apparently, this has not gone unnoticed. In practice it means that I received not one but two promotions this year which brought me from an expert in my field with a decent file load to an expert in my field with a decent file load, a team of roughly 50 to supervise and a procedural infrastructure to put in place. I haven’t had lunch in months and that’s when I write.

I’m not whining mind you. Well I’m whining a little but I also know I’m lucky. I just need to figure out a new balance in my life. I’ve been wracking my brain to figure out how to lighten my blogging load without posting less. I like the posting… it’s my favorite part! Among the many blog projects I have for 2019, that’s one of the most important. I haven’t found a solution yet but I’m open to suggestions!

not the suggestions I was expecting but thanks

And what have I learned this year? Well nothing! That’s a great thing!!! I started 2018 believing that blogging was a wonderful self bettering hobby. The writing part is almost like meditation. If you do it daily it makes you look within yourself, calms you down and forces you to be alone with your thoughts. The posting part is a communal experience that allows you to reach out across space and time ( with your older posts) and find people you would otherwise never have had a chance to meet. When I wrote my last post I was still very excited about all the things I have left to learn about this multifaceted hobby and looking forward to discovering new anime with you all. In 2017, I firmly believed that the anime blogging community was one of the most welcoming and pleasant on the internet, and even if everything else I just said wasn’t true, the blog was more than worth the effort just to be a part of that community. I started the year calmly obsessed with a little show called Natsume’s book of friends, and I wouldn’t shut up about it… remember those days!?

And now, a full year wiser, I can say this: Blogging is a fantastic layered hobby that actively makes me better at being myself. The small improvements to my own person, and much more importantly the undeniably wonderful community around it makes the time I put in this blog inconsequential. I have a lot to learn still and it’s exciting. I think my to watch list actually got longer. Can’t wait to tell you all about it! As for Natsume…. hope you guys aren’t fed up hearing about it!

Natsume yuujinchou
I hope you’re not fed up of great Natsume fan art either!

Which brings me back to YOU. Yes you beloved reader. Whether you were around to read the last year end post I wrote, or I met you this year (hello to all you 2018 readers), I am so happy you’re here. I have always said stats were not important but it wouldn’t be the same without you. You will probably never realize that some small comment you just happened to leave, brightened someone’s day, or made them think and learn. The someone is me, I’m not sure why I worded it that way. A simple like can be such an encouragement and even for those lurkers who prefer not to make their presence known, I appreciate you stopping by. Maybe next time you can stay and chat.

So here I am, saying goodbye to 2018. I have no clue what lies ahead. I am happy, refreshed and enthusiastic to discover it together though! I wish you all a 2019 that’s just challenging enough. I hope it’s better than 2018 but not quite as good as 2020. Now go celebrate you crazy kids, I’ll see you all next year!

zombie party

24 thoughts

  1. Congrats on creating the first anime blog to draw me in and make me a regular reader. I may not always comment, but I do almost always read every post you write. You continue to impress and the more I know about you, the more impressed I am. Congrats on the promotions and I look forward to reading your blog in 2019.

    1. Wow Foovay. This is one of the biggest compliments this blog has ever gotten! On the fridge it goes. A very Happy New Year to you and yours!

  2. Happy New Year! Meanwhile, congrats on your accomplishments, both here and at work. (I’m impressed that you manage to stay so consistently positive and productive with so much going on–kudos!))

    1. Thank yu Dave – I think they go together – I’m positive when I’m productive and productive when I’m positive… Sort of an upwards spiral!

  3. The day you stop blogging in the far future of 20XX, my cybernetic brain in a jar will be very sad.

    Excited for the new year of ramblings, Irina!

  4. What a truly wonderful post, Irina. I’m forever in awe of your ability to produce such inherently readable content on a daily basis while maintaining such a hectic full time job. I’m glad to have been able to collaborate with you this year and hope we can do again in the new year.

    1. I certainly hope so as well. Those are some of my very favourite posts to write. You just know how to make a review flow!

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