And I highly recommend it to all of you!

Well, here we are, another year down. This is probably my most cherished blogging tradition. Every year, on January 1st, I sit down and just talk to you guys about, nothing in particular. It’s my time to let you know what my blog has meant to me in the past year and what I,m hoping for in the one to come. It’s also just a chance to remember the good times we’ve had.

From experience, these posts tend to just turn into me gushing about the anime blogging community and my readers. If you’re curious to see how much I haven’t changed, please feel free to take a trip down memory lane:

looks about right

I started this blog in late summer 2017 and pretty much right away I was overwhelmed by the kindness and welcome I received. The community and other bloggers were there to answer questions if I had any. Amazing ladies like Karandi and Lita helped people discover my blog when I was just a tiny little blip in the blogosphere.

And mostly, people started reading my posts. And not just reading, but leaving comments. This changed a lot for me. To this day, I will be watching some anime and think to myself, “oh I remember someone commenting about this on my blog” or “I bet this reader would like this anime, they always seem to enjoy themes like these”. It sounds silly and really it is in a way. But it means I’m no longer alone in my own personal universe with my anime.

This was why I started the blog. To be more accurate, it was why I made the blog public. And the fact that I actually accomplished this goal has kept me posting for years now.

I occasionally get questions on how I manage to keep up with my posting schedule. I’ve shared some tricks on getting the most out of a post or finding time in a busy day. I do have a very demanding job that takes a lot of hours but thankfully my partner is pretty chill and I don’t have kids to take care of so I do have a few free hours a day. I know it’s not everyone who’s this lucky.

soooo tired…..

But I could spend those hours doing something else. What pushes me to come back to my keyboard and learn block editor and all that, is really you guys. The idea that someone is getting just a bit of information or killing a few minutes thanks to me. That’s really all there is to it. And that would already be enough.

But then I get these lovely comments that have on many occasions cheered me up on a bad day. Or someone takes the time to explain something to me or ask a very intriguing question and I suddenly have food for thought for the rest of the day. As someone who occasionally lives in their own head, getting an interesting prompt is always a welcomed gift. I’ve discovered a lot of my favourite anime through readers and I hope to discover more in the future. These moments make me happy and I post every day mostly because I’m greedy. I want more of them!

2020 was a rough year for a lot of people. I know how incredibly lucky I am all things considered. It does also mean that a lot of people got stuck inside and started reading or writing blogs either for the first time or for the first time in a while. My very dear friend Raistlin returned after a hiatus and his presence very quickly brought warmth and good cheer to our entire community, as we knew it would. I’m hoping we get a few more OG bloggers back but if they’ve moved on, I get it. Basically, as long as they’re happy, I’m happy for them.

But our little community has also grown steadily over the year. Many new faces are joining us and I’m getting comments from names I don’t recognize. That’s a thrill. You never know when you’re about to meet your new anime best pal or blogging buddy.

yay – bloggin besties!

For over 3 years now, this community has been present, accepting and interesting. I see no reason why that should ever change and I’m eager to see how we will all grow in 2021.

As for me personally. I’ve tried a few new things this year. In a minimal effort at branding, I’ve started using Canva to create some of my post headers. OK, it’s mostly cause I have fun creating post headers… I revamped my blog’s look in some minimal ways that to me make a huge difference. I updated Rini of course, that’s the most obvious one but I also played with the proportions of my content box and rounded off my image corners slightly. I changed a few things around in the sidebar. Look, I told you it was minimal! Still, it felt like I had refreshed the blog so it made me happy.

I quite like my template but I know myself and there’s a chance I’ll redo the look of the blog yet again next year. If you have suggestions, they are always welcomed.

This next item is also something that may not be instantly noticeable but I have been making an effort on my typos. The results aren’t exactly groundbreaking but I think there are a bit fewer of them.

99 is less than 100

Because the year was extremely busy I haven’t gotten to participate in as many collabs as before and with OWLS going on hiatus I have less implication in community projects. That’s fine but I’ll try to change that next year. Maybe we can start a new OWLS type of group. Many bloggers really liked the writing prompts.

It’s possible that 2021 will be a slow return to normalcy and with it our community will quiet down once more. Then again, maybe not! There are some amazing anime being announced for this new year and I am already bubbling with excitement. Especially as I’ve expanded my anime watching platforms to 5… I have issues.

I may not know exactly what the new year holds in store for us or for my blog but I do know that every year so far has had really great moments so I’m sure there will be some in 2021 as well. And I’m also pretty sure that I just keep on drinking and watching anime. Hopefully, some of you will join me!

Edit: I had completed the draft for this post when both Mel, previously of Mel in Anime Land now Mel’s Universe and Matt whose new blog name has not yet been made public, announced their return to blogging. Sweet! I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year!

33 thoughts

  1. Happy New Year and thanks for this cheery post. It’s just what I needed ☺️. I always admire how you can post such fun, inventive articles so regularly. They’ve often put a smile on my face when I spot them on reader.

  2. I know this sounds cheesy and a little bit embarrassing for me but I really look up to you and ksblogs. And to everyone who I’m following, you all give me the reason to continue

  3. I’ve been blogging since late 2016. Watching the community grow has been interesting.

    I use the native spellchecker in Windows, plus a program called Grammarly for my typos. Doesn’t catch them all but grabs most of them. I find my own spelling skills slowly improving because of that. Most of my typos are “fat fingering” and I suppose that will be with me forever.

    Most blogs, I glance at them in the Reader first to see if I’m interested. There are a few bloggers whose entire posts I read immediately. You are one of them. Immense amount of respect for both you, your perseverance, and the talent you display.

    My only gripe about your format… Slightly darker text would be great. My eyes are thinking about having cataracts when i grow up. (I am a long long way away from surgery on that.) Grey text is a bit of work to read.

    1. Huh, ok let me see what I can do about the text. That’s a great constructive comment – thank you so much Fred!

        1. Ok, I think this is the best I can do with the theme options. I’ll have to see if there’s a pluggin to help out later

  4. You and Karandi were some of the first people I interacted with in the WordPress Community, and I’m a lot better for it. I know we don’t actually interact much, but you’re awesome, Irina! And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise!

    1. So are we. Well at least me but I’m sure K would feel the same way. Who wouldn’t? Happy New Year Jack!

  5. This was the year I actually discovered this blog. Early this year I was browsing my Pinterest feed when a weird anime GIF caught my eye. I clicked on it, and followed the link to your blog. “I Drink And Watch Anime” sounded just like me, so I tentatively followed on a whim, without really knowing what sort of content I was in for, and fully expecting the usual sort of toxic fandom stuff I’m used to seeing when it comes to anime and anything else pop culture related. Suffice it to say that you and your community pleasantly surprised me… so maybe I’ll stick around for a bit longer 😉

    1. Awwww – I’m so happy to be associated with weird Gifs. One of the first goals of this blog was to have a place t collect weird anime gifs! Thanks poplar!

  6. I followed one of your comments on Derek’s Apprentice Mages Lounge, and here I am. There are quite a few instnaces where your posts influenced my anime watching: I doubt I’d have seen FMA:B yet, if it weren’t for my posts, and I’d definitely have dropped Granbelm at episode 1. I don’t think I’d have picked up Hikaru no Go, despite near universal recommendations, either (though I’m somewhat stuck in the middle – shows that long are always a little daunting). I’m also currently replaying Trails of Cold Steel mostly because you reminded me of it (and wishing the PS3 version had the Japanese track, but no biggie as the dub is mostly pretty good), and I completely forgot that one of you class-mate party member’s mum is called Irina (she’s formidable).

    2020 was actually a pretty good year for me, compared to 2019. I even profited from the pandemic: I haven’t been that well-rested in a decade. That said, I do feel the psychological effects of disease and lockdowns, but not nearly as badly as others. I really hope it’ll be over soon. Would be nice to go back to business as usual.

    Let’s have a good anime year in 2021.

    1. It’s great to hear that the year was kinder to you. I think it’s important we celebrate the tiny victories right now! I am looking forward to a great anime year in 2021 as well!

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