If those jerks steal this post as well, I’m going to be sad. It’s quite personal!
Sorry about putting this here guys. There’s this new site that has been stealing all my content (and content from a lot of other great bloggers) called Anime Sensai. They really suck. But I figure I might as well use the opportunity for some advertising. So if you actually came across this post on Anime Sensai, please know that 1 – they did not write it and 2 – although their bots are doing a pretty good job at stealing posts from all over as soon as they are published, they don’t seem to do to great at lifting al the awesome screencaps I collected or all the extra material bloggers put into their content. So make sure to go visit the source link you see on top of posts and as for this one, just come visit my blog: I Drink and Watch Anime. I post daily and actually have awesome readers to interact with. I’m going t be posting this paragraph on top of my posts for a little while. I hope it doesn’t annoy you guys too much.
It’s this time of year again. The time when I take a minute and look back on what this blog and all of you have meant to me this year.
I think you can sort of see my blog history through these titles:
- I Drank and Watched Anime in 2017
- I Still Drank and Watched Anime in 2018
- I Continued to Drink and Watch Anime in 2019
- I Survived 2020 by Drinking and Watching Anime
- I Had to Drink and Watch Anime to Survive 2021
So where do I begin?
Surprisingly, as I look back, I have to say that in general 2022 has been a good year for me. A quiet, understated type of good. The type of good you don’t appreciate or even notice until you actually take stock and realize, huh, things are going pretty well. Since I didn’t take time to celebrate throughout the year, I didn’t enjoy it properly and that’s a shame.
So writing my little posts on I Drink and Watch Anime has been…good. But it has also been different. In the few years I have been doing this, the anime blogging landscape has changed dramatically. A lot of the folks I used to interact with almost daily have gone on to do different things. A lot of the trends and preoccupations of the anime blogging space have evaporated. All in all, it’s a much quieter and less active space. At least in my opinion.
That has its ups and downs. I certainly miss the tighter-knit sense of community that was brought about by all the activities and collaborations we used to have. I know that a lot of bloggers have either stopped watching anime, took on new real-life challenges that have left them unable to continue blogging, or moved on to platforms they can more easily monetize. I don’t blame them at all, I just miss them a bit. I hope they all know they are always welcome to come back should they want to.
Blogging is an odd hobby. Depending on how you chose to tackle it, it can be very time intensive. I know that I would have a LOT more free time if I decided to have a different hobby. In fact, I started curling a few months ago. I go twice a week for a couple of hours. There’s a surprising amount of university students there. I don’t know if it’s a new so lame it’s cool thing to do for the kids or if there was always an underground curling subculture that I just wasn’t a part of before. It’s not bad. I get to move around a bit and meet new people. And it’s about 4 hours a week, which is way less than what I devote to blogging.
But that’s not the only reason I do it of course. I always said that I started blogging because I wanted a way to share my love of anime with others and I didn’t have anyone in my real life to do that with. Well, that’s changing as well. For years now I have had colleagues that borrow my manga and ask for anime recommendations, but it’s usually for their kids. Sometimes they’re very young kids and I’m at a loss.
This year, however, I have met a few people close to my age who love anime almost as much as I do. We lend each other manga and geek out over upcoming shows. We send each other gifs and screencaps as a way of communicating. Talking about anime in real life is not what I’m used to. Not once have I been called stupid for not loving a certain show or for loving another. It’s an adjustment, that’s for sure. One that I am very happy to make.
Basically, 2022 has had some new experiences and little expansions of my offline life that have all been quite positive. And what does that mean for my blog?
I won’t lie, I did think about moving on at some point in the year. Just packing it up and trying something else, like a lot of others have before me. Even though the anime blogging space is quieter, we do have some fantastic young bloggers taking over and every day some really thoughtful and well-written posts get published. I know that I can leave this place in good hands.
I really tried to put myself in that space. I tried to imagine what t would be like to just watch an anime and then…watch another. No spending time curating screencaps and creating gifs. No need to overanalyze every detail or stare at a blank page trying desperately to come up with something to say about a show I really liked but have nothing to say about. I pictured how zen it would be to live without snarky comments questioning my completely subjective impressions of anime or how peaceful a world without contentious anime debates could be.
And I didn’t like it! No, I really didn’t. I want to spend hours pouring over screenshots of anime. I enjoy it. I love the art f anime and having a practical reason to really take the time to take it in and appreciate it is great! And although I don’t always like the posts I put out on anime I don’t have any clear thesis about, I always like writing them. I just do. I enjoy sitting down and thinking about shows I have watched, what they meant to me and what they taught me. How I can apply those lessons to the world around me. It’s a selfish thing, I do it for me.
I will say, I don’t love formatting posts. If I could have an editor I think I would find the whole blogging experience infinitely easier. But then again, when I find the perfect screencaps to put in somewhere, it gives me a special little thrill. So maybe I don’t want to give that art up entirely.
What I would give up is promoting my blog. I am rather introverted and not a natural salesman. I have always been just plain bad at self-promotion. It has probably hurt my views but I think it’s also made blogging more enjoyable for me. That’s a fair trade-off.
But most of all, I realized right away that I would miss you all. I would miss those kind comments that cheer me up on days that are just meh. It would be a shame if I couldn’t read those alternative takes or comments about the little things, I missed in a show r episode. They really open my eyes sometimes. And honestly, I will never have the types of conversations about the anime community and anime in general that we have in the comments, in real life. There’s a special type of passion that’s cultivated online that hasn’t yet made it out of those confines. And that passion fuels more than just vitriol. Sometimes it fuels genuine conversation and I crave that.
Honestly, as I look back on the year, you guys have been great. In my personal bubble (I’m not talking about social media outside of this blog) there has been a burst of positivity and open-mindedness, possibly encouraged by some really great anime that came out this year. And the fact that I could experience this with you is one of the things that made 2022 a good year!
I know that if I want more activities or collaborations in this space, I could organize them. I’m kind of lazy and introverted so it’s not my first instinct but I might try something. If I get some help. I could scale back to posting 3 or 4 times a week. This would still make me very active while cutting my actual workload in half. I have no clue why I haven’t done that already. Every time I decide to try it, I figure I’ll just wait until my prescheduled posts run out then I get a bout of inspiration and end up with three months’ worth in my scheduled posts.
So here’s the plan for 2023: do the same thing as 2022 but learn to appreciate it. I’m not going to make any promises or set out any rules for the year. I’m going to keep writing as I have been about whatever I feel like. But I am going to try a few things out.
I use to shout out new blogs every week. This was actually a bit of a challenge as I had very structured posts with a lot of requirements, and it became difficult to sustain. It also happened once or twice that bloggers did not want a shout-out. A lot of bloggers link to my posts and I always really appreciate it. So I didn’t think anything of it when I did it for other people. But it seems that once in a while, someone doesn’t want to just have their blog lined up without warning. For these reasons, I stopped my shoutouts and round-up posts.
I want to start them up again. It was a great way to make me feel a little more connected to the community and to make me discover new blogs. But I’ll be more relaxed about it. I’ll just write a post whenever I find new blogs I think you guys might like and leave it at that. And if you have any to recommend (including your own), let me know. I would really appreciate it.
I might also try to put together something like a blog tour or blogging prompts. Instead of a well-established group as we have had in the past though, I figured I would go for something much looser. I haven’t figured out all the details but basically, I was thinking that whenever I had an idea for a post where it would be interesting to get lots of different opinions, I could share it here and on Twitter, and maybe Discord. Then anyone who wants to write about it in the next three months or something can sign up and share a link to their post or main page that could be included in everyone else’s posts. That way we get that blog tour feel where every post leads to all the others and we all have this big shared discussion but there’s no long time commitment and it’s at a very relaxed pace. As I said, I need to iron out the details but that’s the general idea. Let me know if you think it’s going to be a disaster!
Usually, these posts are all mushy and emotional but I feel like I was all business this year. I should add some type of chart with my 2023 projections or something.
Let’s fix this.
The world is changing around me. Some things are better but a lot or not. The jury’s still out on a few and others still, are just plain scary. Sometimes the world can feel a little lonely and menacing for someone like me. But this little blog of mine and all of you who drop by and leave a comment or just a like, have made my world a little less lonely and a lot more cozy. I couldn’t ask for a better gift, and I would be a fool not to hold onto it for as long as I can!
In 2022 I learned that good things can pass you by while you’re not paying attention. That the best moments aren’t necessarily the loudest or the brightest. But if you just stop and take the time to really see the world around you, you might see some beautiful things.
I thank you all so much for another good year. I hope that when I write this post next year, I can say 2023, was even better. With you guys around, it seems like a reasonable goal.
All the best in 2023. I hope you will be happy and have fun. I hope that whatever demons haunt you get lazy and that most days, you won’t see them at all. I hope you will sleep well and eat good food. And I hope that once in a while you will enjoy a good drink and watch a good anime.