Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wandering Blog Thoughts

Looking at this post, I wonder if it was a bad idea to write it when I’m so sleep deprived. Oh well. Bad idea or no, I’m putting it up.

As I browse my favorite blogs, I notice a few things that make them successful. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that the writers involve themselves in the online community, commenting on other blogs, listing them on their own blogrolls, and participating in forums. They make their blog known, whether or not they intended promotion when they immersed themselves in the online activity. But this does not explain the repeat visitors to their blogs, or the frequent comments.

Most of these popular blogs have at least one of the following traits: purpose, regularity, and humor. The ones I return to most frequently keep posts from becoming too long, or at least include pictures in the more lengthy ones. I might take interest in blogs with long, thought-provoking posts, but I can’t always spare the brain energy.

For example, I visit The Rebelution blog, and recommend it to anyone from preteen through young adulthood, especially to my fellow Christian youth. But Alex and Brett Harris often write long posts. I doubt that, in the over four years since they began the Rebelution, they’ve written more than a handful of posts that didn’t provoke deep thinking – although I don’t remember reading even one. That’s what draws so many of us to their blog, and how a blog started by two sixteen-year-olds led to articles, a series of conferences, and two books. However, it’s also why I stay away from their posts for months at a time and then come back for a binge read. I’m a deep thinker even without their help, and often come online to give my poor brain a rest.

Another example is TWWK’s blog, Beneath the Tangles. His blog provokes thought, too, and not all his posts are short. Yet I find it easier to read and return to it frequently. The pictures draw attention, add another interesting element, and make the post length less intimidating. I responded so well to the added element of pictures, I’ve made sure to include more in my own blog. Some posts make me think more than others, so I don’t have to worry about having intellectual energy every time I visit. I am just as likely to leave a post thinking simply, “I must try that anime!” as I am to leave thinking a more serious thought, such as this: “My own misgivings and a sentence in TWWK’s post in one week? Snap. Now I know God is convicting me to rethink some of my anime sources” (I haven’t really had a chance to act on that thought yet, due to limited internet access in the past couple weeks). Posts’ length and seriousness vary, but the main theme stays consistent. I feel free to visit Beneath the Tangles for its intriguing main theme without worrying about the burden it may place on my mind.

This brings me to another thing I’ve noticed about my favorite blogs: a consistent theme, purpose, and/or audience. The Rebelution encourages rebellion against our culture’s low expectations of teens. Beneath the Tangles considers the anime world and where it interacts with Christianity. Hyberbole and a Half (not listed on my blogroll), an extremely popular blog, uses a combination of words and cartoons drawn in Paint to dramatically recount blogger Allie Brosh’s experiences or convey highlights of genius ideas (such as the Brick game). The blog’s “theme” is Brosh’s humor and her creative way of expressing it.

And so we come to my blog. I started it four years ago with no real purpose except to write. I titled it “A Writer’s Thoughts,” gave it a rather obscure domain name (, and hoped that eventually someone besides one or two friends and my mom would find it. Instead, the friend who introduced me to blogging lost interest in the blogging world. With no readers, my blog posts became inconsistent at best, stopping for several months at a time. Then, this past fall, I discovered the rich online anime community through Anime-Planet. I made a few blog posts and anime reviews through my account on that website, and eventually began participating in the Anime-Planet forum. The website gave me an opportunity to tell others about my blog, and thus a purpose to write. I haven’t decided to limit myself to writing about anime-related topics, but my prospective audience consists mostly of anime fans. And so, in an endeavor to draw in this (so far small, but growing, I think) audience, I’ve decided to write mostly about anime and manga. Not that I mind. I enjoy anime, and I enjoy writing. I may as well combine the two hobbies. However, my blog still wanders a bit as I throw in reflective posts, such as this one. I also want to re-craft a recent journal entry inspired by The Matrix for posting, and plan to write about whatever political or historical research topic I decide on next trimester. Despite my attempts to direct this blog down a single course, it runs away from me the same way my scattered mind does. Of course. If I can’t direct my thoughts down one route for more than a minute, how can I expect my blog to be much different?

Since, true to my nature, this post has already wandered to a length far greater than I intended, I’ll skip to the point I hoped to address after a couple paragraphs. I rarely manage to keep anything I write as short as I intend, and the only part of my posts guaranteed to be consistent is me. My wry sense of humor may show up every now and then, but it’s not prominent. Which leaves one element of my favorite blogs to strive for: regular posting. The best way I see to accomplish this is do write a few short responses to what I’m watching or reading between longer posts. Whether or not the anime or manga strikes me with inspiration, I will post about it.
I intended to read the FLCL manga immediately after posting this, write a short, hopefully humorous or at least light, response, and put it on the blog. But my words got away with me again, so I will have to wait until tomorrow. This post was supposed to take a half hour to write, and it’s now been two hours. I seriously need to work on my longwinded tendencies, and not just for my audience’s sake. For now, I thank you for your patience and for actually reading (or at least skimming) this much. I’m going to get some much-needed sleep. I’ll probably wake up in the morning, read this, and think, “why did I put this long, blabbering thing up?”

*Picture1 from One Piece.
*Picture 2: images from Dai Mahou Touge. I did a few effects and made it into a forum signature a couple weeks ago, and changed a couple things for the purposes of this post.


  1. Thanks for the kind words about my blog. I really enjoy yours as well - I wish I hadn't only found it recently when we responded on the same thread on the Anime Planet forum.

    A couple of notes -

    I agree that consistent posting does help - particularly when you've started building an audience. I try to stay ahead. I'm usually at least a week ahead with posts. I know of at least one popular blogger who just shut down until he'd written enough posts to be a month ahead.

    Also, I wanted to explain my blogroll. Some use to it as a publicity tool. Nowadays, I use mine to tell others about blogs I read and/or want to promote.

    I look forward to reading more from you! And maybe to one day soon get a guest post from you, hehe.

  2. Trying to stay ahead is a good idea. My problem is that I want to share something as soon as I write it. Which isn't entirely practical and gives little time to edit.

    My blogroll is similar. Most of the blogs I follow are listed there, though I try to also think about whether I want the blog listed here.

    Trust me, the idea of a guest post is on my mind. I finally can spend a little more time on the internet watching anime, and I have a few ideas swirling around. The trick will be not posting every half-edited thing I write here. :) Thanks for the encouragement.


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