Being a Weekend Otaku

One year ago today, I created this blog. To celebrate the occasion, I’m sharing my perspective on what it’s been like to be a Weekend Otaku over the course of a year.

It doesn’t feel like it’s been a year since I started this blog and wrote my first post, where I introduced myself as a “weekend” otaku. If you plan to read that post, understand it was my first, and not my best. In any case, the idea presented was that the site’s name referred to my casual (but highly enthusiastic) interest in anime, and how it would define my style. One year later, some of that has changed but the core aspect remains the same.

A one year anniversary post is usually when you see a blogger reflect on the journey that led them there. You might see site stats, plans for what the next year will bring, or special thanks to certain followers. Those are perfectly good ways to celebrate one year, but to be honest the more I thought about what to do to commemorate this event the less I wanted to do any of that.

I have a few reasons for wanting to do something different. For one, my stats are nothing to be that proud of (more on this later). Also, I already covered what I wanted to do this year, and those items are still on plan (this is the first “Perspectives” post, for example). Lastly, I don’t like singling people out or making exclusionary lists. If I connected with you during my time on WordPress, I hope you know who you are.

Instead, at the risk of appearing self-centered, I wanted to offer you a rare glimpse into how I approach being an anime fan and blogger. My reason being that I’ve seen so many bloggers facing a lot of the same issues I have. Hopefully some of my stories will help you deal with similar hurdles, or at least entertain.

For the sake of clarity, and because my brain works best when things are categorized, I’ve divided the challenges I’ve faced as a weekend otaku into three main points.


Time Management

A question that often arises among ani-bloggers is, “how can I possibly make time to get everything done?” For me, the answer is painfully simple – I don’t.

Image of Tohru from Dragon maid shrugging
Sorry if you expected a nugget of wisdom here.

It’s not that I don’t want to, but even while I am writing this, my “to do” list is growing. Anime that I will “get to sometime this week” are still idling in my queue. Several drafts of half planned out posts are waiting to be fleshed out. My wife’s car needs an oil change, the bathroom needs worked on, and, out of the corner of my eye, I can see our cat begging for my attention.

Time management is a conscious effort to manage your time to ensure maximum level productivity, right?  Well, I try to do that as much as possible.  During an especially hectic week, I told myself I would tackle my one year anniversary post last Saturday. I would set aside the whole day to write. That plan lasted for about an hour before my wife decided we will spend our day at a book sale, followed by dinner and meeting with friends. It wasn’t the most carefully laid plan, but my point is they can easily fall through.

Perhaps the biggest problem when it comes to time management is the expectation we set for ourselves. While I would love to devote the same amount of time I spend at work to blogging, the fact remains that I am as much a weekend blogger as I am a weekend otaku. At the same time, I am a full time husband, programmer, landlord, repairman, and cat-dad. All these things vie for attention simultaneously, eating away precious time set aside for blogging or leisurely activities.

There were periods when I posted every day, or at least several times a week, but keeping that pace up proved impossible for me. There were even some months (especially recently) when I couldn’t even manage one post a week. Outside events, lack of focus, and even your mood can be unpredictable factors that kill your productivity.

Image of Tohru lazily welcoming Kobayashi home from the kotatsu
Or, you know… laziness.

My situation is hardly unique though, and there are bloggers who do a much better job with this than I do. The post I just linked can teach you a lot about managing time, but at a high level the key points to producing consistent content are prioritization, planning, and using what little time you have effectively. Practice makes perfect here, and it’s important not to let temporary lulls in delivering content hinder you creatively.


Working Within Limits

As I write this, the old adage comes to mind, “you get out what you put in.”  Most bloggers can agree at the end of the day, our goal is to create engaging, thoughtful content that will pique interest, promote conversation, and hopefully (if we’re lucky) inspire someone. In order to achieve this, I am only limited by my imagination, right? Well, not exactly.

Being a weekend otaku means blogging and anime are more of a hobby for me than a way of life. As such, I have to establish some boundaries around the time and resources I devote towards it. This involves working with the cheapest options available to me, like a basic plan WordPress site, limited streaming services, and learning to be patient when it comes to having what I want.

20160926_182058
Not pictured: Patience and thrift.

This frugality doesn’t come without its downsides, of course. When I was working on my first “Who did it Better?” post, I wanted to have an interactive poll so readers might be more inclined to participate. I went to Apester and designed a poll I was really pleased with, only to run into issues trying to embed it in my blog. I worked for two days trying various methods and sites, only to finally realize that the free WordPress site simply doesn’t support what I wanted. So I gave up and ended up using a simple Polldaddy poll that was built into the WordPress.com layouts. It served the basic purpose – to collect votes, but didn’t work out to be anything like what I had envisioned.

Could I achieve more with this blog? Certainly. But unless I’m willing to shell out money for more tools and resources, I inevitably have to work with what little I have. It’s more than me just being cheap (I’ll be the first to admit that I am). It’s an understanding that investment requires return.

Once I start putting more than just my time into this blog, it shifts from a casual way of expressing my thoughts to something that demands much more in the way of my expectations. Its content will no longer be dictated by the question “what do I want to do?” but rather “what needs to be done?” After all, there is little sense in putting money into this unless I can find a way to leverage the investment into something more worthwhile than my own satisfaction.

Finding the right balance is thus a lot like managing your time. You need to define your expectations and what you will need to meet them. Being sensible and realistic about your goals can save you a lot of trouble if things don’t work out the way you like, but in this another adage applies: “Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Nothing great can be achieved quickly and effortlessly.”


Struggling to Grow

Over the past year I’ve realized that for as much enjoyment I get out of blogging, there is also a sense of learned helplessness that comes along with it.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, “learned helplessness” is the result of a person persistently feeling powerlessness or failure when trying to succeed. All bloggers can relate to struggling to push out great content when facing writers’ block or time constraints. Similarly, we have all shared the sensation of spending hours to produce something, only to have it met with minimal fanfare.

giphy
Wow, three Dragon Maid pictures, huh?

While my efforts toward this have been admittedly small, my blog hasn’t grown nearly as much as I had hoped it would. I don’t seem to write any faster than I did when I first started. I’m not at all sure that I’m writing any better either. I put days worth of effort into content and still fail to connect to readers in a way that gets them interested and engaged in what I do.

It’s easy to get bogged down by the negative. I do so all the time with plenty of things outside of blogging as well. I tend to do this because I feel it’s important to be able to identify where you’re falling short. Only then can you take the necessary steps to fix the problem. Still, failing to see the upside of your efforts can be even more of a detriment to being an effective blogger as it can kill your motivation to even try.

So while I still undoubtedly face issues, I recognize that blogging has been a valuable experience for me in many ways. It was last year when I picked up a Crunchyroll sub and really started watching anime again. I would binge a series once in awhile, but nowhere near the extent I am now. Because of this, I was selective about the content I would view. To interact with other ani-bloggers and join in their discussions, I began to broaden my horizons to include content I normally would pass over.

orange-anime
Orange you glad it’s not more Dragon Maid?

The ani-community has also established a network of friendships for me that I hadn’t expected. Reserved and introverted by nature, I’ve had the same group of friends since college. Like reasonable adults, they hadn’t kept up with anime much over the years, which left my wife as my sole avenue for in-depth anime discussions when my inner otaku demanded it. But thanks to this community I’ve been able to interact with some truly wonderful people with a diverse range of interests.

In addition to helping me grow as an anime fan and blogger, my readers and fellow content creators ultimately provide me the thing I wanted most out of this – a way to relate to people who share this ‘weird’ interest of ours. In sharing our thoughts with one another, I’ve enjoyed some great discussions and created warm memories.

Image of Kaori thanking Kousei with tears in her eyes
“I won’t forget. Even if I die, I won’t forget.”

 


Despite not having met all my goals, and forever having my passion outpace my effort, the intangible value of my experiences in the past year were more rewarding than any technical measure I could apply. There is certainly always room for improvement, and there are resources to help when you find yourself struggling. What’s easy to lose sight of though, is the reason many of us get into this in the first place.

Unless you’re planning to make a career out of blogging or have some other business purpose in mind, obsessing over page views or follow counts is especially counter-productive. Blogging is more than just numbers. There are people behind those numbers who connected with you in some way, just by reading your words.

With one year already behind me, I look forward to many more years to come; making memories with those of you who stop by, even briefly, to muse over my thoughts. I humbly thank each and every one of you for your time, thoughts, and companionship.


Your Thoughts?

How do you feel after one year of Weekend Otaku (Or however long you have been reading)? Feel free to rate this article and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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42 thoughts on “Being a Weekend Otaku

Add yours

  1. Congratulations on the one year. I love reading your posts and your insights into anime so I look forward to another year of blogging and sharing ideas with you. Looking forward to whatever you come up with.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 一年おめでとうございます!

    Having only recently discovered your work, I feel compelled to say that I have been enjoying it. I appreciate the conciseness and clarity of your writing, and your reviews always leave me tempted to seek out the work in question. As the owner a small, relatively new, infrequently updated blog, your comments on page views are appreciated. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. どうもありがとうございました!

      That is some very high praise and it makes me glad to know that the time I put into those was helpful for you. I’ll keep working hard to ensure my writing maintains the quality you have come to expect.

      I’ve only recently caught wind of your blog as well, and I’m severely backlogged in getting up to date with reading, but do expect some more activity from me on that front. I’ve been interested in Bakemonogatari for some time now and I think your articles on it might finally push me to try it out.

      Of course, you’re automatically one of my best friends for understanding how brilliant YLIA is, so I look forward to interacting with you more!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on one year! It’s really hard to keep blogging for even one month, so one year is a pretty big accomplishment. I love reading your posts and reviews (they are SO detailed, I can only hope to try to compare to the amount of detail that you put into each review) and I also like talking/typing (being a little overly technical here) about anime with you.
    I think we can all relate with the “passion outpace effort” thing. I know I do. I would love to add more details and such, but can’t bring myself to 😂. Anyway, I look forward to seeing more posts in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Kate! I think maybe it’s not so hard to keep a site around for one year, but being active and actually putting out content that I’m proud of wasn’t always the easiest thing.

      You always praise my reviews and I can’t thank you enough for continuing to read. Looking forward to plenty more discussions with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m all for a ton of Dragon Maid pics XD

    I’m totally with you on the time management thing. I have so many different projects I don on the internet with my blogs and music that I constantly have to tell myself to do a pace I’m able to deal with. I see people post on YouTube once a week and go “Should I try doing that?” but at the end of the day I know I wouldn’t be posting quality content I’m proud of if I didn’t take the time to work on things up to my standars.

    Same with my 2nd blogs, too – if I can’t think of something to write that’s of good quality, I just don’t post for a few days until I can get good quality up. It’s always hard because it’s a constant battle with yourself when you want to spend time on something you love but at the end of the day sometimes you’ve just got to accept you need a breather from it.

    Congrats on the 1 year anniversary! Looking forward to another year of awesome content 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t do a Dragon Maid series review, so maybe I’m making up for that?

      Seeing people put out great content at a regular pace is inspiring, but it can also put a fire under you to try to do the same. I’m quite amazed by everything you try to take on, but you have done a great job so far. I think ensuring your work lives up to your own standards is important, and it’s something your readers/viewers certainly appreciate when you do get content out.

      Balancing is never easy because life keeps changing the game, but sometimes relaxing and having a bit of a breather can do wonders for your creative energy.

      Thank you, as always, for constantly supporting what I do. I’ve had a great time talking and blogging with you and I look forward to a lot more of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh wow, has it really been one year already? First off congratulations are truly in order. Without question your blog is one of my favorite animeblogs around. You have truly become a good friend (even though we live miles away), and I have always enjoyed the many discussions we have had about anime and movies. I hope your blog will continue to be as awesome as it is now (and honestly I am not even one bit worried about that), and hopefully will continue to grow over the coming months/years/decades 😊
    So much in this post I can relate to, especially the time management. Lately my work is incredibly busy, so much so that when I come home I just am too exhausted to actively write posts. Weekends are also busy, and my backlog of anime, tv series and movies just keeps growing and growing. I also love reading other blogs and interacting with them as much as I can. As such my own content lately has definitely been less than normal as well. But on the other hand, I like having no written laws for posts. It only adds more pressure, and I think it would also eventually lead me to quitting blogging altogether, seeing as it just would not be fun anymore (which it luckily still is now).
    Anyway…my response is very long lol…sorry about that. But as I said just keep on doing what you are doing: it is awesome. Here is too many more years to come 🎉🎉🎉😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been so much fun the time just flew right by. We may not have known each other the full year, but I feel like you have been a long time friend, and I often find myself wishing we lived closer together so we could watch anime and attend conventions together. Still, the distance and time difference never keeps you from offering the kindest words and warmest praise for my blog.

      Time is probably the thing that gets most people because while we all have the same amount of it, we don’t all get to use it how we wish. Long days at work are especially draining and even his past week though I should have had time to write, I just didn’t have the energy. It happens. Best not to let it stress you out. As you said, blogging at your own pace keeps it enjoyable.

      I always welcome long responses and any chance to talk to you, so never worry about the length of your comments. I’ll do my best to keep entertaining!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, who knows, luckily I don’t live in a Galaxy far, far away (sorry just had to use a Star Wars pun lol), so maybe one day I will be able to fly over at some point and meet you and Kimmie (I do have a bit of fear of flying to conquer first though lol). Until that time we can luckily still exchange thoughts here. No worries about the fact that your posts will continue to entertain 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences! This was a pretty great post to read. I especially enjoyed what you had to say about building and participating in a community. It was cool hearing about how your blogging endeavors connected you to other people with similar interests to yourself, allowing you to delve into discussions.

    Congrats on overcoming the hurdles in order to stick with this thing you like doing for a year! Cheers to another!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and for the kind words!

      One thing I didn’t emphasize enough, I think, is how important it is to keep up to date and active within the community. Sometimes another blogger will give you an opportunity to share your thoughts on something you didn’t plan to write about yourself, and the more you participate, the more people notice and remember you. I haven’t done as good a job with this lately, but I’m making it a priority to improve.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wohooooo congrats my friend one Year !!!

    I enjoy your anime reviews a lot my friend and this post was very enjoyable to read from your perspective. I believe you have grown a lot from when I first started following you. The way I see to get yourself out there is to put yourself out there, that is how of how I know all the people in the blogging community and people whom getting to know XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lita, I’m so glad you got a chance to see this. I wouldn’t have been here without you.

      Honestly, the way you help build a sense of community among us ani-bloggers is really fantastic. Especially now with everything you do for OWLS and motivating new and older bloggers alike, I’m really thankful I had someone like you to encourage me and help me along when I was just getting started.

      You’re absolutely right. You just have to put yourself out there and people will start to take notice. Most of us are open and eager to talk, so just barging in is a great idea sometimes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Lita, I’m so glad you got a chance to see this. I wouldn’t have been here without you.”

        o.o oh wow i am very humbled by your kind words. I’m so glad I could encourage you XD

        Like

  8. Congrats on the anniversary!

    My opinion on the content you have on this blog has only grown with each post that you publish. It’s great content of remarkable quality and clarity, and I really respect your writing. And it’s nothing short of impressive that you’re managing to juggle work, life and blogging at all. I’m set to face some major issues with making time for anime (grad school will start soon, i’ll move to a new place, and some of my free time needs to go to my other writing). Guess what I’m trying to say is: ‘i feel ya’.

    Still, I’m looking forward to seeing your blog grow. Your posts may not be daily or even monthly but what does that matter when the words you do put out are worth the wait. Here’s hoping to see you (and Kimmie) around for years to come!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot, D. I think your blog was one of the first few I came across, and from reading some of your early reviews and posts, I knew there were people here that appreciated and even expected quality and detail, so I had to step up my game.

      In other words, this is all (kind of) your fault!

      You’ve proven far more capable than me at getting content out on a regular basis and still managing to make each one feel personalized in the way your voice comes through, so the writing respect definitely goes both ways.

      Wishing you god luck with grad school, and of course we will be sticking around and stalking your blog all the while.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Congrats on making it to one year!

    It was really interesting reading about your blogging journey thus far!

    I’d definitely say the quality of your content has been steadily rising, and they’re always worth the time!

    Here’s to another year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Leth!

      You’ve had a lot of posts that detail your perspective on things. I suppose I took inspiration from those to do a post like this without even really realizing it. I feel like those posts helped me get to know you better as a person, so I hoped to provide others with the same feeling here.

      In any case, I’m glad to know you feel I’ve been making improvements. It’s always nice to hear that your efforts pay off, even for just one person.

      You will be coming up on a year soon yourself, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad my perspective driven posts are able to serve as an inspiration, even if unintentionally!

        I’d definitely say that this post gave me more of an insight into you as an individual, something I always appreciate seeing in other people’s writing.

        Keep it up man! You can only keep getting better.

        And yeah I’m due my one year blogging anniversary soon. Around August I think?

        Man, time really does fly by.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem. I hope you have many more years ahead of you :). I’LL DEFINITELY BE CHECKING IN.

        Thank you for your kind words. I decided sometime ago that I was going to try getting more serious about science writing as a potential career, so I started applying/submitting to places and taking classes. I don’t have much right now, but I’m still plowing through! The downside is I thought I could get back to blogging here at least semi-regularly since I really love the community, but I’ve had a bunch of trouble juggling everything along with a few personal problems. I want to ease back into it somehow.

        Like

  10. Congratulations on the one year anniversary!

    I do hope you realize that your posts are engaging and intellectually stimilating. I knoe that each post takes a while for you to whip up and that you worry some people may overlook the aforementioned post, but the effort and care you put in your content is evident and greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your hard work and I hope the community continues to make you feel welcome, friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Remy-kun 🙂

      Seeing how hard as it is sometimes for me to keep up with even my most favorite blogs, I definitely learned not to take it personally when some of the posts I put my blood, sweat, and tears (two of these more than the other) into don’t get attention. What warms my heart though is seeing friends like you come by to check them out days after they fall off the Reader radar.

      So yes, people like you really do make me feel welcome and appreciated. I hope you feel the same!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mmm there’s must so much content on WordPress and chaos in real life.
        Oh, sure thing! I sometimes fall a bit behind reading people’s posts but I do try to get caught up when I can.

        Yay, I am glad to hear it! Of course I do!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations on one year! I love reading all of your posts! Your blog is one of my favorites in the WordPress community and I look forward to reading each of your new posts.
    Again, congrats on the one year and I hope your blog continues to grow. Cheers to another year!!
    🎉🎉🎉😄😄😄

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is some really high praise and it keeps the pressure on (in a good way) for me to keep delivering. Thank you so much for your continued readership and support.

      I really appreciate the kind words and will keep giving it my very best.

      Liked by 1 person

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