I really want to apologize for the lack of updates. I’m currently trying to catch up on Uchoten Kazoku’s episodes. I should have an episode review of them ready tomorrow. In the meantime, I’d like to talk about what it means to be blogging, and the moment that every single blogger dreads: the lack of updates. This is a very personal entry, but I hope that it helps both myself and others who are in similar situations. For those of you with a tl;dr mindset: I have no intention to quit blogging; I still really like tihs blog, and nothing about that has changed.
In my nearly eight years of blogging, I have seen a lot of blogs coming and going. In general, the short-lived blogs quit because the author loses interest: it’s a nice little experiment, but either a loss of enthusiasm for anime itself, or the inability to just blog regularly is usually the reason for these blogs to close down. For the longer-lived blogs, the reason usually is that people grow out of anime; they change and the priorities in their lives. I’ve also seen a handful who come back after a hiatus of a few years, but that usually just ends with a few posts.
As for me, I still identify as a blogger. It’s true that we just had the worst Spring Season in the past ten years, and a pretty abysmal Winter Season as well, but I really noticed that that didn’t diminish my love for anime. There were plenty of series that still captured me, ranging from Aku no Hana, Shingeki no Kyojin to From the New World and Chihayafuru. And the current Summer Season is really showing that Anime is far from dead. Series like Uchoten Kazoku, Tamayura, the new Rozen Maiden: I already love them and I really want to cover them.
So yeah, the problem is where to find the time to blog everything. I’ve said before that I’ve been very busy, both with my full time job, and that I’ve got a much bigger social life than what I used to have now. I always was a bit vague on what that actually meant, so let me elaborate a bit on my schedule.
I actually just started my new job last week. It’s a job of 36 hours per week. Mondays through thursday I work eight hours, and on fridays I work half a day. On fridays and during weekends, I usually have some sort of appointment with some friends of mine, or attend some public events that I know that people with similar mindsets attend as well. On weekdays I’m usually at home around 6pm, and done with dinner around 7pm, ideally.
The thing is, that it’s not like I don’t have the time to blog anymore. I know for a fact that if I use my time well, even with all my appointments, I can blog 12 shows per week and even have time for a movie. It’s also not like I don’t have the energy for it. I know from experience that I can get energized while watching a good episode. This season is full of those series! The problem is that I spend way too much of my time on the internet, browsing pointless videos that serve no point whatsoever. I’d say about 20% of it is useful: checking mail, keeping up with friends, that kind of stuff. However most of it is just random goofing off; spending way too much time on facebook, or watching stupid Let’s plays on youtube.
Let me get on a bit of a tangent here, because I also dabbled in a bunch of western games during the past half year. This is sortof relevant to this post, because I noticed that playing these games only increased my laziness in the long run. The thing is though, that gaming nowadays sucks for me. And it’s not like I picked bad ones. I’m talking about games like Minecraft, Civilization, the Binding of Isaac. Games that sound good and full of depth on paper, and I used to be a fan of civilization in the past, but every single one of them gets bogged down by repetition. Minecraft had me mining the same rock for hours after each other. Civilization starts off interesting, until you have to do the same tasks over and over again and games take waaaay too long, and the Binding of Isaac also isn’t really random once you realize that all you’re doing is running through a bunch of rooms and shooting things. It’s also a problem that I’m not good at gaming, so it takes me even longer than the people
Another example of this: platformers. I recently played Rayman Legends, after being a big fan of the first two Rayman series. But there too, the levels just kept looking way too much like each other and halfway through the level designers just give up and start to recycle previous levels. This is the same repetition I see at all kinds of other platform games: everything is just way too similar after playing a bunch of levels. There is way too much repetition and way too little creativity. Even Skyrim got tedious after killing the umpth zombie.
NB: as a honorable mention, these are western games that I do consider to be good:
– Portal: It’s short, witty and keeps you interested; the hype is very annoying, but this is what games should aim to be. And I mean the philosophy of variation, not just literally paste Glados in every game. That totally misses the point.
– Temple of Elemental Evil: a western RPG, half broken without a fan-made patch and a bare-bones story. However, what I loved is what you could completely customize your own set of characters and most importantly: you are encouraged to make these characters flawed and incredibly diverse, making it ridiculously fun to do all sorts of creative things with them, and watch them grow. The only downside: the more characters you have in your party, the less experience you get, the more you need to grind. Grinding is evil!
– Beyond Good and Evil: short game, divided into four arcs. Every arc is different and focuses on a different element of gameplay and has a different atmosphere.
Anyway, repetition. It can be incredibly evil. It can trap you in this routine that you can’t escape from. The more you get used to it, the more you keep looking for options that offer easy kinds of repetition. However, there are enough examples of good repetition. This is the type of repetition that is fulfilling. Think about getting out of bed at the same time each day, doing exercises on a regular basis, spending time on your hobby (in my case blogging). The annoying part is that the evil repetition easily has power over your will and motivation to focus on the good repetition, and once you lose that focus on the good repetition, getting back is impossible unless you put in effort.
You can’t just say “I’m going to do better”. That won’t work, you’ll usually succumb to the evil repetitions usually within seconds. You need to completely change your mindset, and actually DO it, not just talk about it. Acknowledging the problem doesn’t work, while wasting time on the internet I see way too many people just joke about it, without offering any practical hints of how to get over it (9gag is by far the worst offender of this, and everyone should actively block that evil website).
So I was wondering what you guys do in order to get out of a slump? For me, I noticed that with other parts of my life, the concept of fear or impending doom was a good motivator, and at this point in my life I have learned how to turn fear into positive emotions. I haven’t learned how to create it and make use of that, though. Go ahead and share some of your experiences.