When I very first started writing, my initial focus was video games, back in 2009 when I was a naive print journalism student and I started blogging on Tumblr. Wow… that means in May, I’ll have been blogging in various places for 10 years… I should probably do something for that…
It was a simpler time, when I would use my blog to pose questions such as: Who would win in a fight, the Incredible Hulk, or the Incredible Hulk’s weight in bees… Back then, I had it in my mind that I wanted to become a video game journalist. Little did I know that genuine journalism in video games is actually very rare.
The longer I wrote and the more my video game writing became tied up with particular news sites I was working for at the time, I found my own blog diversifying. With much of my video game writing going toward other outlets, my own site became a place where I ranted about movies I’d recently seen, or television shows that were disappointing me.
The further away I got from writing being my actual job and more of my hobby, the more I realised that I just enjoy writing about anything and everything that I was passionate about. Since then, I’ve always shied away from making whatever personal blog I create genre of medium specific, I’ve kept in incredibly broad. Because what if I get a powerful urge to write about something totality different, like tabletop gaming (it’ll happen one day, I hope).
And in these 10 long years, it’s kind of ended up working against me.
My goals and styles of writing have changed a lot as time passed, as my aims and desires for what I want my blog to be has changed. In turn this means my own writing style has become more malleable depending on what I’m writing and what kind of chord I want to strike. Especially in these last 12 months, when I’ve just decided I write for me and not some imaginary mass of people.
I say imaginary, because if I’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that casting a wide net doesn’t necessarily catch you more fish.
It’s actually since getting back into anime and the fact that I end up writing between two and four posts focused on the medium a week that I have noticed interest spike on my analytics (a page I genuinely wish I could turn off sometimes). Investing myself a little more into the community has also revealed that if you want to write a blog that gets you noticed, you sure as hell need to specialise.
It’s kind of obvious when I look elsewhere online, YouTube for example. Certain creators like Gaijen Hunter, for example, became known and thrive because they focus their output on a single topic, in his case; Monster Hunter. I’ve found myself coming to recognise a number of other YouTubers for their almost singular Destiny coverage, they become the familiar faces (or voices in this case) whose experiences and insights start to strike familiar chord, helping you eventually equate their experiences to yours.
Even going back to my original point about video games coverage, it’s why a lot of traditional outlets have been replaced by sites like Giant Bomb, who focus on personality driven content rather than anything professional in the classic sense at least. While they still do have their “journalistic integrity”, them being biased in certain ways is why we go to them for their thoughts and opinions, we find people like us, so we can experience things through them as a proxy. It helps us make better choices about the media we consume ourselves.
I could use this insight and become a pure anime blogger who ends up being pretty popular (in theory), for granulate that even further and focus on just one show, Dragon Ball for example (the argument could be made that I’m doing that already). In the end though, I don’t feel comfortable taking certain topics of conversations off the table, especially if it’s something I feel passionately about.
By no means am I saying people who focus exclusively on anime are making poor choices by limited themselves. Hell, if anything I applaud them all the more for being able to produce as much content as they do with a more constrained array of subject matter to write about. Something I doubt I would actually be able to do without feeling like I’m forcing it at times.
I’m just enjoying writing at the moment, what I’m doing feels right to me, and I like that I don’t especially know what I’m going to be writing next some weeks. It pushes me to go and see movies, play games or watch shows that I, otherwise, would probably never approach. With the thought that even if it’s bad, I could get an interesting blog about it.
Maybe I’ll change focus in the future, split my content across multiple sites that are more focused on individual topics or mediums, make a new blog where I don’t have to feel bad about just talking about Destiny three times a week. Right now though, I feel like I’m still growing, and still learning, even after all these years. If anything I feel like I’ve learned more in this past year than the previous 9 combined.
But hey, maybe I’m way off and this was all a thought experiment. I just know I’m happy to be sat and typing away, more so than I have been since I started.