A couple of days ago, fellow anime blogger Raistlin0903 nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award. I had to take a couple days to think about that.
Yes, I know that normal people get excited at the idea of an award, rather than thoughtful. What can I say? I’ve never claimed to be normal. I mean, did ya see the header pic I used? That’s me. There’s nothing normal going on there.
Except the shirt. That shirt is normal as fuck.
The reason I had to take a couple days to think this over was two fold. First, I’m not very invested in awards. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll accept any award anyone is crazy enough to give me, but I don’t go looking for them. I’m not into blogging or writing in general for awards. I’m in for the love of doing it. I’ll happily go on blogging for years and years to come with my tens of followers, and never be unhappy about it.
Same goes for being a writer. I’ve got worlds in my head that need to be out, and honestly, I’d be happy to make a comfortable living as a mid-list author. I’ve got no aspirations towards being a wold wide phenomenon or global bestseller. What I write isn’t going to appeal to everyone, and I know that. In keeping with my belief that it’s okay to like things others don’t, I accept I’m never going to be a massively successful author.
Which is fine, by the way. As I said, if I can make a living doing it, then as far as I’m concerned, I’ve succeeded. Awards don’t make you a success. Paying the bills does.
I am also terribly pragmatic.
Here’s the thing, though. Had it been almost anyone else to nominate me, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought. I’ve been spending a fair amount of time at Raistlin’s blog, however, and he has earned my total respect for the manner in which he goes about doing things. He’s very even minded, willing to see the good along with the bad, and doesn’t dedicate all his time to trashing something because it made a single mistake, or had a single flaw. To me, that is respectable.
Look, life is full of disappointment, okay? Nothing is ever going to be perfect. No matter how good a piece of fiction is, be it anime, film, books, or music, it’s always going to have some ind of flaws. That’s just reality. Spending all your time obsessing about the flaws doesn’t do anything but make you miserable. Ignoring all the good parts of something to do so makes you kind of an asshole. So, when I see someone who is willing to acknowledge the flaws, and the merits, that’s something I can respect.
It’s easy to be cynical. Trust me. I know. I’ve been doing it for over thirty years now. I got cynical at a very young age, and I never looked back. Fiction is where I can shed that cynicism and believe in things again. That’s the beauty of fiction, no matter what format it comes in. It lets you shed your cynicism for a little while. Why anyone would want to bring that same cynicism into talking about fiction is beyond me.
Be happy now and then, just for the sake of doing so. It’s good for you. I know.
So, yeah, I respect the hell outta Raistlin, despite him taking the name of a mage of dubious moral character, because he can leave cynicism out of his content.
For me, it’s hard. My first thought at looking over the awards deal was to think it looked like a chain letter from a Nigerian Prince. But that’s just me being my cynical self. So, out of respect and appreciation for Raistlin, who felt what I do was worthy of notice and appreciation, I will set my cynicism aside, say thank you to him, and hope he doesn’t try to overthrow all the Gods and take their place.
Seriously, dude. Don’t do that. It ever ends well.
So, here we go. The Blogger Recognition Award proceedings.
- Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
- Give a brief story of how your blog started
- Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers
- Select up to 15 other blogs you want to give the award to
Well, I’ve already thanked Raistlin in detail above, so I figure we got that part covered. Unless he fireballs somebody later. Than I don’t even know him.
As for how I got started, well, that was kind of because I was told to. No, really.
Okay, a little context. Almost two years ago now, my novel War Witch: Rise got accepted by Booktrope Publishing. During the first couple days, as I got familiar with how they did things, I was told that part of my marketing platform needed to be a blog. Preferably an authors blog.
I still don’t know what that actually is. I mean, what am I gonna do? Remind people I got a book published every damn day? That’d be boring as hell to read, and write. Besides, what I know about writing isn’t really the sort of thing I can relate, and would only actually take up about one, maybe two posts. After that, I’d be scratching my ass. Not exactly the kind of thing that’s helpful as a marketing tool.
Well, maybe for people that are into watching other people scratch their ass. That’s not really the demographic I want to be famous with, though. Nothing against them, just, ya know, that’s not my thing.
Anyway. After fumbling about for a while trying to figure out what I was suppose to even do with a blog, since I didn’t have anything I considered worth saying to the world at large, my girlfriend actually hit on the idea of me talking about anime. It’s a thing I love, and enjoy discussing with others. Made sense to do that, so off I went, doing a rewatch of one of my favorite animes, as well as covering the then newly airing Gakkou Gurashi.
From there, it just kind of kept going. I got into other geeky things and started talking about them. Dungeons & Dragons, mostly, and finally started sharing some of my own original fiction on my blog. The stuff no sane publisher would ever touch, of course. Totally different than my more serious work, that most sane publishers refused to touch.
After that, it just sort of became this thing I enjoy doing, mostly because it lets me have really interesting conversations with really interesting people. The kind that sometimes make me rethink my own opinions and views on things. That’s the part I love most. Never be content with you viewpoint. Always seek to challenge it. Be open minded to seeing the world differently. Accept that you may be wrong about things, and willing to learn.
That’s what blogging is for me now. A chance to really connect with others, learn, and grow as a person. Even in my early 40’s now, I’m always eager to learn and grow. This lets me do that, so it’s all good.
As for advice, there are two things I can think of.
Always respond to the people who take the time to comment on your posts. Be approachable. It’s blogging, for crying out loud, not high literary fiction. Always be considerate, kind, and willing to see things through others eyes. Blogging lets you connect with people all over the world. use that to become a more well rounded person. Never be content to stay as you are, for there is so much to see, discover, and know. Be hungry for that, and accept that those you meet while doing this, will help you along the way simply by sharing their opinions.
Second, I don’t care what anyone says about “perfect blog post length”, write until you are done. If it takes 100 words, or a 1,000, let your posts be however long they need to be in order to convey what it you need to say. A perfect example is my anime episode recap posts. I go on at length, sometimes for a couple thousand words, frequently topping to discuss a particular scene or special moment of character growth. Those are my most popular posts. They get the most views and the most likes. So, there is no perfect word length to a blog post, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The only perfect length is when you are done, and feel satisfied you said what you wanted to say. Do you, and people will respond.
I didn’t get tens of followers by being like everyone else, after all.
This last part is gonna be a bit more tricky. I’m not sure I know of fifteen other blogs I can recommend. Of course, I’ve never counted, so I may know more. Guess we’re gonna find out.
Raistlin0903 because duh. I pretty well made the case for that above. Plus, just in case he does become a God, it’s best to be on his good side.
100WordAnime because Karandi’s site is amazing, insightful, and engaging. I learn something new about anime every time I visit, and get to read and participate in some amazing conversations with others.
WeekendOtaku because they challenge me to think about things from a new perspective, and even to change my mind about things I thought I believed. That’s a rare gift, and a wonderful thing. Plus, it really is simply one hell of a blog.
Animetai because they frequently look at life through the lens of anime, and are ever willing to step outside the mainstream to explore new things that aren’t well known or popular. That’s something I respect a great deal.
JAPANimetalks for being such a thorough reviewer. Really, this is one blog that isn’t afraid to get into nitty gritty, and just a great read every time.
Cauthan Reviews for pretty much the same reason, really. They do just amazing reviews, and keep such an even mind towards acknowledging both the good and the bad. It is a real joy to read.
The Josei Next Door because Dee is funny as hell, smart as hell, and takes no guff from anime. Probably one of the ultimate anime blogs out there, Dee is frequently cited as an expert on anime, and having talked with her over the years, I can attest that she probably does know more about it than me, or most anyone I know.
Fujinsei because they do some of the smartest blogging out there, not just talking about anime shows, but deeper concepts within anime in general. A very insightful and entertaining blog to read.
Katzenworld because it’s about cats, and as you all know, I am a cat lover. Really, though, this site covers so much it’s hard to summarize it, but if you are a cat lover, you need to follow this one. And here you thought it was gonna be all anime blogs. For shame.
Bookshelf Battle talks books, movies and television with a particularly keen insight that I’ve fund highly entertaining. If you want to know whats what, this is the place to learn it. Just watch out for the yeti.
Matt The Catania wields pop culture like a kung fu master, despite having scrawny T-Rex arms. If it falls in the realm of geek, he’s covering it with a sense of humor and a keen eye. Plus, he’s a really gifted writer, and hell of a nice guy.
Pen & Keys is a writer, editor, and all around philosophical person whom I respect immensely. Run by Wendy C. Garfinkle, who edited my novel, she has been an amazing friend and beyond supportive. More than that, she’s a powerful writer and frequently challenges me to think about my own view of the world.
Sherilyn Putnam is a long time friend, author, and very smart person who knows more about books and writing than I’ll ever learn. She’s also a great source for small and indie published books, and is a highly respected figure in those areas. Check our her site to discover some new authors you may not have heard about.
Michael G. Munz is an award winning novelist, geek god, master of meme making, and a stupendously wonderful human being I am honored to know, and call a friend. From his award winning novel Zeus Is Dead to his many articles on geek culture, he is probably the most gifted writer I’ve ever met. Also, he owes me ten bucks for that night in Vegas, and the thing we do not speak of.
Anime Evo for one last anime themed blog, is a multi author site that covers pretty much every anime that comes out every season. Full of gifted and talented writers, they offer incredible thoughts and insight into anime and anime culture on a daily basis, as well as wonderful conversations with a large number of anime lovers from all over the world. A must visit site.
Huh. Guess I do know fifteen other blogs. Whadda ya know. I’m connected.
Once more, I must thank Raistlin for not just nominating me for this award, but for encouraging me to take the time to share all these great sites with others. Go forth, my children, and read.