Anniversary Special – Friday’s Feature: Blogging Goals

I kind of feel like you always need to be working towards something. It gives you drive and a sense of purpose and when I’m left without something to aim for I kind of feel adrift or like I’m fighting against the tide. I kind of talked about that a little in my post where I reflected on avoiding stagnation and just resting at one place.

At the one year anniversary, I set myself 5 goals so that seems like a good number to try again for this year.

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Number 1: Continue to have fun. This is a must. An absolute priority. I feel the writing and the sense of community I have been trying to create here at 100 Word Anime will all just kind of fall apart if I’m not enjoying doing what I do.

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Number 2: Continue to work on improving content. Write posts I am happy with and think about the content I am producing. This is more or less an ongoing goal for the blog and will hopefully always be a priority, but I really do think I need to work on this over the next twelve months.

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Number 3: Increase the average number of daily views by about 25%. So I’m kind of looking at an average of 250 daily views and I would love to increase that to 312 (let’s round it to 310) by the next anniversary. It seems like a doable kind of goal given the previous rate of growth and it gives me a target to aim for.

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Number 4: Reach the $100 a month goal on Patreon and remove advertising from my blog. I feel this is an achievable goal. With over 2000 followers, if even 5% of them committed to $1 a month (which is only $12 a year) I would hit this target. I am working toward this goal by trying to increase the content patrons get access to.

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Number 5: Work to increase the average number of comments per post. At the moment I think I’m at 10 comments per post. I think I’d like to see that increase to 15 by the end of the next year. Mostly because I love talking to people about anime and I love to know what they thought of an episode or a show. What they loved, what they hated, whether they agree or disagree with my thoughts. I’d really like to see this kind of engagement increase.

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So those are my main goals for the third year of the blog. I’d love to know what you would like to see on the blog over the next year and what you like about the blog, or what you would like to see improved. Feel free to leave a comment below or send me a message via the contact as I’d really appreciate your feedback.

Stay tuned for the final posts of the anniversary celebration as we have Arthifis, Aldael and then the wrap up still to come. Catch all the anniversary posts here.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Anniversary Special – What Did I Learn This Year?

Hey everyone, and thanks for joining me as I celebrate 100 Word Anime’s second anniversary. This has been a fantastic week and I’m really happy with how things have gone. Hopefully we will all still be around to celebrate again next year when the blog turns three.

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However, this post is about looking back at what has happened over the last 12 months and considering some lessons that have been learned in that time. The first 12 months it was very much about learning just how to keep to a schedule and fitting my blog in with my life. This second 12 months has more or less been about learning that no matter how much I learn, there’s still a huge amount I don’t know.

Some things I learned that have been helpful:

  • I finally learned how to actually add HTML codes to the widgets on the sidebar of the blog – yes, I am not that technically minded.
  • I also learned how to make pages that list previous posts in particular categories (thanks Irina – I think – for pointing us to that).
  • How to add audio to posts but I still haven’t learned not to hate the sound of my own voice so I’m working on that one.
  • I did learn to use one video editor and then my computer died so am learning how to use a new program but I guess that counts as learning.
  • I learned that I hate trying to write anything using my phone so if I don’t have my computer or a laptop I’m not writing a post but I can read some blogs and comment.
  • I learned that I can no longer open every single new post in my reader because that actually takes me around two hours to read through so now I have to be more selective.
  • There were also some specific things I learned about formatting an ebook.

Still, what I think I’ll take away from the second year of blogging is that this is definitely something I love to do. The hours I put into it always feel worthwhile and the people I have met through my blog have been amazing.

So this year I’m not going to give advice on any specific thing but a few things that work for me in terms of keeping the blog going:

  • Have a routine time each day that you use for your blog. Whether that is reading other blogs, drafting, editing, or replying to comments, find a time that will work. For me, the set time is in the morning from whenever I wake up until my alarm goes off which usually gives me about an hour (sometimes two or three depending on my current sleep pattern) to just work on the blog. In the evening after work, depending on how tired I am, I will usually also spend time on the blog, but I don’t feel bad if I don’t do this because I know I have a set time where I will check in on the blog.
  • Trying new things. It is scary but the internet is an ever changing place and no matter how much I like what I’ve done with my blog, there’s always something that could be improved. But while making small changes and trying a few new things is fine, there still needs to be some general consistency or people won’t recognise your blog anymore. Think about what changes are needed and when to bring those in.
  • I know I’ve said this before, but have an opinion (and it doesn’t need to be the same as everyone else nor does it need to be different just to be contrary). The best conversations get going when people are honest about what they think about a show and they are open to discussing their reasons and to hearing a different point of view.

I wonder what I’ll learn in the next twelve months of blogging?

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What I really think is important for me to take away from this year, is that regardless of whether the blog is a hobby or becomes more full time, the drive behind it is that I love writing the content, I love interacting with the community, and I continue to love anime. Regardless of how busy or tired I get, logging on and seeing my blog and picking up a draft, or watching an episode and figuring out how I felt about it, sharing a comment with someone else about it, all of these things make me smile and make me realise that starting this blog was one of the best things I ever did and I will never regret it.

A huge thank you to everyone in the ani-blogging community for all your support and I hope to see you all still around for the next anniversary.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Welcome to the Anniversary Week: 100 Word Anime Turns 2

Hooray!

Okay it is early but that’s because I’m likely not going to near my computer next week and I really want to celebrate with everyone. So we’re just going to pretend the anniversary is this week and party like I’ve made it two years blogging.

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I would like to kick things off with a huge thank-you to my followers. Without you, I know this blog would never have gotten off the ground and I wouldn’t have made it past the first year. I was fortunate in that I hit 2000 followers just last month which meant I hit one of my goals for my second year blogging. Dare I set my sights on 3000 by the end of the third year? I particularly want to thank those who have offered their contributions for this week as they’ve taken time out of their busy schedules to share some advice with the anime community.

Contributions to this anniversary come from:

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And I also need to give a huge thank-you to those who have chosen to become patrons. With your support I’m hoping to keep growing this blog and making it bigger and better. I’m half way to the first target of $50 a month and once I hit that I am going to commit to video content for patrons periodically (though not overly frequently at that stage). I really do appreciate the support that my patrons have given me, their advice and feedback, as well as their willingness to help me achieve the dream of making this blog more a full time thing rather than an all consuming hobby. A thousand times thank you.

And if you are wondering what is in the future for 100 Word Anime be sure to check out my feature on Friday where I’ll outline some general goals for the next 12 months.

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Okay, we’re up to some basic facts about 100 Word Anime, which due to scheduling reasons are taken from the 21st of April, so aren’t as up to date as I would like. For my second year, I’ve managed to keep up a daily post schedule and even my overseas trip last year for work didn’t stop that, though I did run the 30 Day Challenge during that period to ensure that there were posts scheduled for days when I couldn’t log on. Hopefully this will continue again for the third year as I feel consistency has been a big part of the blog’s success so far.

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While I haven’t reached all of the targets I set last year, I have continued to grow my blog and the community I interact with and I’ve had a lot of fun doing it. There are some really amazing people out there and it has been an absolute pleasure sharing thoughts on seasonal anime, discussing completed series and just throwing around ideas about anime. Over the last two years the average number of comments per post and likes per post have continued to rise, as have the number of words per post (I put that down to more full series and book reviews as well as slightly longer features, rather than just over shooting my 100 word target on every single episode review). A friend suggested, mostly in jest, that I’ll have to change the name of the blog to 1000 Word Anime, but I’m kind of hoping it doesn’t come to that. Particularly with episode reviews, I know people don’t have a lot of time and for a twenty minute episode it seems brevity is more appropriate.

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Reflecting on the last 12 months is something I really do appreciate about the anniversary. It gives me a chance to really consider what I’ve done and what I failed to do, and what I’d like to do. I had five goals and I think I’ve done reasonably well.

Goal 1: Was to produce some sort of video content. Technically yes, but definitely no. I was almost there and finally comfortable using a particular editing program when my computer died and my new computer was not compatible with the program. So as of January this year I was back to the drawing board of learning something new all over again. That said, I produced a trial introduction video and got some great feedback and am in the process of reviewing and recreating that. The bottom line is that I don’t want to just put out video content for the sake of it. If I’m going to do video content, I want to work on it to make it worthwhile. Unfortunately, that takes time and while I made some progress on this goal, I’m definitely not there yet.

Goal 2: Was to hit 10,000 views in a single month. Again, I missed this target but January came so very, very close. That said, April was looking pretty good a week ago, so we’ll see what happens when we reach the end of this month.

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Goal 3: Was to continue to post daily. Check.

Goal 4: Was to find more ways to engage the community in conversation and to interact with my followers more. I think I’ve achieved this. I’m trying to be more active on Twitter and joining in the conversation there, which is easier some weeks than others. I’ve collaborated with a few different bloggers over the past 12 months. I also introduced my inquiring minds segment and have had a lot of fun answering reader questions. And I finally joined OWLS and will hopefully be involved in one of their blog tours soon. Still, this is something that I think will remain an ongoing goal for my blog.

Goal 5: Was to have a lot of fun with anime and with the blog. To this I can only say, “Absolutely.” I honestly don’t think it would be possible to watch as much anime as I do and write as many posts each week if I wasn’t having an absolute blast doing it. This is something I genuinely love and wish to keep doing for a very long time.

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This year I also launched a compilation ebook, ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ that put together my series reviews and some of my features and top 5’s from 2017. I felt that was a worthwhile project, not so much because it sold very well, but because it gave me an excellent change to reflect on a year’s worth of content and what I’d like to change or work on. Thanks very much to the people who did buy a copy to help support the blog. I do plan on putting out a 2018 version in January as again, even if it doesn’t sell very many copies, it is a nice record of what I’ve been doing on the blog.

To people who have been with me since the beginning, thanks again for coming on this journey with me. For people who are newer to my blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed joining in the ongoing discussion about anime. Make sure you check in during the week as there will be more anniversary posts coming out all week. All of the posts will be added to the anniversary category, so be sure to check it out at the end of the week in case you missed anything. Hope you have a great week and I looked forward to blogging for a third year and discussing anime with the community.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Friday’s Feature: Embracing New Opportunities and Learning Experiences

Basically this post is just an update on what’s been going on behind the scenes with the blog. Thanks as always to all my followers. Your support is appreciated.

Since the blog’s one year anniversary and having achieved the goal of sticking to a daily post schedule, I’ve been thinking about what the next steps for my blog are. Now you might be wondering why there needs to be a next step and why I can’t just keep doing what I’m doing and that’s a fair enough question to which the only answer I can give is that I can’t sit still.

That isn’t a literal statement, obviously, but it is a defining characteristic of how I have approached everything in my life. Once I start something I keep thinking about how I can do it better, how could I do more, what could I do with that, and the number one killer of my enthusiasm for any hobby is seeing zero growth. Once I realise there’s really no where left to go or that I’m not interested in going any further with it, I start to lose interest.

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So the fact that I’m wanting to keep growing the blog, expand the content, connect with other bloggers, and just see what I can actually do is a sign that I’m completely still in love with blogging. This is becoming an all consuming enthusiasm to see what I can do next without compromising what I’ve already achieved (where possible).

However, blogging is a bit different from previous hobbies because basically my successes and failures are on public display and that has made this an interesting learning experience. It isn’t like when I became obsessed with Sudoku or jigsaw puzzles. Pretty much my failures were my own with those. It’s a little bit like being on stage for music or dance, only again, most of your failures occur during rehearsal and seldom get quite the public scrutiny. Not to mention, unless someone’s mum was filming it is unlikely any evidence of the error exists beyond the moment.

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Last week I made the move to start a Facebook page (and I sincerely thank everyone who offered advice or suggestions about that process). I still don’t really know long term how that factors into what I’m doing with the blog, but I do know despite only having 29 Followers more people come to my blog via my Facebook page than my Twitter. So clearly the advice that your blog should have a Facebook page makes some sense.

The ongoing project that I’ve been working on as part of my Patreon page is a video blog. This one is killing me just a little because I want to do a decent job but with real life commitments and my current blogging load I make tiny little steps in the few hours once a week I can pay attention to that project. Basically, I have some music a real life friend put together for me for intro and outros in one of the best displays of support for my weird anime fixation I’ve ever had, and I have several attempts at recording the audio.

I say attempts because I made the mistake of asking someone in real life their opinion after I finally didn’t hate the recording (so about go 25 or similar). Why I did that I will never know because they gave me their opinion. Which, is probably better than having it publicly launched online and getting much the same feedback in a barrage of comments. So back to reading the various user manuals and help guides that come with the programs and microphone and playing with settings and lets go again. That was as far as I got before work exploded on me and now I know I won’t be able to do anything more for at least a couple of weeks.

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That said though, even though it feels like one step forward and three steps back, and even if I’m not certain I’m actually getting anywhere near where I’d like to be due to time constraints, I’m having a lot of fun. People online and in the real world are supporting me and offering advice, I’m learning new skills and new ways to stuff up on my computer and also learning that sometimes failure isn’t the end of the world (so yes, the recording where the cat decided the microphone was hogging my attention did get deleted but it wasn’t the end of the world and the cat is still in one piece and eyeing off the keyboard as I am typing wondering why it is getting more attention).

There’s also been some chatter between myself and another blogger about doing a small collaboration or something similar next anime season, which would be awesome if either one of can find the time to fit it into our schedules.

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Overall, what I feel with this blog is that there are so many more opportunities, so much more to try and to do, and so many more anime lovers out there to meet, so I’m thinking that means the blog still has many, many years ahead of it. And in the meantime, I just need to keep taking small steps where I can and continue to work on getting better at what I do.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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Competition (kind of) Reminder

So just a reminder that starting this week 100WordAnime now has a Facebook page.

And to celebrate I have a competition going until the 19th so if you haven’t ‘entered’ yet and you would like the chance to win an incredibly lame prize, please continue reading.

Thanks to everyone who has already offered advice on Facebook and has already followed over there. To one particular follower, you know who you are, thanks very much for directing me to information and helping out, it is really appreciated.

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On offer:

A blog post written by me on any anime related topic for you.

Conditions:

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01: The post will be between 200 – 500 words.

02: The post will be emailed to an email address of your choosing within 7 days of you sending details of the topic to me via my contact page.

03: If you specify a single anime as the topic and I have not watched it, I will request a different topic. Realistically, it would be best just to give an anime related question that I can choose example anime to discuss but that is ultimately your choice.

04: I will not provide images to go with the post, however you may choose to add images.

05: You do not have to actually use the post on your blog. I don’t know exactly what else you would do with it, but you are not obliged in any way to publish it in any form should you choose not to.

06: If you do choose to publish the post, you will need to credit me as the author and a link back to my blog.

So how can you be in the running to ‘win’ this ‘amazing’ prize?

Visit my new and fairly empty Facebook page and like or follow the page by midnight on the 19th of August. (oh and ensure that you aren’t preventing people from seeing that you’ve liked the page because otherwise I won’t know who you are).

I will add all the names of people who like or follow the page into a random list generator on the 20th and whoever ends up at the top of the list will be the ‘winner’.

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I know the page isn’t really doing much at the moment, but I’m working on that and I’m working to continue making the blog better. As always, any feedback or advice is welcome.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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100 Word Anime Joins Facebook

The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory but here we go anyway:

100WordAnime now has a Facebook page!

Okay, so setting up the page is all well and good but I will need to actually do something with it, so that is clearly my next challenge because otherwise I’ll have a page that serves no purpose just sitting out there in cyber space with all the other abandoned pages…

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However, that’s not something I’m going to worry about right now. Right now I am celebrating another step for 100WordAnime with the only kind of competition I can actually run at this point and time.

On offer:

A blog post written by me on any anime related topic for you.

I know, it’s kind of lame as a prize but it is all I have. However, there are a few minor conditions:

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01: The post will be between 200 – 500 words.

02: The post will be emailed to an email address of your choosing within 7 days of you sending details of the topic to me via my contact page.

03: If you specify a single anime as the topic and I have not watched it, I will request a different topic. Realistically, it would be best just to give an anime related question that I can choose example anime to discuss but that is ultimately your choice.

04: I will not provide images to go with the post, however you may choose to add images.

05: You do not have to actually use the post on your blog. I don’t know exactly what else you would do with it, but you are not obliged in any way to publish it in any form should you choose not to.

06: If you do choose to publish the post, you will need to credit me as the author and a link back to my blog.

So how can you be in the running to ‘win’ this ‘amazing’ prize?

Visit my new and fairly empty Facebook page and like or follow the page by midnight on the 19th of August. (oh and ensure that you aren’t preventing people from seeing that you’ve liked the page because otherwise I won’t know who you are).

I will add all the names of people who like or follow the page into a random list generator on the 20th and whoever ends up at the top of the list will be the ‘winner’.

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And that’s pretty much it for this post. But…

If you happen to have any advice, tips or ideas for how someone actually effectively uses a Facebook page, be sure to let me know because it is quite a steep learning curve and I still haven’t got my head around Twitter.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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Anniversary Special – What I Learned #6

Having reached the one year point, I’ve decided to spend this week reflecting on what I’ve learned from blogging over the past 12 months, firmly keeping in mind I still have a lot to learn.

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We’ve reached the last post of the anniversary. If you missed any of the follower features or what I learned posts please check them out here. It has been a great week reflecting on the blog and where I’m going. It has also been great hearing from my followers about their own experiences with blogging.

Onto the last post of What I’ve Learned and I save the best for last: Interaction.

I’ve said so many times that one of the main reasons I started the blog, other than to get writing again, was to have someone to talk to about anime. To be a part of a community that appreciated anime and wanted to dissect it, praise it, criticise it, mock it, have fun with it, fall in love, fall out of love, and go through the whole process again during the next season. It is incredibly fun to swap ideas and thoughts with others and the people I’ve met since starting the blog are the reason the blog has kept going and will continue to exist.

Blogging isn’t a one way street. You don’t just write the post, publish it, and wait for all the readers to swarm in and tell you how amazing the post is. If I’m posting about Attack on Titan season 2, then I am reading what others are writing about it and engaging them in a discussion, I’m following comments on Twitter, I’m laughing at screen captures or wincing if someone caught the moment Mike… Poor guy. Whichever way, I’m looking for a discussion. I’m not just throwing my post up there and waiting. That kind of defeats the purpose of joining a community if you are just going to throw a comment out there and then walk away.

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As part of building ongoing interactions I try very hard to ensure I visit the blogs of anyone who comments on one of my posts as my first priority when I log on in the morning. Next I hit up the reader and I used to open every single post that had come out from people I followed from the day before, however time constraints sometimes prevent me getting to every post from people I’m following (particularly if something happened the day before and I didn’t read as many posts then as I probably should have).

When I have free time I type the titles of anime I’m currently blogging about into the reader to see who else is tagging posts with these. This is the main way I come across new and fairly cool blogs to read. I don’t comment on every post I read and I don’t like every post I read. When I like a post it is because I had fun reading it or find it informative, insightful or interesting (all the good ‘in’ words really). If I have something I want to say then I’ll comment. I really try to avoid commenting just for the sake of it and I’ve regularly started writing a comment, realised I’m saying nothing and delete it, settling for a like instead. There’s certainly posts where I just read them and walk away.

I think it is really important to be genuine in your online interactions (though some degree of tact is probably needed as well). If you want to be a part of the community you need to contribute to it, you need to value the contributions of others, and more importantly, you need to just be involved.

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I’ve met some incredibly cool people in the year I’ve been blogging. I may not know their real names or faces, but I know how they feel about different genres of anime, who their anime crushes are, and what their likely reaction to a new title is going to be. More importantly, I value their opinions and I know that even if we disagree, we’ll have fun talking about it. I truly value the interactions and discussions I’ve had since starting this blog and as this is my final post for the anniversary series I do want to send out one more big thank-you to all the followers.

What I learned from blogging this year is that the online anime community is alive and thriving and being a part of it can be an incredible experience (just know that every community has one or two issues).

I did ask this in my first anniversary post, but I do want to continue to give back to the anime community and create even more interactions between people. That is partly why I run the In Case You Missed It posts on Monday and also why I decided as part of my anniversary to feature some of my followers, but I’m open to other suggestions of ways I can make my blog a bit more welcoming and interactive. Share your thoughts?


Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, consider becoming a patron.

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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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Anniversary Follower Feature: Kapodaco

As part of my 1 year anniversary, I’m running a series of posts on some of my amazing followers who have volunteered to be a part of the celebration. I often say this in my monthly reflections, but without the followers and the wonderful bloggers I’ve met since starting this blog, 100 Word Anime wouldn’t still be around so I really wanted to do something during this week to highlight the amazing people who have really made blogging a rewarding experience.

Follower Feature: Kapodaco

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Kapodaco is an amazing blogger and I’m so happy that they continue to follow my blog. Their blog, Criticism and Thoughts, consistently provides some really interesting insights into anime and movies and their comments on my own posts are always appreciated. What I love is the Kapodaco is incredibly honest in their opinion of both anime and my posts and I trust that when I’ve dropped the ball they will tell me, in the most supportive way. I’m really glad Kapodaco volunteered to be a part of my anniversary as they have been a great supporter of my blog and I’ve really enjoyed discussing anime with them.

Anyway, if you have never checked out Criticism and Thoughts you really should jump on over there and do so, because it is an amazing blog. Great content and a wide variety, regularly updated, with well written and insightful posts where Kapodaco makes their views heard and supports those views well. A few example posts you could check out include: Updated Thoughts on Another, Wolf Children, and Early Impressions Sakura Quest. That said, there are heaps of other great posts to check out.

I asked participants to give me a quick 100 words about what they like about anime or my blog. Kapodaco said:

“Karandi has a dedication to her work that I haven’t seen within the aniblogging community. Her almost obscene work ethic is outshined only by the quality she puts into each post, whether episodic reviews, overall reviews, or discussion posts that range from a wide variety of topics. A knack for both serious criticism and lenient enthusiasm, Karandi’s work gives something for everyone, even an occasional post outside the topic of anime. She’s come a long way in the last year and I’m glad to have followed her. I look forward to seeing more of her work in the next six years or so.”

Thanks Kapodaco for participating in the anniversary and for supporting 100 Word Anime.  I really do hope you are still following in six years and I kind of hope I haven’t grown tired of either blogging or anime.

That actually wraps up this series of follower features but I’d like to thank all the participants as well as the readers who have joined me this week in celebrating my blog’s anniversary. Just one more ‘What I Learned’ post to go and the anniversary week is done.


Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, please consider becoming a patron.

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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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Anniversary Special – What I Learned #5

Having reached the one year point, I’ve decided to spend this week reflecting on what I’ve learned from blogging over the past 12 months, firmly keeping in mind I still have a lot to learn.

Finding Time

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve been told that and what makes it more frustrating is it is absolutely correct. We get 24 hours in a day, no more and no less. It is the same 24 hours everyone has. The only thing that changes is how we use them. I know that some people in the real world consider a lot of what I do wasting time. Hours of my life poured into watching movies, TV series, anime, playing computer games, reading blogs and articles online, and now writing my own blog. Though I don’t see that time as wasted. That is what I do to relax, to take a break from the clutter of everything else. It isn’t an escape from reality. It is my version of kicking a football or going out for a drink. It is just what I like to do.

And because I like to do it, I make the time for it. My work schedule is hectic, I actually do have family, friends and a life off line (even if sometimes I find it tiring), and I don’t neglect that in favour of my blog and other hobbies. Rather I ensure that I prioritize and timetable so that work gets done, human interaction occurs and people in the real world don’t wonder if I’m passed out at my computer, and I still have time for relaxing. Admittedly, I get a few extra hours on most people due to my terrible sleeping patterns (though this only holds up for so long before I crash for a day or two to catch up and reset).

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What is important is I don’t feel I have to defend my time watching anime or blogging. I’m very open with telling people when I go home I plan to binge half a season of whatever and then write a couple of posts. They tell me they are going to the gym or to the pub or wherever and I see no real difference.

So here’s a better quote for you that applies regardless of your hobby:

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

Essentially, do what makes you happy and don’t waste time feeling guilty over it. That doesn’t mean you can shirk all human interactions and responsibilities. But it does mean that once you’ve taken care of those, the rest of the time is yours to do with what you will.

Of course this leads me to my two main issues with finding time: writing tired and writing wired.

Writing tired is self-explanatory. When I’ve worked 60+ hours that week (not the usual but happens more often than I would like – because let’s face it, no one actually likes working a 60 hour week) and when I’m travelling and staying with family or friends and getting in some of that human interaction, sometimes I am extremely tired but posts don’t write themselves. I try to deal with a lot of this through careful scheduling but that only gets you so far before you are in a position of being tired and still having to write (or pass for the day on new content which hasn’t yet happened though there were one or two posts over the last year that I probably should have scrapped due to quality issues).

My other issue is writing wired. Nervous energy and excitement, adrenaline going, and unable to sit still for whatever reason. Usually because I’m over tired or over caffeinated. It doesn’t lead to good writing and some of my ramblier posts are probably a direct result of my being really wound up and needing to get up and move and instead I insisted on trying to write.

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In both of these cases, I do have time to write, but not the disposition. Scheduled posts help overcome this but basically when tired I try to motivate myself and when wired, well I make a note to carefully edit the post later because I’ve had some really interesting rants typed up that have later been hacked to pieces into something that is kind of publishable.

Over to all you bloggers out there: how do you work with finding time?


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Karandi James.

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Anniversary Special – What I Learned #4

Having reached the one year point, I’ve decided to spend this week reflecting on what I’ve learned from blogging over the past 12 months, firmly keeping in mind I still have a lot to learn.

Details

There are lots of details in blogging. Whether it is knowing what your focus is, getting the schedule write, sorting your grammar and spelling (I should work a bit harder on this one occasionally, typos creep in especially when I’m tired), responding to other blog posts, etc, etc. Fortunately I like details and tracking things so I get on fairly well with this aspect of it.

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But that’s not what I wanted this post to be about. Really, this post is about knowing what details to include in a post and what to leave out. For me, this has become a major challenge over the year mostly because I gave myself the 100 word target* for episode reviews. It means I am supposed to try to get to the point quickly and not just run over an episode synopsis (freely admit I don’t always succeed at that).

So when writing about a single episode, I usually try to focus on one point from the episode. What really stood out as good, bad, weird, potentially important, completely useless, etc? There are plenty of episode summaries around so I really don’t want to just recap the events, and I don’t have the words for it anyway, so my goal is to express how I felt about the episode as a whole and use 1 or 2 incidents to illustrate that point. Again, I don’t always succeed.

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However, when I expand this same view onto my full reviews, I find it really helps to take a lot of clutter out of series reviews. Really, you could write thousands of words about a series, but what does someone thinking about watching the show really need to know? What are the points that really stuck with me and how did they make me feel? I openly admit I rarely do any detailed discussion of the animation or artwork (occasionally make passing comments about whether I liked it or not) because I don’t have the skill set to really go into any more depth. The main focus for me are the characters and the plot and whether these are entertaining or not. Certainly other aspects like the animation or the music will get a mention, but they aren’t my primary focus so I don’t spend a lot of time on them.

Even with characters, I try not to list every single character in the show but rather try to narrow my focus to the couple that are needed to illustrate whatever point I’m trying to make about the characters. I regularly end up deleting entire paragraphs about some side character because when drafting I got onto a bit of a rant and then I realised it had no impact on my overall enjoyment of the series and wasn’t worth wasting my reader’s time on.

I’m still working on this, particularly in my episode reviews, but I like to think I’m mostly getting better. I actually struggle with shows that are watchable but unremarkable because I can’t usually find something to focus my post on (The Laughing Salesman is this season’s challenge as there’s a lot of same-same each episode making it hard to write).

Anyway, I’d love to know how you decide which details to keep in posts and which to delete?

*If you are wondering why the 100 word target, it was something to get me writing. I’d gotten to the point where I avoided writing with excuses like I don’t have the time (not reviews, just writing in general). However, by asking myself to write just 100 words and reminding myself how easy it was to get to 100 words I found motivation to start writing again. Now I just need to figure out how to hit the brakes and not smash the 100 word limit on every single episode review.


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If you like this site and you like what I do, consider becoming a patron.

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Karandi James.

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