Looking back on the year and a half that I’ve been writing here at Unsheathed, it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come, to say the least. From random ramblings on a Google+ page to the full-fledged website that I word vomit on now, it’s been a very unique experience. I’ve especially enjoyed coming into the larger aniblogger community; even as small as I am, I’ve managed to carve out a small niche that I feel grows with each post. It’s been so much fun getting to know other bloggers, reading their posts, and just being part of something larger. As a former homeschooler who didn’t get out too much as a kid, it feels both inspiring and a little scary to be able to have a (small) voice in such a large crowd, and yet somehow still get heard and contribute to the conversation. I will admit though, that even with all the things I love about the community, I do tend to get discouraged sometimes…
On average, I like to read around 12 anime blogs on a daily basis, sometimes more when events like the Fujinsei Blog Carnival or a collaboration come around. I love seeing the diversity in viewpoints and writing styles: some people are more analytical, some people prefer to be more opinionated, some people like to review anime and some enjoy discussing the themes in anime, yet everyone has a cohesive and unique style that really stands out to me.
And then there’s me.
I’m barely legible, I tend to try too hard to write academically, and overall I seem to lack heart in my writing style. My somewhat low number of views and reader interaction is most certainly a testament to how poorly I function as a people person, and the fact that even after a year I haven’t gotten as many followers as other blogs has to mean that I’m not cut out for the blogosphere at all.
As easy as it is to praise everyone else, I seem to find it even easier to hate on my own work. My logical side tells me that I’m being unfair to myself, that I’m comparing my worst to other’s best, that I’m not that bad. I want to believe it. But I don’t. At least, not completely.
Other bloggers inspire me. Yet they often tend to indirectly be my greatest sources of peer pressure. As I’ve struggled with this, I’ve tried to understand why I felt everyone was so much better than me. Is it because they have more reader interaction? More views? More interesting topics? What made everyone seem so much more together than me?
Everyone I love reading has a true passion and love for what they write. You can feel it through every word they choose, the way they structure their posts, and even in the ways they split their paragraphs to make reading flow the way they want it to.
When it comes to my own work, while I write what I want to and I enjoy it, I feel as if I lack the passion that I had back when I first began. I’ve started to see blogging as more of an obligation than a fun hobby, and I don’t like that. I want to return to my roots, when I blogged to have fun, share my beliefs, and encourage conversation among my readers.
As Unsheathed continues along, I plan to start writing more posts on topics and ideas that I really love, no matter what the specific anime is. Maybe I’ll talk about a specific anime for 3 weeks consecutively, maybe I’ll topic jump. Sometimes you’ll see deep discussion of anime themes and spirituality, sometimes you’ll see fun one-offs like the “in 100 Words” series. In essence, I want Unsheathed to be an extension of myself, rather than a compartmentalization of my skills and beliefs.
For those of you struggling with your own blogs or gifts, the advice I give you is to find your own passion. Find what you love to do, and pursue it. I love how the Bible puts it: Ecclesiastes 9:10a says “whatever you find to do, do it with all your might”. Find the niche that fits your gifts, and put your all into it. Don’t be afraid to look to others for inspiration, but let their inspiration push you to do better, rather than discourage you.
We’re all on this path together.