Standing still in 2018

First off, I wanted to let you know I’m giving a talk at the Japan America Society this Friday. You can still sign up for it here. I’ve been a member and language student there for four years, so when they asked me if I would volunteer to give this talk, it was a no-brainer.

This talk is coming two weeks after I gave an earlier version of it as an AnimeNEXT panel. It was one of four panels I gave at AnimeNEXT with John. Five if you count our participation on the AnimeCons TV panel, in which we talked about supporting the next generation of anime fans, something I have a lot of opinions on

With these speaking events combined, I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of resting on my laurels lately. I’ve been giving talks about things I have done in the past, without really having anything in the works at present.

Somebody asked me what happened to Anime Origin Stories. I stopped putting these up regularly right after a friend of mine passed away, and never got back to them. I haven’t posted any since November 1, and I still have 100+ stories waiting to be followed up on.

Also in November, I wrote a novel, which I’ve been meaning to edit. But I’ve only sat down with it once since then. That hardly counts as “in the works.”

I wanted to investigate more serious stories about fandom. Now that actually is something I’ve got in the works but no thanks to my own efforts—I found a place interested in assisting me with the resources I need to do this, so uh, stay tuned on that.

I’ve been letting Tom Aznable do the lion’s share of work for Gunpla 101.

Then there’s that blog series I said I was starting in March and stopped after one post. Nobody’s asked about it, but it still grates at me that I haven’t added anything new to it.

What have I been doing? I’ve had a lot of client work lately that’s not fandom related (unless you count writing about niche topics for niche audiences fandom, which I sometimes do). I’ve been doing my work for clients as thoughtfully as I know how and then logging off for the day. I’ve been going on a lot of walks. It’s a little like summer vacation.

We’re halfway through 2018, so I thought I’d give you a status update by writing this. Maybe it’s comforting to see that other people don’t have anything figured out, either? It’s weird not to be working toward a goal right now. It feels like standing still. This isn’t burnout. This is just a blank space in my career, in which I’m not sure yet where I want to refocus my daily work.

Habits are hard to form. It takes 30 days, experts say, for a repeated task to become a habit. And yet, they are so easy to break. Take Otaku Links, my Friday column for years. For the first few weeks, I didn’t post them, I felt like I was forgetting something. It felt weird, but not for long. Now weeks go by without me remembering that column ever existed. I know that in order to break out of this uncertainty, I just need to decide on a goal and start chipping away at it a little each day. But which goal?

The logical way to conclude this post would be to tell you how I’m going to break the cycle. But right now, I’m not sure what comes next for me. As I keep writing here every Monday, I’m going to continue to evaluate what matters most to me each week, and see if it forms a theme.

It’s all a long way of saying, watch this space! I’ll talk to you next week.