On a cold November day eight years ago, I pressed publish for the first time on Otaku Journalist. It was a terrifying moment, but also an exhilarating one. From then on, I had a voice on the internet in a place I alone governed, where I could say and share whatever I wanted.
Starting a blog is difficult. But restarting a blog after a long break, like I’m doing now, can be almost as tough. Most of the time over these eight years, I saw this blog in one-month chunks when I sat down on the 1st with my monthly planner and penciled in a few potential article ideas. Rarely did I stand back to look at the bigger picture. Reader surveys have helped me do this, as have complete redesigns, but usually I operate my blog on autopilot.
After this break, I want to take inventory and share with you how Otaku Journalist fits into my work and my life. Here are all the projects I’m working on right now:
OK, let’s put everything I get paid for in one place. Since quitting my income reports, I have taken on two new clients—one fairly time-intensive at that. The pie chart of my activities has skewed more toward WordPress development once again.
On the ghostwriting side, I’ve got one steady client and recently “tried out” for a second. Increasingly, I have to do (paid) writing exercises for clients so they can see if they want to keep me around. I got rejected last time I did one and even though I regularly get articles spiked and edited it still shook my confidence a bit. We’ll see if this one goes better.
Aside from that, still doing weekly reviews for Anime News Network—Clean Freak! Aoyama Kun and Fastest Finger First this season, and I like the second one best. Still writing five posts a month for Forbes, and I am really proud of the Johnny Weir CRX interview I just put up.
This is the time of year when my affiliate earnings start to pick up, but I haven’t seen that happen yet. I made $450 in August, which is fairly low. You know about my big earners: Gunpla 101, plus my infamous, cheesy candle blog. Generally I work on these around the first of the month and then let them go, but it’s time to get more serious about Gunpla content again.
Anime Origin Stories
Technically an affiliate blog, it deserves its own section. Before one seriously rough summer, this was the most important passion project on my plate. I was planning not only to finish out my backlog, but to self-publish a companion book on anime fandom throughout the decades. Now, I’m taking this one day at a time. Parsing through Origin Stories whenever I have a spare moment. Honestly, these interviews always make me feel better.
Nobody knows how much time we have left to live. (Yes, I’m that guy now.) So even though I’m training for a 10k race, even though I’m working my way through a strict studying schedule ahead of the N4 Japanese Language Proficiency Test in December, even though I’ve never had the drive or follow-through and have been making excuses about how this isn’t the “right year” since junior year of high school, I’m going to accomplish a longtime goal and finish NaNoWriMo.
Previously, I didn’t do the legwork. But this year, I’m structuring an outline, and more importantly, I’m fucking sick of my own excuses. I’m not promising any content for readers because last time I did that (in 2015, ugh!) I was just too worried about people’s reactions to the final piece to write my messy first draft. This novel will be for me, for now, if that’s what it takes to actually write it.
That brings us back here. I have such clear plans and to-do lists for everything else. Where does Otaku Journalist fit into all that? At this point, I want to revive the blog by using it to share writing that doesn’t fit anywhere else. Stuff like:
Essays about fandom. It’s not anime that changes so much as the community around it. I love observing how our identities shift and writing it up. Just like Anime Origin Stories is a time capsule for individual’s entrances into fandom, I want my essays here to capture what it was like to be part of our fandom in a particular moment.
Career advice. Specifically for journalists, freelancers, and fandom industry professionals. I skew old in the fandom demographics now, and I have a lot I want to share. Presenting on Otaku Journalism at Crunchyroll Expo made me feel so useful, like I had something of value to offer fellow attendees. I want more of that, here.
Personal development. Why are we alive? Ideally, to learn lots and grow into increasingly better versions of ourselves. This is a personal blog, and I want to share my successes and failures as I work on myself, in the hopes that it could help you, too. Of course this will often intersect with lessons from anime and fandom, because that’s such a big part of who I am.
As I relaunch Otaku Journalist, it helps to have a road map of where I’m going with this. Whether you’ve been reading for years, months, or days, it’s great to have you along for the ride.
Free stock photo via Pexels.