The post is influenced by just a simple comment. A comment on a post that I made way back in March. My supposed Mecha March thing that I tried. In particular, it was that bad Gasaraki review that I wrote. The comment itself was from a person that doesn’t run a blog, just a random citizen of the internet who said that they couldn’t understand what I was trying to say. I honestly think that March is my worst month ever in terms of quality, but after rereading through my Gasaraki post again, I agree with everything that they have said. That post was the lowest of a low month’s work. I still don’t know what I was thinking about when I was writing it and finally decided to post it. I know that it shouldn’t, but it has made me put a lot of doubt into what I’ve been writing recently. One negative comment can have more power to it than anyone could ever think. With all that said, I guess you can call this the unofficial “Scott’s Guide to writing a blog”, but it’s really all that I have learned since the beginning of my blogging career and that Gasaraki post.
Looking at this Gasaraki post that was bit like taking a ride in a time machine to yester year. With a large number of months between that post and right now, I can look at it from a much more objective perspective. There are so many things that are wrong with it that go beyond explanation. For starters, that post was too short for an anime series like Gasaraki. That show needed more paragraphs and words explaining what was going on that show before analyzing it. Four paragraphs was not enough. How stupid was I for attempting to do something like a review in a short span of space? Well, without further need of a longer prologue, here are a few things I have learned about writing a good blog post.
More Explanation is Necessary
While I like writing short blog posts, I have learned that I need to explain my thought process more. Expecting people to know what I am thinking is completely wrong, because that is never going to happen. People can’t even read people’s mind when they are up close, so how are they supposed to read my mind through text on a website? We already have enough issues understanding sarcasm in text form, so mind reading is completely off the table. The best way to solve the ambiguousness and chaotic-ness of the internet is to explain as much as possible through your own mind’s perspective of how you see everything. IF you want people to know what the general plot of a story is, spend more than one or two sentences to explain what is going on, if the story demands it. Do the same for characters as well. Use enough time and space for people to get a grasp of what that series is going for, who the characters are, and what tone the story has. That way, people will know more about whether or not the series is for them.
There are some exceptions to this due to the limitations of text. Explaining art style, animation, or anything visual is going to be hard. Yes, art style can be completely explained away through the use of pictures and the like, but not so for movement. Maybe posting a gif or connecting a youtube link to the post will help, but it won’t take your audience all the way there. It’s just something that needs to be dealt with in stride.
Acquire a focus
Now that you are explaining your thoughts about everything in your post, it’s time to make it something much more coherent. While a stream of conscious is a great way to get motivated into writing something, everything still needs to connect together and make sense. For example, if you are writing an anime review, don’t just suddenly talk about how your mom likes watching anime too or how this anime looks on a big screen tv compared to a telephone screen. Those two sorts of thing can be added into the review, but there needs to be some connecting tissue in a manner that makes sense. If you are writing an anime review, talk about different aspects of that show. That seems kind of obvious, but it’s harder than one would think. Combining a good focus on different aspects of the series with some solid and good explanations, a good post is already in the works for you. No questions about it at all. It just needs a little bit more refining.
Have a direction
This is when writing a blog post starts getting slightly more complicated. I don’t know about you, but how often have you been off put by a blog post that seems completely aimless? Like the blog post in question makes some good points and even has a good subject matter, because the post doesn’t have any sort of frame work to it, it’s just off putting for one reason or another? Maybe, maybe not, but I know that it’s something I have issues with. Like a lot of anime series that I watch, I prefer reading a post that feels like it’s going somewhere and knows what it’s primary focus is then something that has these characters hanging around in a void day to day with a lot of repetition. Some development is needed.
So here are a couple simple directions that I try to use. The first one is going from general to specific. For example, if you are writing an anime review, start by describing the series in general (like describing the series and its characters), then go a little deeper into the series about what you liked or disliked about it. That way, the audience knows what the series is about and how you, the writer, personally feeling about it. Another one that I try to use is starting a discussion on a personal note and how a certain thing bothers you then go more general on how you think a certain thing affects everyone. Please don’t look at this post and look at the direction I am taking it, that’s way too meta.
The last bit of advice that I am going to talk about here is streamlining your post. Unless you are writing a concluding paragraph to tie whatever you are writing together, don’t repeat any of your points. This is a problem that I have sometimes toward other people’s posts. When I read a post and see this happen, it causes me to phase out of what I am reading and just blatantly forget what I just read. That’s it, I have no more advice that I can share, because they are the things that I try to do.
In the end, that’s it. Ever since I started blogging in January of 2016 and had some failure with my Gasaraki post, I tried to find a formula that works for me. Writing an outline helps with a lot of these details, but eventually you will get so used to how you write a post that you already have the whole thing outlined in your head. Grammar and spelling are just something that you need to edit yourself. I have a lot of issues with this too because I bet there are quite a few errors that I missed when looking through this post. Right now, as of late November 2017, this is what works for me right now. Who knows, all of this might chance in the future. I might come up with a formula that works better in the future, because I am always trying to find a better way to write a post. Here is to the future!