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I’m going to start this post off with a disclaimer. My goal with this post is not to give some special insight into how you should write posts. I don’t have that kind of expertise. I’m just putting my thoughts on blog post formats out there. I hope it’s helpful, but I’m also interested in how others approach this concept (to see what I could learn from it).
The Summary Post
When I was starting out, my style of posting was pretty simple. My entire post was devoted to talking about what actually happened in the episode. If I was feeling adventurous, I’d add the odd comment or quip. It’s a pretty easy way to start out if you don’t know what to write.
I think this style of post gets its fair share of criticism. Admittedly, it’s probably well-deserved. I’m very aware that it’s a pretty low amount of effort. I certainly made things worse by posting all of my summaries as large blocks of text. But even though I’d never go back to writing posts like these, I would argue that they still have their place.
I’ve always found that I tend to read Wikipedia summaries very often when I watch Western shows. Why only when I watch Western shows? It’s just because anime episode summaries tend to be less available. I do this because I want to see how someone else interpreted the episode I just watched. Which parts did they think were important? Was there an obvious big picture piece that I missed? I’d say summary posts serve a similar role.
The “Analysis” Post
This style is probably my least favorite of the post formats that I’ve used, even if it’s the one I used for the longest time. It was kind of a natural progression from my previous style. At a certain point, I decided that the reader probably doesn’t need to be told what happened in the episode. I personally tend to avoid reading blog posts until after I’ve seen an episode, so it seemed like a reasonable conclusion. So, I just cut the summary from my post.
I think this change had the immediate upside of forcing me to think more about what I’d watched, rather than blindly repeating the content of the episode. It was a very slow process, but I believe that I came out of it with a better understanding of where my interests lie. I can better speak to what I actually like in a show.
The reason I hated this format was that I didn’t really like what it became. As I wrote more posts, I started giving myself easy milestones to complete the post. For example, there was a long stretch of time during which I would declare a post to be finished if I managed to go over 150 or 200 words. The posts started to feel more formulaic and probably ended up being too concise to really say much.
The Reaction Post
For many of you, this style of posting may be the most familiar one. Admittedly, it’s probably my favorite. After watching a particularly rough first episode, I realized that I had way more things to say than I normally would. More importantly, I realized that these comments were largely in reaction to very specific scenes. Rather than describing the scene, I thought it might be easier just to post a picture of the scene and make the comment directly below it. As such, my posts became a series of images followed by reactions to said images.
The reason I liked this post format was because I felt like it played to my strengths. I feel much more comfortable reacting to specific points than putting together some kind of analysis. The images in these posts acts as a reference point for a particular point in the series, allowing me to talk about it specifically.
If I had to sum everything up in an overarching lesson, it would be that I aim to experiment and try new methods. Recently, I’ve attempted to trim my posts down to avoid an excessive wall of images. I noticed that I had a tendency to “fill space” in my reaction posts with one-liners in some series while others would have full paragraphs for a single image. I’m now trying to force myself to come up with a decent paragraph for every series (at the very least). One day, I may move away from only using screenshots in my posts.
So, I’ll end on this: why do you prefer the style you use today for your blog posts? Is there a reason for your preference? The answer to that second question doesn’t have to be “yes”. It’s just something I like to ponder myself.