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So…yeah, my blog apparently hit 8 years this week. If I had realized sooner that this would be happening now, I may have planned better for it. Why can’t these things happen at a more predictable time? I don’t typically make a fuss about anniversaries, but this one happened to hit at particularly experimental time. Hopefully, you’ve noticed this by now, but I’ve been trying a lot of different things recently. And since I don’t know how long-winded this will get, I’ll make this point early. I don’t know if people actually have any questions for me, but feel free to ask them in the comments and I’ll do my best to respond to them. Note that I will likely ignore questions that get too personal.
It’s hard to remember how much of my story I’ve told throughout the years, so here’s (hopefully) a condensed version. This blog started as a bit of a pet project back when I was a fresh-faced college graduate. I wanted to channel at least some of my free time into something productive, and I’d always been curious about running a website. At the time, I was considering writing about Rubik’s Cubes, video games, or anime. After deciding that I didn’t have anything new to add to the world of Rubik’s Cubes and that I wasn’t good enough at video games, I wrote a review about Code Geass and went from there. Back then, I never would have guessed I’d still be writing blog posts now.
Shaky advice break: You don’t have to know what you want to get out of blogging to give it a shot. It may end up not being right for you, but you’re not going to figure that out until you try. You don’t need to have some grand plan to get the most views or make a living. Just do what makes sense to you.
As many fellow bloggers may relate, I started out trying various things before settling on episode reviews. If there was one thing I learned from college, it was that my writing skills were pitiful. So, it was around that time that I decided to write daily posts. After all, they say that practice makes perfect. While I didn’t end up with a shining writing career as a result, this blog is partially the inspiration for my current work as a software developer. Before starting the blog, I’d never taken a computer class in my life. However, I made the decision in March 2012 to invest in my own domain and hosting.
Shaky advice break: It’s important to play to your own strengths. I consider my strengths to be consistency and conciseness, which is why I initially latched on to the idea of writing daily posts about individual episodes. Daily posts aren’t for everyone.
I started out with a self-hosted WordPress install, so not much changed. I also ended up buying a fairly fancy hosting package, which allowed me to worry very little about things like backups and bandwidth. Honestly, I didn’t think much had changed from my technical knowledge, but I decided to change that by seriously pursuing computer science. Once I found that programming was something that I enjoyed doing, I started my next project: building my own site from the ground up.
Shaky advice break: Hosting packages are typically priced with the expectation that you’ll be unwilling to switch hosts after your first year. That’s why you’ll typically see new account deals for much lower prices. These prices will almost always go up by a lot after you renew the hosting.
I make it sound so fancy, but it was really a side project. It took me almost a year to rebuild my site in Python (it went live around my blog anniversary in 2016). It’s honestly a great feeling. It’s a lot of pressure, but I have full control over what my site can do for me, and I use that power to automate the more repetitive tasks. For example, did you know that my blog automatically generates the HTML for every one of my images and inserts them into my posts? Granted, I could have done this with a WordPress install, but I chose to use a framework that I enjoyed more. One day, I hope to have the time to go back to WordPress, so I can give advice for the many people who use it as a preferred platform.
Shaky advice break: If there’s something that you do every single time you publish a post, try to think of ways to automate it. You don’t need to be an insane programmer to find a script to save yourself some time.
Have I ever written a blog post this long? So much for being concise. If you’ve made it down this far, I want to sincerely thank you. I’m terrible at expressing it, but I always appreciate readers like you. It’s a large part of why I’ve continued to exist.
As I’ve said many times in this post, I’m at a point where I’m trying all kinds of new things with this blog, so don’t be afraid to give me any feedback. Seriously, I won’t be offended. This has long been an episodic post blog, and I aim to change that. But all of that aside, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about my experience as a blogger. I especially enjoy giving technical pointers despite my massive case of impostor syndrome. Again, I can’t promise any answers to personal questions.