|I have no clue why, but this felt appropriate here.|
With that out of the way, we can move on. So, with all the talk of competition, I started to think about those who win and lose competitions, i.e. the superior and inferior competitors. Now, what makes one blogger superior and another inferior? Well, certainly not pageviews or lots of posts. Rather, the quality of a blog is reflected by what you can take out of it. Some blogs simply don't make you think, nor do they leave you feeling as if you've learned something. The more I thought about this, the more I realized mine simply doesn't match up. Frankly, this blog is inferior to others (look at my blogroll for some examples of "others"). My reviews are generally written in a rather flat, toneless voice, my posts are rarely very thought provoking or insightful (though they can certainly be analytical), my layout is boring, and I won't even talk about my editorials. These may just be my opinions, but I know that they aren't totally incorrect. When I see a blog full of thoughtful, fascinating, and/or fun to read posts, I know in my gut that I'm seeing something superior to my own creations here, something I don't, or more often can't, do myself. If you're having trouble understanding how someone can think like this (maybe you're a very confident person), then perhaps some personal information will help. I have what I call a "dual inferiority/superiority complex" (not diagnosed or anything, I just know). I'm doing very well in my academic studies (most of the people in my classes are between 2 and 4+ years older than me), I'm extremely responsible and willing to help, and I make less trouble for those around me than anyone my age I know. These things all lead me to sometimes feel "superior" to others. And the same time, however, my social life is, to put it bluntly, dangerously close to becoming nonexistent, I often struggle in areas where others have no problems, I have very little self-confidence, and I feel I have yet to experience any of the tribulations in life that others have already mastered. As a result, I often feel inferior to others, usually more often than I feel superior (grades only mean so much, after all). I mean, I wouldn't call myself narcissistic or extremely self-loathing at any time, but I get close. Anyways, with this new information, it should be a little less surprising that I felt my blog was inferior.
I thought about it for a long time. Was my blog even worth it? Does it make any difference in the blogosphere? Am I just filling the internet with "garbage posts" and inferior jargon that doesn't provide any deeper meaning?
I never got too broken up about it, and I realized that my posts weren't without any merit, but these questions harangued me for some time. I only fully realized my answer a day or two ago, when I was having a conversation with someone I consider to be a superior blogger on one of her posts. I mentioned my rating editorials, and she graciously decided to look at them. She commented, which I thought was pretty awesome, then I responded to her on her site saying "Thanks! I feel like a celebrity came up to me and shook my hand" (it sounded less weird if you were there). Oh, and going on a tangent for a moment here, I truly do feel that way, and I get the same feeling when anyone stops by my blog. So if you're ever wondering how to make my day...Anyway, back to the story. After that, she humbly responded with a thank you and a reminder that she wasn't really different from any other blogger, and that she loved getting comments too. I'm not sure why, but this made some things click for me. After remembering that others had said similar things as well, I realized the answer to my inferior/superior question: it doesn't matter, because that's not what blogging is about. Blogging is about, well, blogging. It isn't fun because you rule the written word and can captivate your readers with a quality post, it's fun because of the human interaction, the discussion of passions, the varying viewpoints.
When I realized this, I came to grips with my inferiority. I still consider my blog "inferior," but it doesn't matter anymore. It's not a bad thing, and I don't need my blog to be superior for it to be worthwhile. I'm not blogging because I want to create an amazing blog that everyone likes (though that does certainly sound nice). So then why do I blog? Well, at first it was because I wanted a place to share my "Inner Critic," as I called it in my initial "What to Expect" post. It was mostly a way of putting down my thoughts, for myself and by myself. But I can no longer say that is really the case. As I state in my Blogroll page, I'm rather slow to pick up new blogs, and this was never more true than when I first started blogging. There was a grand total of one blog I followed, and even that had only spotty attendance from me. But as I explored the site further, I quickly found myself ravenous for more. I began visiting some of the blogs on that site's blogroll page, and from there I started snowballing (albeit slowly). The more blogs I visited, the greater my appetite for more became. I started trawling through the archives, looking for more and soaking up every word. I realized that I would burnout my material, so I slowed down my pace, but by then my world had changed and it showed itself in my blogging. My first few posts, especially the less-than-dazzling Jazz Jackrabbit 2 and Break Blade reviews I wrote, had been largely for myself. They expressed my opinions, but they expressed them for me, not for my readers. After I was exposed more, however, I began to think more about the reader. Now, I'd have to say that when I post, it's mostly for other people. I no longer post just to get my thoughts and words down, but to express them to other people and (hopefully) benefit those who read them. Of course, it's not a totally selfless endeavor; I am still getting my thoughts down, and I do try to have fun with my posts if I can. As much as I hated watching and rewatching the first four episodes of Hidan no Aria, I have to say that I was feeling pretty great after finishing my impression of it (does anyone else find it amusing that the only "impression" on my site is larger than any of my "full" reviews by far?). And that's how my views of blogging changed. It's not about being better than others or trying to "catch up" to those bloggers ahead of me; it's about my love of blogging, my love of other bloggers, my love of anime, and my love of games. I don't want to be a "superior blogger," I want to be someone who can satisfy my readers the way the bloggers I look up to can. And while these things may seem like they're the same, it's the mindsets that make the difference. And that's how I learned that inferiority doesn't matter in blogging.
It feels a little strange to post this little story, considering that I haven't even been going for a quarter of a year yet, but it felt appropriate to bring it up closer to when it happened. It's been a great two and half months, mostly due to the wonderful interactions I've had with other bloggers, and I hope that the future months will be as well. And a special thank you goes out to those superior bloggers, the ones who helped me realize all of this and drive me to continue blogging. Thanks for reading.
Note: When I talk about superior and inferior and how I've "come to grips with my inferiority," I'm not talking about individual post quality! I'm still making an ongoing effort to make my posts better, and I'm a firm believer that things can always improve. So your feedback is important!
Commander Video image taken from Nintendolife.