Another year has passed and with it another year of blogging has been added to the archives. I want to take this opportunity to reflect on how my blogging and other otaku-related activities have gone over the last year as well as layout my plans for the rest of this year. This is somewhat long but I hope you stick around to the end.
2010 in Review
Ever since I started blogging I have tried to aim for an average of 10 posts per month. Over the past year I’ve completed a total of 108 posts for an average of 9 posts per month. This is very close to my goals so 2010 has been another successful year in that regard. Breaking that down by rough categories 51 were lyrics, 15 were Yuri Chalks and the rest were random assorted things.
In terms of site statistics my traffic has gotten a ridiculous boost for most of the year. On April 27th I reached 300k hits. Using that as an estimator I probably had about 250000 hits at the beginning of the year. By the end I had a little over 567000 hits. In other words over the last year I doubled the number of hits I got in my first 2.5 years of blogging. A good deal of this can be attributed to my lyrics. Specifically thanks to the combination of Angel Beats! and K-ON!!, Lyrical☆Spark! hit record traffic averaging 1500+ hits per day during the spring, summer and the beginning of fall. During that period on song release days the traffic sometimes spiked to over 2000 hits a day. After that period though traffic has halved though the new baseline is higher than what it was at the same time the previous year.
As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, my lyrics translations have contributed significantly to the site both because of traffic and content. Ever since I started it as a hobby during spring 2008 my output has increased as I have gotten more confident in my work quality. In addition to Angel Beats! and K-ON!!, I’ve had a couple of other lyrics projects such as To Heart and Amagami SS as well as a couple of other random things. As such I’ve finally been able to reach my goal of about one song per week with 51 songs out of 52 weeks. Blogging was successful in that regard.
Because of my increased output in lyrics though my regular blogging or what I refer to as random musings has gone down significantly. In comparison to previous years they now only make a smaller percentage of my overall output. I still do my seasonal watch lists. However my other anime writings have been a lot more sporadic unfortunately. I’ve only done a handful of really in-depth anime ponderings such as a couple of 07th Expansion posts and a Sora no Woto one and occasionally a few random episodics usually revolving around Angel Beats!. It’s not that I don’t care about them anymore. In fact I really do love doing these when I’m in the mood but my mindset has changed. When I do feel like blogging I usually opt to do lyrics partly since I view it as more helpful to the otaku community and for various other reasons. Another thing is that when I feel like talking about anime it usually gets redirected to my twitter account.
Also over the year I changed the layout of the blog just slightly. I shifted from my traditional double sidebar that I’ve used in some form or another since 2007 in favor of a more streamlined single sidebar layout. I’ve only kept the recent history materials like comments, posts and twitter feed as well as the blogroll. All the other things have been removed or converted to pages. Sometimes the extra click gets annoying when wanting to search by tags, categories or dates but overall it’s much better looking and organized.
In terms of non-blogging objectives, one of the biggest goals I had for 2010 was to once and for all clear my anime backlog which I have had essentially since I started blogging and has only gotten worse over the years. I don’t want to reveal the embarrassing number of series I went through last year but basically it was the most anime I have ever watched in a year. On the positive side I managed to more-or-less clear my entire backlog of anime aside from about a handful of series.
As usual I’ll continue to strive for the 10 posts a month benchmark that I’ve kept up ever since I started blogging. No surprises there. In addition I’d also like it if I can manage to hit the 750K hits mark by the end of the year although this is not something I have much control over so I guess it’s more of a wish than a goal.
In terms of lyrics I want to once again aim for one song per week if possible. There are a bunch of songs left in my backlog that I need to clear out so I’ll prioritize those at the beginning of the year. I want to finish those as fast as possible so that I can continue to work on some unfinished projects as well as start new ones. Of course I’ll continue to do new material from the upcoming seasons. I’ll probably just stick to a couple of series per season like normal and hopefully I can work on older stuff concurrently as well.
Since I was disappointed over my lack of random musings and such I also want to increase my output of those types of posts as well for a more balanced feel. Of course to do that my overall output needs to increase so if I don’t have the time this may or may not actually happen. In the event of the latter I’ll just try to do more memorable posts like the ones mentioned above instead and post about things that no one else is talking about such as those Bing Windows 7 themes from the beginning of last year. I’ll also try to post various other random things I find exciting for what ever reason. Basically I also want to do a lot more of the type of blogging I did before shifting to lyrics. These next few paragraphs will focus more specifically about other non-lyrics posts I want to do.
In a regards to Yuri Chalk, my long-running graffiti drawing project will be coming to end in the spring since at that time I’ll be graduating from college. Ever since I started this it’s slowly just become a habit more than anything else. I don’t dislike it but sometimes it feels like a chore and becomes just a quiz to see if my anime club members can guess the series. I estimate that I have only ten left so I want to use those last few to round up prominent series and those I like to finish off.
As I phase out Yuri Chalk I hope to phase in more of my original drawings once again. It’s been a couple of years since I have posted drawings regularly but I’ve at least tried to post some occasionally. I’ll try to do that especially so I can motivate myself to draw more.
Since I’ll be graduating soon I also plan to do a series of posts in regards to anime clubs in general and mine specifically to be published later on in the year. I’ve been working on them on and off for a while but they will all be published at the end of the spring semester for several consecutive days. I’ll miss being the first Director ever these past four years but I’ll have to say good-bye to my officer position eventually. The posts will have a mix of successes and criticisms so we’ll see how it goes.
Another thing I noticed over the past year was that my participation in the otaku community at large has taken a nosedive and I don’t keep up nearly as well as I used to and basically rarely comment anymore. I feel really bad about this so I’ll try my best to amend this somehow.
In the latter half of last year I decided that I wanted to start rolling out various changes on the blog. Lyrical☆Spark! will continue to use the same theme for the foreseeable future because I like it and because it’s virtually impossible for me to switch (not a technical reason). One of the more time-consuming changes will be in the form of essentially going through the 400 or so existing posts and editing the categories and tags to reflect the standard I’ve adopted over the past year or two. I’m mainly doing this so that the slight navigation changes I did recently become more useful. So that it doesn’t feel so annoying I’ll just do that slowly over the year. I may also sort my blogroll into lyrics translation blogs, hosted blogs and other. The only other major change I can think of is something I’ve been meaning to do for years. I plan to retire my existing headers in favor of new ones that will feature my own art. As an artist it’s kind of weird to use other people’s hard work in my header’s so I want to remedy that. It’ll go hand-in-hand with my plan to increase artwork too. On a related note I may also introduce a new logo, not as a replacement but rather as supplement to the existing Nanoha-inspired one. The only exception to the header revamp may be sparing the Marisa/Patchouli one since I’ve used that in some form ever since I opened up this blog.
Now that my anime backlog is more or less abolished, it should give me time to work on the above as well as go through my other backlogs. I’ll prioritize music but if possible I’ll try to go through manga, games and other things I’ve been meaning to experience though the latter are at the bottom of my goal list.
In terms of offline goals and such this year I plan on going to Otakon. I’m always really bad about it and even though I’ve thought about it before I always end up skipping it. Even today one of my few otaku regrets is missing out on Noto Mamiko’s Otakon 2007 appearance. I really do want to do it this year and all out at that. I really want to go in full costume for such a big event. At the top of my list are Alice Margatroid (Touhou), Koibuchi Kuranosuke (Kuragehime) and Hirasawa Yui (K-ON!). Right now the one I’ve been planning for the most is Kuranosuke since his is the most expensive and because I want to try piecing it together from scratch. There’s a lot of things I have to do to make my cosplay plans a reality but as far as money is concerned, if I have to make cuts I’ll do Alice instead of Kuranosuke since I’d get more use out of that costume. Maybe I can sneak Yui in there too since her Listen!! costume is fairly cheap and easy to do plus I can use the same boots for Alice and her. Anyway we’ll see how things turn out.
Looking over the entirety of this post a few things are clear. 2010 was the year that lyrics made their big impact here on Lyrical☆Spark!. 2010 was also the year that I conquered my massive anime backlog though not without a cost — I had so much more anime to talk about but not nearly the time. Combining these two together, it’s easy to see how they led to the detriment of my other blogging activities though I managed to meet my goals overall. With all that considered I set some lofty goals for 2011. I don’t know how many of these I’ll be able to fulfill but at the very least I want to continue the success of my lyrics ventures while simultaneously rejuvenating the sort of blogging that I used to do more frequently.