Writing Outside My Niche Is Hard

Anime, games, and other aspects of otaku culture are by far the subject I’m most interested in. The vast majority of my free time is spent thinking about or consuming things that fall within the broader category of 2D culture. I think it’s pretty normal to focus primarily on one area of interest, especially when that interest has such a bustling fandom as anime. It’s easy to fall into a bubble where anime is all I think about. At the same time, otaku media isn’t my only area of interest. I do enjoy things that are totally unrelated to 2D media and Japan.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to express my love for other things. I’ve boxed myself into anime to such an extent that it’s hard to get out and explore other topics. Most the time this causes absolutely zero issues since as I said, most of my thoughts are spent on otaku media. But at times, it can be quite annoying. This is especially true on this blog, for a number of reasons. Part of my inability to express these feelings is due to my own hangups, and part of it is due to the audience I’ve cultivated, but it all comes together to create an environment where it feels hard for me to discuss my other interests.

One major problem I have is that I’ve focused so heavily on otaku media that I have a hard time understanding other things. I experience this most clearly in regards to music. All the research I do is very specifically aimed at better understanding the anime industry and fandom, so I’m really out of my depth when it comes to music. I can barely describe music whatsoever, let alone analyze it in any detail. I don’t know the first thing about music theory or terminology. All I can say is if I think a song sounds good or not, which really isn’t useful information. And that sucks because I do enjoy listening to music quite a bit. It’s not my main hobby, but it takes up a decent amount of my time. It’s a shame the only parts I can really write about are lyrics.

This applies to other fields as well. I honestly don’t feel right talking about western media, because I consume it on such infrequent occasions relative to Japanese stuff. I don’t know anything about the western TV industry and how shows are made. Sure, I can analyze their narratives and visuals in the same way I do for anime, but it just feels out of place to do so. I don’t like speaking from a place of ignorance, and it feels like that’s something I have to do whenever I’m talking about non-otaku media. I see no real cure to this other than investing myself more in western media, but I also don’t see that as something that’s going to happen anytime soon. Sure, I’ll play a western game or watch a western show here and there, but I really doubt that’ll eclipse my love of anime anytime soon.

At the same time as I deal with this lack of knowledge, I also have to deal with the issue of audience. I’m pretty happy with my audience right now, even if I wish it were a bit bigger at times, but it’s an audience which is firmly interested in anime content. Like I said in the beginning, that’s cool most of the time. I’m most interested in anime, and I’m also very interested in contributing to the general anime discourse, so I’m happy to have an audience for that. At the same time, it can feel restrictive, as I’m worried I’ll disappoint my readers if I write on non-otaku topics.

Does anyone really want to see me write about my thoughts on an episode of Twin Peaks or Doctor Who? People will say they want to, but will anyone actually read it? Does anyone want to hear my incredibly uneducated opinions on Kendrick’s albums? Does anyone really, really want to hear my thoughts on various Marxist books? It’s frequent for people on AniTwitter to say that they’re interested in someone’s writing no matter what, but I really doubt how true that is. If someone else was worried about this I’d tell them I’d read their stuff anyway, but would I really? The truth is that in most cases wouldn’t.

It’s nice to say you’ll read their stuff on principle, but in truth, we mostly read what we’re interested in. I know I’m being overly optimistic when I tell people I’ll read their stuff, so how can I trust others myself? On this issue, I don’t know that I can. I know from a detached perspective that I should be able to write about whatever I want. But that doesn’t erase that slight feeling of wrongness. And honestly, without drastically changing my media consumption habits, I don’t see how I could possibly erase this feeling.

Fortunately, this only bothers me on incredibly rare occasions. Most of the time I don’t think about it because I’m simply not thinking about non-otaku media. But on that rare occasion where it does come up, it doesn’t leave me feeling happy. It feels like there’s no right answer here, and that really sucks. I’m sure I’ll be encouraged to post about that stuff anyway, but it’s not like that’ll actually help my anxiety over the topic. Oh well.


5 thoughts on “Writing Outside My Niche Is Hard

  1. I think just write about what you want to write about. It is good to have a focus because the audience knows what to expect but sometimes those other ideas want to be written about. You never know, it might be the post that brings someone new to your blog who ends up hanging around.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d say I more or less feel the same way when it comes to writing for my own blog.

    Outside of video games, of which I tend to lean towards Anime influenced games and Japanese RPG’s anyway, I struggle to express my passion for anything else but Anime in my writing, and for many of the same reasons as you.

    I’d love to be able to talk about music, mostly because I feel a lot of the stuff I listen to is either heavily misunderstood by the consensus or is just obscure and weird stuff that I feel deserves more attention. But I don’t feel qualified or knowledgeable enough to write about it, nor do I feel my small amount of regular readers would be interested.

    Perhaps one day it’ll be possible to write outside of my own niche. But hey, until then, at least I still have it!

    Great piece!


  3. I feel this every day and while I do go “fuck it”, it’s still frustrating to see them not be as read as other more “anime” articles. But you just have to remember it’s still your personal blog. You aren’t writing for Crunchyroll or Anime News Network, you are writing for yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Not being able to trust others when they claim they’ll read everything you write is rough. I have similar thoughts often.

    But I think you should still write about whatever you want to talk about even if it’s probably not going to draw in your usual audience. That’s just my own opinion, though.


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