If you’d told me just a few months ago that I’d end up writing for Crunchyroll, I would have laughed in your face. Even now, I still don’t know what I did to deserve it.
This isn’t false modesty speaking. I do have concerns, not with Crunchyroll itself, but with the platform and privilege I have been given. While the editorial team proofreads my articles and offers me feedback, I don’t get fact checked. If I spread inaccurate information through my articles, it would be entirely my own fault. It would be one thing to talk out of my ass on my blog, which I frequently do, but on Crunchyroll, where tens of thousands of people read my articles, the consequences are more serious.
I’m not sure whether the other writers experience this feeling, but for me, it’s been a pressure since day one.
12 Days of Anime
#6 – Writing for Crunchyroll
When I applied for the Crunchyroll features team earlier this year, I talked up my credentials because that’s what you’re supposed to do with job applications. I mentioned my Japanese language skills and academic history, and made out that I was this really knowledgeable person who could offer a unique perspective. Because I sincerely want to live up to the standard I claimed that I was capable of achieving, I don’t really regret what I wrote on the application. It’s given me a goal to work towards. But I can’t shrug off the feeling that I’m lying to people, and that sooner or later, I’ll be caught out as a sham artist and no one will trust what I write anymore.
Let’s start with the insecurities I have about my Japanese skills. I’ve made embarrassing mistakes in my fan translations before, and I can only hope that I’ve committed no horrible sins with my paid commissions. It’s true that I’ve studied Japanese very hard, even after finishing my language degree, but I’ve not lived in Japan long-term and I’m still learning new things about the language every day. No matter how much I immerse myself in the language, I feel my own shortcomings very keenly.
As for my academic history, I don’t feel as if I was a terribly good student. I finished my degree with a High Distinction average, but it was on the low end of a High Distinction, if that makes sense. My grades were good enough to qualify me for Postgrad studies, but I just don’t feel satisfied with it. I don’t even like the honours thesis I wrote very much, and that’s the reason why I never ended up posting it online. I feel like the thesis tried to say too much and lacked a clear focus. I’d certainly write it very differently if I were to redo my honours year today.
It’s embarrassing to express these feelings publicly, because I know that some people do look up to me. It just seems rude to self-deprecate around people who respect me, as if I’m telling them they’re wrong to feel the way they do. That’s why I try to have respect for myself, while having a realistic perspective on what I can currently achieve.
So here’s what I’d like to say to people who read my Crunchyroll articles.
I’m only twenty-two. I’m not an expert of anything I write about. I have a Bachelor’s degree, not a PhD. I don’t live in Japan, and I don’t have insider access to information about the anime industry. Most of what I do know comes from secondary sources and from being friends with people who happen to be much more knowledgeable than I am. If I have a talent, it’s my ability to consistently meet deadlines.
In other words, I finish the things I start, no matter what I feel about them.
On Crunchyroll, I try my best to give representation to topics that often don’t get talked about in the English-language anime fandom. Because I often bite off way more than I can chew, there have been a few times when I have really struggled to write my articles. I’d stay up all night trying to write something insightful, only to realise I know nothing about the topic to begin with. I’d spend hours researching and still not feel confident that I was representing the issue accurately.
But I’ll still get my work done in the end because I’m not trying to write a thesis every week. Like any other fan, I’m just sharing my feelings and observations about something I’m passionate about. If my articles can spark interest in a topic or angle my readers have not considered before, then I’ll have achieved everything I could have hoped for.
In the end, I can only ask that others be critical of my writing, and that they let me know when they see things differently than I do. It’s the only way that I can learn.
“I can only ask that others be critical of my writing, and that they let me know when they see things differently than I do.” – So would you say if someone were to be critical of your writing and let you know when they see things differently to you, you would consider that a favor? Hmmm?
What about if that thing was say around 30K? A light novel that someone spend their entire weekend editing? Hmmm?
The existence of that light novel is something I would prefer to forget, much like my thesis.
But I admire you for reading it anyway.
Wow, ouch. Well, I tried.
This is some well stated introspection. I for one enjoy your writing and I totally understand the feeling of inadequacy in your own writing. I know there are things I’d take back or re-write if I could. I think back to my Masters thesis and how my Master’s project did not end up working with annoyance, partly wishing I could go back, redo the research, and make it work. Yet, in the end, I can’t. It was a moment in time I can not get back.
Anyways – well said and I totally get the feeling. But, know this reader thinks you’re doing very well :)
Thanks very much for the comment! About the thesis, though, even if I don’t want to share the work I did, I honestly don’t regret writing it, because the things I learned along the way have helped me since then. Even if the research didn’t go the way you intended it to, the fact that you took the plunge at all is meaningful, you know? And the fact that you can look back and know with a clear mind what you could have done better means that you’ve grown from the experience. That’s how I like to think of it, at least.
I think its great you expressed your doubts here. If someone told me they had never had any doubts about something, I’d call them foolish. It’s a part of being human. I think it is something we will all feel at some point, some more than others. We aren’t perfect beings, we’re fallen, imperfect creatures. I’m always doubting myself and questioning my abilities but I do my best to keep onward.It’s difficult but I think that makes it that much more worthwhile. And the fact that you admit your feelings and insecurities is great.
You keep doing the best you can and trying to be better. We’re all on a never ending journey of discovery. Keep being your awesome self, Froggy!
Th-thank you! I have to admit, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a person who doesn’t experience doubt. Maybe there are people like that out there and I’m just projecting my own doubts on them, but at the same time, I like seeing people admit when they’re insecure too. I feel happy that I’m not alone. Maybe that’s a selfish feeling, but if admitting my own insecurities can help myself and others, then I don’t mind doing it.
You keep doing your best too!
I feel like much of what you are saying here resonate with imposter syndrome, which is a kind of self doubt whether one actually has the qualifications to hold their positions. This particularly plagues academia. While I understand that self criticism is an important part of the writing process, writing itself is a *process* that you learn and grow from, and I think you write very well. The knowledge and experience you have is very strong, so I hope you feel a bit more confidence in the future.
Thanks! And yes, I’m no stranger to impostor syndrome. I think it’s related to the fact that I’m more prideful and ambitious than I like to politely admit aloud, so I have high standards for myself. Sometimes, I think that’s a good thing. It depends on my mood. Regardless, it means a lot to me when you say that you like my writing!
[…] I started writing for Crunchyroll. […]
I can only imagine the pressure you must feel, writing for such a huge company like Crunchyroll. I’ve tried anime news blogging in the past, but I was terrible, and I gave up eventually. When I blogged about anime, I felt quite pressured and it would consume my whole day. On top of it all, I never made a profit. It was very stressful, and I could see the lack of quality in my writing, so I gave it up. It must be at least ten times more stressful to write for Crunchyroll!
By the way, I’ve never heard of you before. I found you just now by searching on WordPress. I only occasionally read Crunchyroll news these days, but how can I identify you? I’d like to read some of your posts there now. :P
You can read my Crunchyroll articles at http://www.crunchyroll.com/newsfeed/writer/Frog-kun