Have you had a recent existential crisis that made you question your purpose in doing anything, including this challenge?

Been thinking the last few days during this summer heat about my own purpose doing this writing challenge. Perhaps the heat is getting to me and making me pessimistic (ha ha no, pessimist by nature) but this challenge makes me question why I’m doing this thing. Perhaps there is room for self-improvement or good discussion, maybe there’s some writing samples I can use, or perhaps I’m just shouting into the void at the end of the world.

Self improvement?

Probably the biggest reason I chose to do this challenge was to push myself and commit to and finish something. When it comes to creative pursuits, I start a lot of things but over time will eventually lose interest and start something else in its stead. As a result, I have at least 5 personal projects going on at anytime. This isn’t counting ideas that I have, of which there are many.

However, because I know that I have too many dishes cooking on the stove top, I’ve been trying to stop myself from starting new projects until I finish current ones. I guess it’s sort of working. Since this writing challenge is another creative pursuit, I have to finish it or be damned to never finish anything again.

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I’m also using this as a chance to improve my writing skills - they’re quite rusty since...forever as I’m not a writer to begin with. However, I would hope that having a greater quantity of writing will help me improve.

I’m able to definitely state that I’m looking to change how I will be writing future anime reviews - my initial write ups were primarily recaps with a few observations, but I personally found it to be super unfulfilling since a recap is a recap, it doesn’t introduce anything new. So for next season (starting in a couple of weeks) I’ll be looking at writing more about the animation quality and music, along with how the storytelling has been going (alongside a small synopsis of what goes on in the episode of course).

Writing samples?

One thing I’ve wanted to do in the last couple of years is do reviews for an outlet - except I have no writing samples to my name. The challenge is great in this regard, since I’m slowly trying to improve my writing and (maybe) apply for any gigs in the future. Of course, I wouldn’t be the only persona applying for said gigs, and unfortunately I feel that my writing quality would be far weaker than others. Of course, there’s no way to know anything until it’s been tried, so that’s something to keep in mind in the future.

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Good forum discussion?

One thing that the challenge has been great for is the exposure to different walks of life and reading about different opinions. Being in an echo chamber is not good for...much of anything really, considering the opinions you hear are either your own or ones similar to your own stance. Exposure to other opinions is needed for growth in thinking. So that has been a great boon to the challenge and one I’m not complaining about.

However, how different are our opinions to each other? The TAY community is really friendly, but being so dang friendly also gives me the feeling of the echo chamber effect - we’re all just patting ourselves (and each other) on the back for our writing. We do have different opinions, but are they so different that we can learn more about opinions diametrically opposed to our own? Maybe, maybe not (side note: I have an idea for an article about why seeking out sympathetic or relatable characters is almost anti-thetical to personal growth, so I hope that’ll generate of an interesting discussion). Yes, there are articles that have the author writing about some personal insight and that is fantastic - however are our individual opinions so different from others, or are we just validating who we are through confirmation of similar tastes?

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Shouting pointlessly at the end of the world

Basically the echo chamber effect, except the only person in the chamber is myself. Writing is fine in and of itself and surely someone is reading what we all put out. Except sometimes it feels like I’m writing only for myself to re-read what I wrote. Sure, there’s something to be said for having a record of writing samples for a future, except I am certain I won’t be pursuing writing as a career for myself, it’s just not something I can keep up going forward (maybe a side, part time gig if I’m lucky). However, if I’m just writing for myself to re-read, isn’t that just me reinforcing my own beliefs and opinions?

On that note, is there such a thing as a bad or good opinion? The overwhelming majority would probably say yes, just as the overwhelming majority would probably oppose the adage that “there’s no such thing as a bad/stupid question.” However, I disagree with this sentiment. Using the adage of “no such thing as a bad/stupid questions” as a base, how can we say that someone is asking a bad/stupid question if they genuinely do not know the answer? Only through first-hand experience (which can be risky) or asking can said person find an answer, to which they add to their knowledge base and need not ask the same question again (unless they have cognitive issues). From this, it is possible to state that there are very few “bad opinions”,* only opinions which veer from fundamental truths (of which we perhaps can never know) and get labeled as being “good” or “bad” by societal values. Most importantly, opinions can change, just as people can change, however it is harder for change to occur if a person is attacked by having their opinion as “bad.” As such, I posit that opinions maybe “misguided” and people having such “misguided” opinions can also change their way of thinking given in the right impetus. [side note: wow did that sound like grade 12 philosophy. On that note, I highly recommend reading this article about a man named Daryl Davis convincing KKK members to quit the Klan and change their way of thinking].

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Final thoughts

I read someone state that quality versus quantity is always better for writing. That maybe true, but to get higher quality, sometimes you need to first have quantity to refine how you write. The ol’ “got to break a few eggs to make an omelette” adage. Thanks for reading fellow SixTAY Day Challenger. Have you had a recent existential crisis that made you question your purpose in doing anything, including this challenge? How’s the weather where you are? Which came first: chicken or the egg?**

*Oh there are bad opinions alright: they’re the ones held by those seeking to bring harms to others. Similarly, bad/stupid questions are those asked by people that already know the answer, but they ask anyway to be a smart ass /waste people’s time.

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**Stupid question alert. Egg came first because for life to survive on land after coming from the sea, life had to develop a way for developing embryos to survive outside of the water but maintain an aqueous environment - hence the calcified shell of the egg. Rambling done.