Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Updates in Blogging (19.04.2020)

*This post was created because I personally felt the need to update you all on some things. Though I feel it's not that necessary a post, I needed an outlet for my thoughts on this blog, its updates and a little more. It's a whole-ass word dump if anything, but it's needed. I apologise for the useless drivel that will ensue, haha.

My last Updates in Blogging was in August 2017.

Sounds about right...

It has been almost three years since I posted one of these, and whilst I'm aware that I have not needed to update you all - because I've kind of neglected this blog, oof - I do think that now is better a time than any to at least give you some small updates, let you know what's going on... etc, etc.

So, let's talk about random things and update you all on what is happening. On the internet and real life, let's talk about a few of the things that have brought me to this point.

Life

Starting off with the harder of the two to talk about, life is currently at a standstill, at least in terms of work, visiting family and travel. With 2020 heading in an unexpected direction, everyone's lives have taken a turn. For many it is rather distressing time to be in, because many people have lost their jobs, others are being overworked to the point of exhaustion, and a lot of us are suffering at the hands of our mental health.

It's a hard time to be in, and whilst I don't necessarily want to talk about everything that's happening in the world, I do think that it is important to acknowledge. The current world issues have truly flipped peoples lives upside down, and we have had to quickly settle in a new routine in which we can hardly mingle with others, and most of us have to work from home or, in my case, not at all.

Now, I have not been fired. I was lucky to be one of many who were furloughed in my country, which ultimately means that I am still employed by my company and will have a job to return to once things go back to the way they were, or close to. This is both a blessing and a curse, because whilst I am delighted to continue working, I was actually ready to leave my job for two reasons: the first was for the sake of my mental health and well being, and the second is because I would have liked to return to University this coming school year.

With how things are right now though, as well as the contracted agreement that I will be working again once restrictions are lifted within the UK, I have no choice but to put my Masters degree on the back burner. It isn't a bad thing, per say - I can instead take this time to consider my options and save a little bit of money for University or travel purposes.

Still, this sudden lock down has come as a blessing in disguise for me. I have not been doing well mentally since August of 2019, and it is in part because of work, and with the new restrictions in place, my line of work being deemed 'unessential' and me now staying at home, I have actually had time to relax and just focus on myself. Sure, it's annoying that I can't talk to my customers or see family members, but I'm honestly surprised by the fact that I have improved a lot in terms of how happy I am. Yeah, I sleep a little too much right now, and there are days where I do nothing, but aside from that, I'm actually doing great. And yeah, I acknowledge that I am one of the lucky few, because not everyone is able to hold themselves together right now.

I thought that I would fall apart. I actually prepared myself for my anxiety to get worse and panic attacks to return, my depression to rear its ugly head... and nothing. I have just felt blissfully at peace, focused on a few hobbies of mine like writing, video editing and even reading manga again, and even began baking every now and again to curve my boredom. Heck, I'm even dancing again, and I chalk it all up to this lock down. It's fantastic.

I'm not one to worry much about world issues - I don't know why, but I've always kind of focused on friends, family, work / school and myself - so I think that this is part of the reason why I haven't had a meltdown as of yet. Another is the fact that I wasn't fired, which I honestly thought I would be. Still, I'm glad that in this trying time I found some solace, even if it hasn't been that easy. I'm still concerned about things like family, friends, money and mental health, of course, but those will always be the things that I am concerned about even when I'm not experiencing a world crisis alongside everyone else in the world.

To put it in a condensed form, I have found solace. I'm fine, but I'm also extremely aware that not everyone is on the same page as me. I just hope that this blows over quickly for those struggling, and I hope that you're all okay. I just want you to be fine, though I know it's hard.

I can't suggest much, but if you have any hobbies that you can focus on, please do just that. Binge a Netflix series, play a game or read and write, draw... whatever. Do something to soothe your soul. If you're schedule oriented, why not try and study something new? We are in a place at the moment where we have all the time in the world, but not enough time to do everything, so prioritise what you want, and try your best to keep occupied. That's all I ask for.

As an extended update on Life: My family are fine, my friends are a little aggravated by what is going on, but they are also fine. I think the one thing I am missing most from normality is travel, but because I was lucky enough to travel in late January and early February this year already, it's not too much of an issue right now. Still, it's a pain in the ass not being able to travel when a majority of your friends live in the Big City, y'know what I mean?

Okay, Life Updated. Now it's time for blogging.

Blogging

To say that I have neglected this blog for almost 2 years is an understatement. In 2018 I blogged less, ceased updating the layout, and rarely changed the banner. I call this period of time my 'blog-life crisis', because I really had no idea what to do when it came to O!MT. Save for the odd review or Year End roundup my favourite music, I really didn't come here often unless I wanted to wallow in self-pity and star at my drafts folder with regret.

To be frank, my mental health played a big part in my lack of updates, and it even got to a point where I stopped writing for Selective Hearing, too. I just had no ambition or motivation in regards to writing, and lacking that motivation to write crushed me emotionally. I don't think my depressive spiral helped that much either, and it only furthered my issues with blogging and keeping O!MT in check.

With the current situation though, I was finally able to sit back and take a hard look at my blog from a new perspective. After seeing it for the first time without the burden of work or the mess within my head clouding my judgement, I finally saw just how bad OMT looked to an outsider. Cluttered, bland and outdated, I finally found the motivation to update it. It's what O!MT needed, but more than anything it was what I needed.

Though it is by no means perfect - and not exactly what I wanted, either - it's still better than it was, and I am pretty happy with the results.

First and foremost, the theme, layout and colour palette have been updated. In terms of the theme and layout there has been no drastic change, however I am fairly limited in my options with Blogger's interface. I was adamant to keep using a banner, so whilst the theme I initially had in mind for O!MT's update was pretty different to the ones I have used in the past, it quickly became apparent that it would be inefficient for what I wanted. Still, I may play around with that specific theme and its layout one day, but for now I am happy enough with what I have right now.

After a lot of consideration and a few changes, my final decision was to go with the theme Picture Window. Prior to this I would use the Simple or Ethereal themes.

The reason I chose Picture Window actually had a lot to do with the rounded corners of main blog pages, and how the tabs for the individual pages look. I really like them.

In terms of colour, I just went with blue. I always seem to gravitate towards green and blue when it comes to colour, though my original plan was to have a blog that was black and white. I wanted the blog pages to be black, the font white, and to basically have a really cool and chic look that is completely not this sites style. I eventually realised that this wouldn't work when I was playing around with the themes and colour palette because, whilst I do love sleek and cool websites with a black, white and gray design, it's not my style as a blogger or a person.

So I decided to make my blog white, but after seeing it in a preview, I just couldn't. In the end I went with a trusty blue colour, though I will be honest with you all and admit that I nearly went for a light yellow. I just like bright, refreshing colours, y'all.

In terms of its layout, I simply cleared it up. I have pretty much obliterated my blog roll, deleted a few widgets, and kept only one column of the two I had filled with useless stuff like contact forms, my Twitter feed (which didn't even work), and whatever else. I also deleted a page, though it will probably be replaced down the line - I have a certain page I want to include for Idol Introductions, but for now I will keep it at my introduction, as well as the contact info and affiliated links.

Seeing the blog like this now makes me feel much better though. It feels brighter, cleaner and a lot better overall. I'm happy with it.

As I was doing all of this, I was also creating O!MT's first proper logo. It was kind of random to say the least, mostly because I was high on pepsi and a lack of sleep at that point, but for some reason it seemed like the right time to have a change and bring a new logo into it. I mean, I'm happy I did and all - I really like the logo, after all - but it was a bit of a whirlwind process, to say the least.

The initial design
My initial design actually reflected my desire to create a cool and chic look for the blog, and whilst I liked what this simple design offered, it also bothered me: the O and T were not central in the image, and it threw everything off balance. So I messed around with the fonts for a bit, attempted a lightning bolt design that really didn't look good, and moved the letters around so that they overlapped each other...

And I just really liked the design. Sure, the current logo looks rather cult-ish when it's in black and white, but with the addition of colour it is so freakin' cute, and I couldn't be happier with it. I am honestly proud of my logo, though slightly annoyed that it took me this long to create it (ha). Still, it came just in time for O!MT's 10th Anniversary this November. Woohoo~

In other updates, I think that I am going to try and focus on music reviews and Group / Idol Introductions for the time being. I know that for a long time the key identity of O!MT was my PV reviews, and whilst I do want to continue doing them from time to time, I can't deny that my focus has shifted. I love PV reviews, I always will, but as a writer and reviewer I have grown and found my voice with the music side, and it's that aspect of my writing that I want to expand on right now. Thankfully my focus on visuals is still prevalent on my YouTube channel, so I have decided to keep O!MT as a place for music reviews and a little more.

Still, I'm not against PV Reviews on here. They will happen every now and again, but will no longer be a prominent feature on the blog.

With the introduction posts, I want to try and get a few more out this year. I really love doing things like that, so giving that a bigger focus will be a source of fun for me. I have a few groups / Idols in mind at the moment, and hope that I can commit to finishing the posts up in due time.

If anything, I simply hope that I can I keep up with blogging this year. I would love to get over 50 posts this year, but it all depends on me at the end of the day. With this year being my blogs 10th anniversary though, I really do want to try my best and get more posts out. It's important to me, and whilst I was pretty sure I wouldn't reach this point with O!MT because of the past three years of neglect, I'm glad that I am still here and escaping to my blog when I need it the most.

Anyway, I think that's all for now. Hopefully everyone is doing all they can to keep busy, and I hope you are well. Please continue to love your idols, stay safe and happy, and remember to stay at home when you don't need to go out.

Thank you all, and please have a good day.
Chiima~

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