Creating is an inherently vulnerable process. It’s impossible to create good things without pouring a little bit of yourself into each creation. Believe me, I’ve tried.
It would be so much easier if I could separate myself from my work… but when I’m holding myself back and protecting myself, I’m not able to write from my heart. If I can’t throw myself “all in,” I can’t produce worthwhile art.
By creating things, you open yourself up to all sorts of hurt and pain at the whim of others. Keeping this blog has made me stronger in a lot of ways… but I’ve also lost quite a bit of innocence.
I can’t imagine what my life would have been like, if I hadn’t started this blog. That sounds dramatic, but really, running “Texan in Tokyo” has completely changed my life. I’m approaching year three of blogging.
I started this blog in August 2012, when I was doing my junior year abroad in Tokyo. There’s a lot of things I wish I had done differently (like seriously, so many things) – but I’m glad I stuck with it. This blog landed me my first paid writing gig (at Tokyo Cheapo) and first internship at a start-up company in Shibuya. I met someone who introduced me to the company while I was downtown, taking pictures for a blog post I wanted to write.
Now I’m fully self-employed. I write for a couple magazines and a couple blogs. I’ve published two comic books and am started on my third. I’ve been on Japanese TV half a dozen times (and am actually going down to the studio tomorrow for another filming).
None of this would have been possible without my blog.
But blogging about your life isn’t just “happy flowers.” There is a very real emotional cost (as I talked about in this post). I’ve also noticed that the longer I’ve been doing this, the harder it is to be creative and vulnerable.
It used to be that when I wrote something, all I thought about was “how can I help someone?” When I drew comics, all I thought was “how can I make someone laugh?”
Now I wonder “who might possibly take offense at this…?” or “Is there a better way to say that?” or “Is this safe to write?” Before I write/draw something, I need to be able to defend it to the ends of the earth.
And, of course, be able to stomach the inevitable criticism from both sides of any argument (“You’re being too soft on issue X” / “You’re being WAY too hard on issue X”).
I want to create beautiful things. I love being a creative. I love being able to spend all day drawing comics, writing articles, and editing/shooting videos… but don’t want to be vulnerable.
Too bad I haven’t found a way to have one without the other.