This blog has felt like a risk for these past three weeks of its infancy.
I've kept an online journal/blog in some form or another since age 13. The very first was just for my friends, password-protected and filled with useless information about youth symphony and crushes (incidentally, it's still live and really hilarious). The subsequent blogs have been representations of me, but never with my full name, and never anything that was an actual risk - mostly sarcastic essays whenever the mood hit.
But this has my full name on it. I'm using it not only for some admittedly frivolous and materialistic posts, but also as a place for my creative work to live. This is scary. There are many reasons I could randomly decide to stop updating this blog, and they keep popping up in my brain:
- I'm not a real designer
- nothing I do is that interesting or original
- I must be really narcissistic to want praise from the internet
- I'm just trying to be like other people
- I'm not actually creative
None of these things are true. They're just thoughts. When I worry about seeming inauthentic, it's never that I actually think I'm inauthentic - it's a worry that other people will see me that way. That they'll think I'm trying too hard.
Here's the thing about seeming like I'm trying too hard: I am trying. I'm trying to embrace something I have been afraid to exhibit before now. You know what? I like making stuff. I like writing code. It's fun. I like fiddling with colors until they look right to me. As I work on my skills, I'll make some fantastic things. I'll also probably make some boring things, or some hacky things, or some outright insane ones. That's all part of it.
Why do I want to keep a blog, though? Why can't I just muddle through it and not feel compelled to post it online all the time?
I'm of the generation that grew up alongside computers: I remember the first time I saw my friend chat on AIM with another pal who lived blocks away. It's always been a magical medium to me. Every time I do something that Feels Important, I want to document it online.
Some people see this as a problem with my generation: a complete disregard for the value of privacy. I think it's something much better than that, though: a willingness to share. The gall to be open about what you're doing, and hope that someone can relate.
Plus, the internet has really helped me grow my interest in design. Without the hundreds of feeds in my Google Reader, I don't know that I'd feel as confident that I have a good, (perhaps very) basic understanding of things that work. It's fueled my dormant interest in typography and web functionality.
Am I an expert? Of course not.
Is it kind of scary? Yes.
Does this post make me less worried that people will judge me? Not really.
But am I being authentic? Hell yes.