Category Archives: Happiness Project Reflection

Happiness Project Reflection 9: Was It Worth It?


Hey guys!

How was your week?  I hope you’ve been enjoying summer wherever you are.

Here in Seattle, it’s been sunny and beautiful.  My husband’s away for work most of the month, so I’ve been taking over taking care of our veggie gardens.  Some things in our gardens are growing like crazy (thumbs up to beans, eggplants, and cucumbers) and some not so much (thumbs down to tomatoes and zucchinis… Sadface.)


So I had a full week since I quit my day job last week.  I can tell that it will take a long time to mentally transition to my new life 100%.  I can still feel the anxiety of “What am I doing at home?? Shouldn’t I be in the office?” from time to time.  I just take a deep breath and try to let it roll.


One thing I did to start off my new artist life on the right foot was I went on a mini solo retreat over on Whidbey Island for a couple of days.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, guys.

This is where I stayed. So peaceful and beautiful <3
This is where I stayed. So peaceful and beautiful ❤

There is a saying in Japan that loosely translates to “When in hurry, take the long way.”  I was overwhelmed with all of my “to-dos” in my head and didn’t know where to start.  Although it didn’t feel “productive” to sit and think for two days, it was exactly what I needed.  I’ll write more about my solo retreat on my blog next week 🙂  There is so much to share!

Today’s post is the last of my Happiness Project Reflection series I’ve been writing about various learning moments that happened while creating art about happiness every day for 365 days.  But I don’t feel like I’ve properly acknowledged how awesome it is that I accomplished the big goal I set for myself.


So today, I want to celebrate it by sharing the highlights of my growth and some opportunities that came out of my 365 Day Happiness Project!

You ready?  Here goes.

These are the highlights of what I’ve gained internally.  They’re powerful because these are things I will keep forever and will tap into in my creative journey ahead.

  1. I gained more confidence as an artist. 
    This one is big for me.  I’ve talked about it here often, but I’ve always felt insecure about my art.  It’s wonky and child-like.  But through the project, I’ve heard from so many people who appreciated the unique voice I added to the world by providing art that was mine.  I also heard from people that it gave them the confidence because they made art that was also kinda wonky.
  2. I’ve developed a discipline to keep a consistent creative practice every day.
    I rediscovered my love for art as an adult after not engaging in any sort of art activities for many years.  I would draw or paint when I felt like it but realized I needed a more consistent practice if I wanted to make a living by doing art.   By making a public commitment that I will be making and posting art every day for 365 days, I created an accountability measure for myself.  It really helped.  It helped create a habit to create every day.  Even though my daily project has been over for several months, I still make time to make art for myself every day no matter how busy it is.  It’s like workout – you just miss it if you stopped going even though working out is not always fun!
  3. I’ve deepened my artistic style.
    I talked about this in this post, but consistent daily practice is the most effective way to establish and deepen your artistic style.  You probably already have a style (or styles) you’re drawn towards – daily practice will give you many opportunities to find inspiration and hone in on your signature style.
  4. I’ve used art as a tool for healing.
    I knew art has many many intangible effects, but I experienced its healing power when I lost my kitty.  You can read more about the experience here.
  5. I took a risk every day by putting myself out there.
    I think this is reason enough for a celebration.  I don’t enjoy being vulnerable in public.  But I knew I had to get used to it if I wanted to become a successful artist.  It does get easier – after a while, being afraid of faceless/nameless haters gets old.  You learn to focus your energy on what’s helping you accomplish your goals, rather than what’s holding you back.
  6. I learned art is my passion and is worth pursuing with all of my heart.
    This is an interesting one.  I knew I liked drawing and wanted to pursue it.  But through the project, I really knew I was passionate about it.  I experienced how art feeds my heart and soul, and I experienced it on a regular basis.  It made me realize how much I wanted to experience that even more every day and that I needed to do whatever I could to pursue it.
  7. I learned hard work pays off.
    This is another big one.  I’ve heard many times “You work hard and put yourself out there, and the results will follow.”  But I didn’t know if or how it was going to happen for me.  This project has opened many doors for me as an artist in a way I didn’t expect to.  I’m a believer now 🙂

And, I’ve had other more tangible results as well!   Here are some:

  1. I have 365 new illustration pieces I didn’t have before.
    I mean, sort of duh, but I still think it’s splendid that I created 365 pieces of joy that didn’t exit before.  I may have mentioned before that I want to turn some of them into prints – I haven’t gotten to it yet, but it’s moving forward, so stay tuned for an announcement!
  2. I/my project was featured in a presentation my hero Lisa Congdon gave in Portland, OR.
    Lisa is one of my art heroes.  Her work  and the ways she approaches her work and life really resonate with me.  I talked about how Lisa’s daily projects inspired me to start my own in this post.  She was looking for people to submit their sketchbook project to include in one of her presentations, and I sent her my Happiness Project.  I was so honored when she said she’d include my project in her talk!!  I admit it: I’m a total fan girl – I was walking on clouds when she introduced my work as “her favorite” during her talk ❤  It was never my goal (and it still isn’t) to get a recognition from my heroes, but I was lucky enough to get it from someone I admired so much.  It was even sweeter because she was the reason why I started the project.  We remain friends, and she keeps inspiring me ❤
  3. I have 4 art shows this year, compared to 0 last year.
    Having an art show was a secret dream of mine this year.  I can’t remember why it was a secret 🙂 but it wasn’t something I was pursuing very hard either.  But after the Happiness Project finished, I had so many art pieces and felt they needed to be seen by more people.   So every chance I get, I was asking people if I could have a show.  Although it may feel awkward, you really need to ask for it if you want something.  You never know if someone is looking for exactly what you have to offer!  By asking for a show, I got 4 shows at local cafes and a restaurant!  They’re pretty low-key, low-pressure venues which is perfect to get my feet wet.  I just ended a show at a super cute cafe, Columbia City Bakery, in my neighborhood in July and received very positive reviews.  The coordinator has asked me to contact her again when I have new pieces to show 🙂

    Me and my mom at the show <3
    Me and my mom at the show ❤
  4. I received a generous care package from Sakura of America.
    You may know Sakura of America as a company who makes Micron pens, which I’ve used many of to draw.  They have been following me on Instagram since the Happiness project and asked if I wanted a care package from them!  I immediately said YES.  A few days later, I received a box full of beautiful pens, markers, and paints to play with.  What a wonderful surprise!  I’ve been having lots of fun creating with the new drawing supplies I received from them.  (My title illustration for today was created using their Koi Brush Pens.)  Sounds like I may be one of their guest Instagram posters in the future (in 2016) and may also be creating some tutorial videos for them.  Stay tuned!

    I even decorated pen holders using the new markers & pens <3
    I even decorated pen holders using the new markers & pens ❤
  5. It gave me at least 10 blog posts!
    It helped me tremendously to kick off my goal of publishing weekly blog posts.  I think of more things to write about the more I write, so I’m sure there will be more posts related to my experience from this project! 🙂
  6. As of today, I’ve brought in twice more $$ in sales and commission work this year than the entire year of 2014. 
    Granted it is not a lot of money at all (I would share the real number if it was more!) but still something to celebrate about!!  Woo hoo!  Growth is good even if it’s small.
  7. I’ve created communities that support and value my work.
    I wrote about how relationships are what fuel me to create and grow in this post.  And it’s really true.  My communities are continuing to grow, and I get so much encouragement and inspiration from them.  It is definitely the best thing I’ve gotten out of this project!!

When I started the project, I didn’t know what to expect.  I didn’t know if I would finish it or if anyone would care.  Yet I gained so much from it.  Much more than I’d ever expected.

They might be small wins but it means so much to me.  It tells me there will be more exciting opportunities for me as I continue to work hard and keep sharing what I have to offer.  I mean, imagine what I can accomplish now that I don’t have a day job to go to?  I want to squeal and do a lap around the apartment when I think of all the things I want to work on!!

Sure I’ve lost some sleep and fun social time, and that’s not to be taken lightly.  But was it worth it?  Absolutely.

Have you been working on any daily/weekly/monthly project?  Tell me about it in the comment!

p.s. This month, I’m working on a Daily Sketch Project with my fellow illustrator Janine Crum.  Check out my and other peeps’ daily sketch on Instagram hashtag #MakeWithMe.

p.s. 2 – Have you signed up for my e-newsletter yet?  I just sent out my first one and have been hearing very positive feedback about it 🙂  Join me here

Thank you guys!  It’s been a pleasure having  you in my community 🙂

xoxo Yuko



Happiness Project Reflection 8: Nothing Good Happens When You Compare Yourself with Strangers on the Internet


Hey guys!

Happy August!  As I shared a couple of weeks ago, I quit my regular day job this past Thursday!  WOO HOO!  I’d worked for the organization for almost 15 years…  I know, LONG TIME.  It’s one of the biggest life transitions I’ve ever experienced, and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I don’t work there any more.  I’ll share more about it in my future blog posts!!

OK, so, I have a confession to make.  When I set a goal of publishing a new blog post every Sunday, I had also planned on having at least 3 posts in a queue.  I wanted to make sure I can consistently post every week.  It would have been better to have more in a queue, but 3 was all I could manage before I published my first post.  I was consistently writing 1-2 posts per week on my days off from my day job so I could stay ahead.

And then July happened.   July was such a whirlwind!  I gave my notice at my day job at the end of June.  My organization was going through many transitions already, so as their HR Manager, I was already pretty busy.  Add my own transition to that mix.  It got pretty overwhelming pretty quick.

My mom was also visiting from Japan during that time.  Granted she was not staying with us, I spent a good chunk of time with her for two weeks playing tour guide and an interpreter.

Gorgeous view from the Vista House in Columbia River Gorge, OR
Gorgeous view from the Vista House in Columbia River Gorge, OR. My mom and I took a weekend trip to Oregon.

Let me just say my mom is a very sweet lady.   Since we live so far apart, we don’t get to see each other very often.  And though I really appreciate spending time with her, it does get a little tiring to hang out with your parent for an extended time.

Between work craziness and mom’s visit, I was swamped.  My stress level got pretty high, and I was feeling drained.  I had a custom illustration deadline as well on top of that.  And an art show.  My plate was pretty full!

When I’m under stress, I revert back to what’s more comfortable and familiar.  It takes more energy to stretch and go out of your comfort zone when you’re stressed.

This is how I felt most of the month...
This is how I felt most of the month…

Writing requires more focus and energy from me than, say, drawing.  Although I’m getting better at it as I write more regularly, it is a muscle and I need to be intentionally using that muscle to keep getting better.

I got behind on my writing commitment in July.  My blog was still being published every Sunday, but I wasn’t adding anything new to the queue.  I was dipping into my “savings” if you will.  It didn’t feel good, and I was getting anxious.  I had a little voice telling me all kinds of “shoulds” – “I know you are tired, but you should stay up and write.” or “you should say no to hanging out with your mom today.  You haven’t written any blog posts this week!”

It was a lose-lose situation.  Eventually, I was able to see that my priority was to enjoy my time with mom and to be present at my job.  After all, I had built up the reserve for situations like this.  I made peace with the fact that I wasn’t writing as regularly as I wanted and let it go.

Let it go so you can grow!

So I’m finishing up this post a day before it’s scheduled to be published.  I’m happy it will go out at the regular time.  I will be upping my writing goals for a while until I have extra posts in my queue again.  A word of advice for anyone wanting to start publishing blogs regularly – have a bunch in a queue before you start publishing 🙂

Thank you for letting me share that – I think it’s important to share the challenges as well as successes.  It’s never an easy road all the time.  And if it is, you’re probably not growing or learning very much.

So, let’s get back to our Happiness Project Reflection blog series, shall we?  This is our 8th post in the series of 9.  I hope you’re getting some value out of these 🙂

Today I want to talk about a common disease called “Comparing Yourself with Strangers on the Internet Syndrome.”  Does it sound familiar?  Maybe you’ve gotten the diagnosis before.  Don’t worry, you’re not weird if you got it.  Study shows that majority of people who have access to the internet get it at some point in their lives.  (Note: OK, I don’t know about a study, but I’m sure it’s accurate.)

Symptoms include, but not limited to:

  • Consistently spending more time than you had planned on the internet oogling beautiful images other people put out in the name of “research” or to find an “inspiration.”
  • Feeling inspired by those beautiful images at first and then start wondering why your work doesn’t look like that.
  • Feeling small because you don’t have as many followers and cool client list and a book deal.
  • Feeling depressed and anxious that you’re never gonna make it.  Also feeling down because you know you should be making your own things but now wasted hours oogling other people’s stuff online.
  • Continuing to click to see more stuff because you don’t think it’s gonna make any difference if you stop now.

Hey, I’ve been there, too.  It is so easy to do especially if you can’t find a motivation or inspiration to create.

People you admire on the internet seem to have everything together, always putting out awesome work and working with fabulous clients, right?  You think, gosh, they’re so talented.  They must’ve been discovered by a high-power art director one day, and work keeps coming in just like that.  And they have nice hair and work in a beautiful, minimalist art studio filled with plenty of natural light.  It seems like just a luck of the draw.  What chance do I have?

But is it really just a luck of the draw?

I’ve read, listened to, and talked to many artists who I consider very successful to know that “overnight success” happens to only a few people.  Yes natural talent gives advantages to people, but it’s not a guarantee for success in and of itself.  Just like any other skills, you need to practice, work hard, and persist to take your creative skills and business to the next level.

For instance, I’ve been admiring and following the works of Sean McCabe and Lisa Congdon for a while now.  They’re both prolific with their creation and business and commercially very successful.  Neither of them went to an art school or business school to learn what they do.  And they didn’t get “discovered” and became famous overnight.  They followed their passion and worked very, very, very hard for many years before anyone knew who they were.

I remember in one of her interviews Lisa was talking about how people thought she was this overnight success, but it was just that not many people knew who she was for several years before she had her initial success as an artist in 2008 although he was already putting out her work consistently.

One of the statistics Sean shared during this podcast episode resonated with me very much:

The best work of composers was after their 10th year: 497 of the 500 most popular symphonies were made after the composer’s 10th year of work.


When you’re oogling other people’s work and feeling depressed, you’re likely looking at a body of work of someone who had been putting many hours of practice and reached a level you haven’t reached yet.  It doesn’t mean they haven’t been where you are before.  It is likely that they weren’t very good when they started out. It means that they didn’t stop creating when nobody noticed their work.  Potentially for a very long time.

My 365 Day Happiness Project gave me a structure to create every day for a year.   Some days, I struggled to find the inspiration to draw.  I’ve been sucked into the unproductive, self-loathing internet hell many times.

But I continued creating because I had to.  I did it because I told people I was going to do it and didn’t want to be a flake.  Inspiration or not, I needed to put my work out there every day.   Every day, I had to make a choice: Do I waste hours not reaching my goal, or do I conjure up the energy to do one thing to help me become a better artist?


Because I had to squeeze in my art time around my day job, I also needed to be practical.  I had many days where I stayed up until 11 or 12 to work on my drawing because I spent more time than I should clicking away and looking at other people’s work.  I don’t function very well without a good night sleep, so that taught me a lesson to make the right choice.

If you’re struggling with the “Comparing Yourself with Strangers on the Internet Syndrome,” these tips may help:

  • Try to remember that everyone starts somewhere.  While it’s OK to admire the works of the masters, know that they probably started somewhere similar to where you are and got where they are by working hard for a long time without a significant recognition.
  • Also remind yourself that you don’t know everything other people go through to become successful.  Making assumptions or feeling jealous of other people’s situations do not help you reach your goals.
  • Instead, compare where you are now to where you were a year ago.  3 years ago.  Or 5 years ago.  How did you improve?  How much time and energy have you been spending practicing your skills?
  • Create a time in your day to focus.  A lot of people do 30-minute or even 15-minute drawing a day.  Set a timer.  Put your cell phone in the airplane mode.  Turn off your push notifications and close your internet browser tabs.  Arrange with your family so they know this is your alone focused time.
  • When you notice you’re comparing yourself with others and feeling bad, take a breath.  There is nothing wrong with being self-reflective and wanting to improve.  But if it’s keeping you from creating your own thing and appreciating it, then it’s not helping you.  It may help to jot down positive things you or others have said about your work so you can come back to it whenever you need a little encouragement.

I hope this post was helpful to you.  I still struggle with this and think it comes and goes for many people too.

My next blog will be the last of the Happiness Project Reflection series!  I want to sum up the benefits and share all the great things that have come out of the project 🙂  Stay tuned!

I will be slowly adjusting to my new life as a full-time artist (!!) in the next few months to come.  I want to document my processes as much as I can so I can share with you my challenges and successes.  If you’re hoping to quit your day job (or significantly reduce the hours) and pursue your passion full-time some day, follow along  🙂

And don’t forget to sign up for my new e-newsletter here!  I have many exciting news to share and would love for you to hear it ❤


Thank you for reading!! Have a wonderful week!

xoxo  Yuko



Happiness Project Reflection 7: It’s All About the Relationships

relationoships_loresGood morning!

My 365 Day Happiness Project Reflection blog series have already reached #7!  Wow!  I’ve got two more to share after this, so hang tight 🙂

I love building relationships.  I thrive on relationships.  I like thinking about them and talking about them.  I’m not only talking about romantic relationships but all kinds of relationships.  Friends, family, co-workers, neighbors etc.  There is something very magical about how humans connect with one another.  You meet someone, get to know each other, and create a space for this person in your life.  I just find it so fascinating!


One of the BEST THINGS that came out of my 365 Day Happiness Project was I got to connect with so many new people who like what I do.   Some of them are locals, and many live all over the world.  I’ve been lucky enough to connect with some of my heroes through the project, too, which would have been almost impossible if it wasn’t for the internet!  There are many things I wish could be different about social media, but one definite positive is now someone like me could reach a much wider audience with a click of a button.

For the last year or so, I’ve been focusing on relationship building a lot, especially with my art/illustration business.  Why?  Because having a positive and meaningful relationship with people who support your work has many benefits even though some of them may not be visible.

I used to accept compliments from my family and friends very reluctantly when they told me they liked my work. Because, well, they are my family and friends.  They wouldn’t tell me even if they think my work is crap, would they?  I’d tell myself they’re saying that to be “nice.”  They don’t want to hurt my feelings.  In my head, I decided they don’t really think my work is that great.  They buy my stuff because they want to support me as a person, not because they really want my stuff.  Sound familiar?

As I put myself out there more and more lately, though, I’ve been feeling a little bit different about it.  The truth is, your friends who support your work are the best kind of audience you can ask for.  You want to surround yourself with people who like and care about you as a person.  They care about you personally and want you to succeed!  They do think your work is great because you made them.  They encourage you and appreciate you.  How could you not want them as your audience??


One obvious benefit of having a good relationship with your audience is you build trust.  And why is trust important? It is because customers buy from people they trust.  As someone who’s trying to make a living from selling services and products, it is super important to me that I earn the trust of my audience.

I often see on my neighborhood Facebook page people asking others “Do you know a trustworthy car mechanic?” or “I’m looking for a realtor.  Who do you recommend?” You can compare and read hundreds of reviews on services and products online before buying anything.  I totally follow this pattern myself and buy services and products from people I know and trust or recommended by people I trust.  I know their work is good, and I don’t have to worry about them taking advantage of me!

Just like your family and friends, your audience who like and trust you as a person can be your powerful personal brand ambassadors.  And that is so cool!!


So, how do you build trust?

In order for the relationship to develop organically, you can’t just show up when you need something from them or treat them like a dollar sign.  When you put out quality work consistently as a down-to-earth, real person  and treat them with respect, people will start trusting you.

I’d like to view my relationship-building work like gardening.  You tend the soil, sow seeds, and nurture them.  Some seeds will sprout and give you nourishment.  Some will never sprout because the condition wasn’t right, or the seeds weren’t viable.  Sometimes it takes years for it to bear fruits.  Some plants will self-seed and keep coming back year after another.  Failed crop doesn’t necessarily mean you will never succeed.  It’s an opportunity to learn and try something new next time.


Relationship-building takes time, energy, and skills.  It can be discouraging when you don’t seem to get anything in return from your effort immediately in the form of increased sales, for example.  But don’t underestimate the value of intangible benefits.  People telling me how much they love my work and how my work inspires them are worth more than gold to me.

Words of appreciation and encouragement are my number one Love Language, and I will keep making and sharing art even if I never made a dime as long as someone tells me my art has made their world a little bit better.

Fear not, though, because if you’re putting out quality work consistently and treating your audience with respect and kindness, you will see results.  My daily art practice has helped me to grow my audience, and many doors have opened for me since then.  I can only imagine more opportunities coming in as I quit my day job and focus more time and energy on my art business this summer!!!  Woo hoo!

Here are a few things I’ve been doing to build a positive relationship with my audience:

1) Engage with my audience on different social media platforms  i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and my blog.  I like to respond to all the comments and questions I receive as quickly as possible because I appreciate them taking the time to say something nice or ask questions!  It always feels so nice when people I admire and follow respond to me.

2) Share my life and what I know with my audience.  This is something new I’m trying with my weekly blog posts.  I want to share different parts of my life with my audience through my writing.  I’m intentional about what to share – I don’t want to talk about myself just for the sake of talking (plus that is not something I enjoy anyway…).  I want my sharing to have a purpose.  I want to inspire and motivate people to pursue their dreams by sharing my successes and challenges.

3) Send special mini blogs to my monthly art subscribers.  I’m not sure if you know I sell some of my art products through my Etsy shop.  This year I started a Gift of Happiness art subscription service where people can receive a new product from me every month.  Because I appreciate their support so much, I send them a special blog telling stories and processes about each product every month.  I also send them hand-written notes and postcards occasionally to say hi 🙂  I offer a 6-month subscription as well in case you’re interested in joining the club for the second half of the 2015!

4) Send a personalized hand-written note to my customers.  This is similar to my point above, but when I send out my orders to customers physically, I put a personalized hand-written note thanking them.  It’s a small thing, but I want to add a little personal touch.

My following is still pretty small, so I’m seizing this golden opportunity to pay close attention to every and each person who wants to engage with me.  As my audience grow over time, it will be more challenging, but I will do my best to show my appreciation and engage with them as much as I can.

First and foremost, I make art because it feeds my heart and soul.  But my journey is much more enjoyable and rewarding because of the relationships I have with people like you.  THANK YOU for following along on my adventure!!


Besides reading my blog and saying nice things (which I appreciate SO MUCH), you can also support me by signing up for my e-newsletter!  As my blog becomes more process and self-help orientated, I decided to start an e-newsletter as a primary way to let you know about events, products, and services.  If you don’t want to miss out on exciting new opportunities, be sure to sign up!


I’ll be talking about how to overcome a common disease know as “Comparing Yourself with Strangers on the Internet Syndrome” on my Happiness Project Reflection blog post next Sunday.  See you then!

xoxo Yuko







Happiness Project Reflection 6: Practice Makes Perfect?


Hello friends!  I hope you’re doing well.

By the time this blog post comes out, I will have told everyone I know that I’m quitting my day job at the end of July!!!  It’s super scary and exciting.  I’m taking a break from having a regular job so I can devote more time and energy into pushing my art/illustration career forward for a while.  I will write more about my exciting life change later in another blog post! Stay tuned!  It’s a HUGE change, believe me!

Now back to our regular programming 🙂

Today I’m reflecting on the concept of “practice makes perfect.”  I mentioned on my Why I Want to Write Regularly post that I set a goal to write regularly because I’ve never felt writing was my thing.  It takes me a long time to put my thoughts on a paper in a coherent and compelling way.  In order for me to feel comfortable putting something in the world, I need to be able to formulate my thoughts, analyze it  and organize it.  Over and over.

One of the many benefits of doing the 365 Day Happiness Project was I forced myself to draw something every day.  Before that, I drew occasionally.  I would draw when I had specific projects to work on and then get busy with other things in my life.   I knew that wasn’t a good practice if I wanted to be a working artist/illustrator.  How would I know if I like having a career in art if I didn’t know what it’s like to draw every day all the time?

I also mentioned in my Your Imperfections are OK post that you may never feel your work is “100% perfect” no matter how much you practice.  You will get better, though, and you will find your voice or your “style” through consistent practice.  In fact, it may be the only way to get better and develop your own style.

In the beginning of my 365 Day Happiness Project, I would sketch in pencil first and then trace it with pen because I was afraid to make a mistake.  I was also trying different styles of hand-lettering and writing too.   I would create the lettering separately, scan in both the drawing and lettering, digitally color them in, and make one picture to post.  Sometimes I would use a drawing pad to write my words.

I made these drawings using this method:



I quickly became tired of how very time-consuming it was, and so I began experimenting with just drawing with pen without first sketching with pencil.  It was scary at first.  My drawings were already kinda wonky, so it didn’t make a big difference in the quality.  But I grew to like how relaxed and organic everything looked.  Not to mention time-saving!  Well, except for when I couldn’t get something right and had to draw over and over… :p

These are examples of pen drawings from the early days:


I use Pigma Micron pens in case you’re wondering.

You might notice that I was much more experimental with my hand lettering in my early days.  I wanted fancy hand-lettering to be my “thing.”  I took a hand-lettering e-course by Seanwes and drooled over many fancy hand-lettered pieces on the internet.  Although I still love beautiful hand-lettered pieces and try a few different styles now and then, I settled on these very casual hand-writing/lettering styles.  I think it works well with my overall style.

tortilla-chips_web lilacs_web


I still just draw with a pen or a paint brush for many of my works.  I love that that’s my style.  It’s not “perfect” but it is “me”.  Simple, relaxed, and friendly.  Just the way I want you to feel when you see my art!

I’m going to say this again.  Don’t worry about becoming “perfect“: It is a dangerous trap for many of us.  What you want to see is improvement in your work over a period of time.  It’s easier to see your improvements if you compare your work from a year ago vs. a week ago (unless you put in many many hours of practice in one week!)  Are you happier with what you made?  Are you consistently producing high (or higher) quality work?  Are you putting in your best effort into your work?  What about your work says it’s yours?

Close out of your Instagram or Pinterest feeds now, and get making your own thing 🙂

You can do it!

xoxo  Yuko




Happiness Project Reflection 5: Showing Up as Yourself is Hard



Today’s post is a little bit related to my last post about being successful with your goals.  I talked about the importance of measuring your success by your actions rather than counting how many followers or “likes” you get on social media.

So how can you be “yourself” on social media and other platforms when you feel insecure?   What’s so special about me?

My life is pretty uneventful.  I have a day job at a non-profit organization.  I do art when I’m not at my day job.  I live with my nerdy husband, one cat, and two budgie parakeets.  I’m an introvert and a home body.  I love good sci-fi shows on Netflix.  I crochet.  I don’t drink or go dancing.   I drive a 2000 Honda Civic.  Quality alone time is pure gold.  My life does not exactly scream glamour.

I’m also a practical person.  Naturally, I see flaws and tend to be critical.  It sometimes gets in a way of me being a kind/compassionate/thoughtful person I’d like to be.  Shall I say I tend to be “glass-half-empty” kind of a person?  It is more so when I’m feeling stressed.

As for my art, I like to make simple, child-like drawings.   I didn’t go to art school.  I feel insecure about it when I see other people’s works that are more dignified or meticulous.

If you ask me what I think of myself on a really bad day, my answer would be something like this: My life is boring.  I’m a boring person.  I’m anti-social and critical.  And I draw like a kid, so I’m not a real artist.

Imagine if I had a 365 Day Unhappiness Project and drew about things that sucked every day for 365 days.  What would that look like?  I would probably find an audience for it, but what impact would it have on me or people who followed my work?  Not a very happy one I imagine.

Aren’t you glad I chose happiness instead?

Working on the 365 Day Happiness Project was a good mental training.  To find my material, I was scanning for things that made me happy no matter how small it was.  Yes I still complained and whined about things that didn’t go well, but I had to acknowledge that at least one thing made me happy every day and project it onto the world.  My glass was a little fuller.

Because I wasn’t winning a lottery or saving puppies from wild fire every day (or ever), I drew about small happiness for 365 days.


When I think about the heroes I follow, they all have something in common.  They work hard to produce very high quality work and also admit having flaws and struggles.  And they work through their struggles and share their growth process with others.  Their courage and willingness to be vulnerable inspire me to no end.

I connect with their work because I feel connected to who they are.  Although my art career is nowhere near theirs, I can relate to their struggles.  To me, they are real people just like you and me.  I want people to feel like they have the connection to real me, too.

So how do you project your authentic self to the world in a way that’s inspiring to others?

First, you want to stop the tape that plays negative messages in your head.  I’m not talking about the constructive criticisms you receive from people you trust because it’s important to listen to them (especially if the same theme comes up repeatedly) and improve upon them.  I’m talking about the negative things you tell yourself that are only true in your head.

And try to find ways to re-frame it in a more compassionate way.  For example, I could change my unhelpful internal messages to more positive ones:

  • My life is boring. –> My life is stable and peaceful.  I work hard to maintain the stability and take calculated risks.  I’m surrounded by caring and responsible people.
  • I’m anti-social. –> I love being an introvert.  I love people and seek deep connection and engagement.  I’m creative and imaginative.  I’m emotionally independent.
  • I’m critical. –>  I pay attention to details.  I’m analytical and notice ways to improve things.
  • My drawings look like kids’ art. –> Kids are the most creative people on earth.  I’m glad I haven’t lost touch with the innate creativity and sense of wonder.
  • I’m not a real artist. –> I express myself through drawings and paintings.  That makes me an artist.  People appreciate what I create and pay me to create art that is uniquely me.  I’m providing value through my art.  I love being an artist!

Isn’t it a lot nicer?

There is absolutely no benefits to being mean to yourself.  Who you are and who you want to be are usually not that far apart.  They might just be wearing a different outfit, or your lenses may be a bit out of focus.

To be able to show up as yourself and inspire others, you first need to be OK with who you are.  Push the pause button when you catch yourself putting yourself down.  Replace those unhelpful messages with something more loving.  It’s a skill, and you will get better at it as you practice.  Fake it till you believe it.  Go at your own pace.

I know this is going to be a life-long work for me.  Be vulnerable. Be real.  Be graceful with my flaws.

Thank you for reading!  Have a good week, friends 🙂

xoxo Yuko





Happiness Project Reflection 4: What Does Success Look Like?

success_loresHey friends!

How’s your summer going so far?  I’ve been busy working, drawing, making block prints, and of course writing these blog posts!  As I said before, I’m not a natural writer.  It takes me hours to write these posts plus creating a title illustration for each post.  But I’m proud of myself for setting a new goal and working on it!

So today I want to talk about another reflection from my 365 Day Happiness Project.  How do I know if the project was a success?

When you’re an artist or anyone who shares your “stuff” online, it is very easy to get caught up in the numbers of  “likes” or followers you get as an indicator of your success.  Look at all the famous people you follow and admire.  They have tens of thousands of followers!  It sure looks like success to me.  After all, if nobody knows who you are, how are you going to make money from your art, right?

I recently read a couple of  studies that talked about how our brains react to social media like an addiction.  It’s so easy to get an instant gratification through the social media, and dopamine will keep you seeking more rewards.  You anticipate the satisfaction of receiving the instant positive feedback that come in at random times.  Easy access to information via our devices make it so easy for us to fall in to the dopamine induced loop.

Do you check your facebook, twitter, Instagram, email or (fill in the blank) ALL THE TIME to see how many people liked what you just posted??  I’m certainly guilty of it.  I want the validation.  Here is what my loop looks like: Does what I create mean anything to anyone?  Yes I know my family and friends think it’s cool, but what about other people?  Do you like me?  Do you like my stuff?  Oh great, someone does.  Phew. I can be at peace for the next 5 minutes.  REPEAT.

It’s a dangerous trap anyone could easily fall into.  Although it is human nature to want external validation and feel good about yourself, it becomes an unproductive cycle when number is the ONLY thing  you care about or it is the only way to measure how successful you are.

When you set personal or professional goals, it is crucial to have an internal gauge to measure how you’re doing.

Let’s look at my daily happiness project, for example.  Did I draw and post my happiness illustration every day for 365 days?  Yes!  So that’s a success to me.  I know this is a very simplified way of looking at it, but do you see how I had almost 100% control over the outcome?  That is the key.  When you leave your success up to random things like how many people will like it, it is very hard to stay engaged with your goals.

What if I said my goal was to gain 10,000 new followers by the end of the project.  I certainly didn’t reach that goal.  Does that mean I was not successful?  I would’ve felt less excited and proud even if I completed the same tasks.  See what’s going on here?

While it is important to gain and maintain followers for your work over time,  let’s not put so much weight on the number itself to measure how successful you are or how good of an artist you are.

By focusing only on the numbers, you’re placing your energy and time away from your real work.  You could be practicing to get better at your craft.  You could be brainstorming your next product ideas.  Instead you’re going from one social media to the next every 5 minutes just to feel that satisfaction.  And feeling sad and depressed when you don’t get as many “likes” as you did the day before.

Instead of focusing on the numbers of “likes” and followers, you could focus on the quality of relationships you have with your followers.  You can pay closer attention to them when your following is still relatively small.  You would rather want to have a smaller group of really engaged followers than a huge number of followers who are not engaged with your content at all.  It’s an opportunity afforded only to those who have a smaller, more manageable following.  Take advantage of it while you can!

People have different ways of managing their “habit” of checking their social media accounts constantly.  I want to share some ideas and suggestions here!  A lot of it has to do with removing the temptation and anticipation of instant gratification.

  • Close your social media tabs on your web browser while working.
  • Turn off the notifications on your apps so you won’t get distracted visually or by the sound.
  • Schedule time to check your social media accounts intentionally.  You can do once in the morning, once mid-day, and once at the end of the day for example.
  • Put your smart phone on airplane mode if you need an uninterrupted chunk of time to focus.
  • Check them when you’re intentionally taking short breaks.  Indulge yourself as much as you want.  But when the break is over, be in the “work” mode 100%.

While I was working on my daily sketch project, I learned what would get more “likes” than others.  For instance, cats (and other cute animals) got more positive response.  Does that mean my other work are worse?  Absolutely not.  It just means those things resonated with more people.  Be aware of the balance.  If you like cats and that’s the only thing you want to draw, then go for it!  But if you hate cats (or you want to be known for something else), don’t feel like that’s what you have to draw just to gain followers.  At the end of the day, if you’re not being your authentic self, your audience will not be able to connect with your work.  And you will be unhappy for putting yourself in that position!

Another thing about shooting for a certain number of followers is – you will never be satisfied.  At first 100 followers seem like a big number.  Then you see other people with 1,000 followers.  When you finally reach your 1,000, you notice people who have 10,000 followers.  It just goes on and on.

I also noticed that there are many, many talented artists who make 100% of their living from their art who don’t have a very big social media following.  Or no social media presence at all.  Do I consider them successful?  Absolutely!!

Yes, do appreciate when your following grows.  Try to connect with them.  But try not to make it the only thing that matters to you.

Your success should be measured by your actions.  Are you doing something every day to reach your big goal?  Are you prioritizing things you said you valued?  When you look back at your work from a year ago, can you see your improvements?  If you can say yes to questions like these, you’re being successful.  Make sure to recognize and celebrate small successes every day!

Thank you for reading!! Have a wonderful week 🙂

xoxo Yuko





Happiness Project Reflection 3: Your Imperfections are OK

banner_loresWelcome to my third installment of Happiness Project Reflection series blog post!

I want to make a quick announcement that I’m having an art show at Columbia City Bakery in Seattle during the month of July and showing/selling some of my original drawings from my 365 Day Happiness Project!  I’m having a mini reception on Thursday 7/9 from 5-7pm.  If you’re in the area, stop by and say hello 🙂

Ok back to our regular programming!

It’s refreshing for me to look back and reflect on my 365 Day Happiness Project.  When I was in a middle of it, I was focused on producing the work and not so much about the impact it was having on me or the people who followed my work.  Now that I had some time to reflect back on it, I can truly appreciate the lessons I learned.

What I wanted to accomplish the most through my daily sketch project was to go outside of my comfort zone every day.  I was never comfortable calling myself an artist when I first started sharing my drawings as an adult a few years ago.  I didn’t go to an art school.  My artistic style is very simple and child-like.  I felt like I was taking up precious space in the world filled with “real” artists whom I perceived to have a lot more talents and legitimacy.

It’s a cliche, but you’re your own worst critic.  You notice every single flaw in your work. You’re afraid people might think you’re dumb or so arrogant to think your work is worth being seen by others.

The truth is no one else cares about your work as much as you do.

Take for example your Instagram feed.  How many people do you follow?  What do you remember about your favorite artists’ posts yesterday?   Or even 5 minutes ago?  Do you keep a log of all of their flaws and mistakes?  I hope not.  Unless that’s your job.  Like the artist paid you to keep track of that sort of thing.  But I doubt it.

To you, the artist, it’s an obsession.  You don’t think it’s as good as it can be.  It’s not at your 100% level.  It would be so rude to subject your followers to such an atrocity!!!  NOOOO!!


To your followers, it is just another thing you posted.  And you’re probably among hundreds , if not thousands, of people they follow.  I’m not saying this in a negative way or saying that they don’t care.  It’s a perspective.

People value your work for different reasons.  Maybe your sense of humor matches theirs.  Maybe they love your corky style.  Maybe what you’re doing inspires them.  Whatever the reason, I guarantee you that no body is obsessed with how “perfect” your work is as much as you are.  In fact, I have a few artists I admire so very much, and in my eyes, anything and everything they do is great.  They can’t do wrong even if they tried!  Imagine someone may be feeling this way about you!


While I was working on the daily sketch project, I received consistent feedback from my followers that they can relate to my work so much and how it helped them appreciate little things in their life.  They weren’t art critics analyzing the techniques I was using or what art trainings I had.  People felt connected to my work beyond how “good” of an artist I was.  My work, including what I considered to be flaws, resonated with them.  It’s kind of like falling in love with someone: you can’t logically explain why, but you just are.

I’m a believer of lifetime learning and growth.  It’s important to be able to look at your work critically and figure out how you can improve.  You can do it on your own or ask for a constructive criticism from your fellow artists or your mentors. Yes, a total stranger may criticize your work or give you an unsolicited advice.  It probably means that  your work is triggering some reactions in them (which you do want), but they may not be the right audience for you.  You can take parts of their criticism that are valid or helpful and leave the rest.  It is perfectly fine that your work does not resonate with everyone.  Art is a very subjective and personal thing.

The world is one BIG place.  There are people out there who would be totally into the unique voice you can bring to the table.  Don’t wait until you’re absolutely completely sure your work is 100% perfect because it may never happen.  If you’re a chronic perfectionist, this video of Seanwes talking about the cure for perfectionism may help.  Ship it at 90%.  I try to remember his advice when I find myself obsessing about every single details and “flaws” in my work.

Don’t let your imaginary haters stop you from putting yourself out there!!

xoxo Yuko


Happiness Project Reflection 2: Creating When You’re Not Inspired

Inspiration_banner_loresHello friends!

I hope you had a lovely week.  Welcome to my Happiness Project Reflection series blog post No. 2!

Have you ever felt like your creative juice had stopped flowing and don’t know if or when it’s coming back?  Felt like you aren’t a “real” artist because you aren’t inspired to draw, paint, write, cook, or make something all the time?  Do you think all the successful creative people wake up every morning full of inspiration and motivation to create?

I used to believe it too.  But you know what?  That is not how it actually works.

No matter how passionate you are, the inspiration and motivation to create don’t always come naturally or freely.  Creation takes work.  It’s about having your own unique voice and experiences and using your skills to turn them into something others can see, touch, taste, hear, smell, feel, and appreciate.

The creative process can be painful at times: you may feel frustration, self-doubt, or disappointment.  You have a vision but what you create doesn’t quite cut it.  You feel even less inspired because what you’ve just created is far from inspiring.

You may have seen/heard this quote from Ira Glass before.  Every time I look at it, I feel humble and reassured.  Everyone feels this way, and it is totally OK.

Poster by Nikki Hampson
Poster by Nikki Hampson

If you love making things just for fun, it is totally cool to wait until the  inspiration hits you.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  I know many talented artists who choose not to pursue a career as an artist and are completely happy making art for fun.

But If you really want to turn your passion into a thriving career, then you need to create even when you’re not inspired.

When I made a public commitment to start my 365 day Happiness is project, I knew it was the kick in the pants I needed to keep a daily creative practice going.  On some nights, after I came home exhausted from my day job, I would eat dinner, do the dishes, and sit down at my desk staring at the blank page in my sketchbook without an inspiration.  I would browse the internet hoping an inspiration would hit and end up wasting over an hour reading my friends’ updates on facebook.  On other days, I would have a vision but couldn’t  execute it right.  I would draw, and it would look like crap.  I would whine and moan and feel like a fraud drawing about happiness.  Sometimes I felt like I was squeezing a lemon that had been squeezed 100 times to get just one more drop.

At the end of each day, I still managed to find something to feel happy about and made and shared a drawing every day for 365 days.  And that was so rewarding and worth all the pain and lost sleep!


Are you struggling to create every day?   Do you need a little push to get you going?  Here are some suggestions!

  1. Make your commitment public. Tell your friends and family.  Announce it to your followers on social media. This has been the most effective method for me so far.
  2. Take advantage of the “free” time you already have.  Doodle something while waiting for your drink at a coffee shop.  Create your post-it art collection while listening to a webinar.  It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.  You just want the creative activity to be part of your everyday life.
  3. Make your goal realistic.  Maybe making an elaborate painting every day isn’t feasible but doing a 15 minute doodle is.  Consistency is more important than having a fancy goal you’re going to quit after 3 days.
  4. Set perimeters and limits for your creative project.  When you have total freedom, you may feel overwhelmed and don’t  know what to do.  Give yourself perimeters like “only draw with black ink” or “draw a cat wearing a suit in 30 different ways”.  After all, creativity is most required when you’re put in a box!  Ask someone to give you a prompt if that’s helpful.  My non-artistic husband is full of interesting prompts when I need them.
  5. Participate in creative challenges ! – there are many challenges out there – I found this article about Instagram Challenges, and Spoonflower has a weekly design contest. Speaking of which, I’m currently participating in a 30 Day Sketch Challenge on Instagram (#MakeWithMe with @janinecrum)  It’s nice to have a group of folks who are working on the same goal, and it’s always inspiring to see different styles of art people create!
  6. Clarify the connection between your daily practice and your long term goal.  I’m realizing this more and more.  When you know how your daily practice (e.g. daily happiness doodle) is helping you achieve your big goal (e.g. be a full-time working artist), it becomes more meaningful and engaging for you.

Remember, your goal should be about creating something on a regular basis, if not daily, even if it doesn’t look perfect or nobody “likes” it.  When you make a bunch of work, chances are, you will find more inspirations from your own work.  It could be the 10th drawing of an apple that turns out just right that makes you want to create a series of drawings of tree fruits.  Or it could be that someone telling you your daily sketch challenge inspired them to do the same.  You just never know until you do it!

Tell me what helps you create when you’re not in a mood.  We all have those days.

I look forward to continuing with my Happiness Project Reflection series blog post next Sunday!

Thanks for reading and take care!

xoxo  Yuko












Happiness Project Reflection 1: Finding Happiness on the Saddest Days of Your Life

pink-poppies_baner_loresWelcome (back) to my weekly blog about creativity, motivation, and growth!!  I’m so happy you found my blog and/or returned to read more!  Thank you 🙂

OK, I have to be honest with you.  This was a tough post to write.  But I wanted to be open and vulnerable with you.  Here is a peek into a not-so-happy side of my daily happiness project.

When I set out to start my 365 day Happiness is project, I didn’t think too much about how it was going to go.  I just wanted to start and see what happened, which is totally outside of my comfort zone.  Generally, I’m a planner and a  prefer-not-to-take-a-risk-er.

I didn’t know what I would do if I had days when I was overcome by sadness and grief.  Could I find something to feel happy about then?

That day came unexpectedly in January when our dear kitty Lulu had complications from her diabetes and got really sick.  She was suffering and we decided to put her to sleep a couple of days later.  She was really loving and brave till the last moment, and it still makes me cry when I think about that day.

I had her for about 12 years since she was a tiny itty bitty kitten.  I loved and adored cats ever since I was little, but my parents wouldn’t let me  have cats.  I daydreamed of having cats pretty much 24/7.  So I was ecstatic when I got my own kitties as an adult.  Lulu and her brother Shepherd, a.k.a. Sheppie, had been like my babies.

Lulu (left) and Sheppie (right)
Lulu (left) and Sheppie (right)

The connections you build with your animal friends are so special.  It’s based on love and trust you develop through actions.  There is no explaining your bad mood or tears.  They don’t take it personally.  They just want to love you and be loved.  They had been there for me through many life changes, just purring away, beaming love rays at me.


It was the saddest day of my life.  It hurt so bad.  Worse than bad break-ups or losing some of my human family members (I’m just being real here). It felt like I had a giant kitty-shaped hole in my heart, and I didn’t know if it was going to heal.  I could no longer feel the warmth of her fur or hear her soft purr as she slept.

lapwarmer_scan_loresWhat do you do with your daily creative commitment when you have such a loss in your life?  When all I could think of was how empty it felt to not have her in this world any more?

Of course, I could’ve taken a break.  That would’ve been totally OK.  I thought about it and yet found myself drawing in my sketchbook that night, and the next day, and the day after that.  I had never used art as a tool for healing before, at least knowingly.  But I can tell you that my pain would’ve been much worse if I hadn’t followed my creative practice during my time of grief.  It took my focus off of the sadness even for a little bit while I was drawing about happiness.  It created a tiny buffer between me and my grief.

While I was overcome by sadness, I searched for anything I felt grateful for.  In my search for happiness, I found tremendous amount of love and support that surrounded us.  There was no judgement of “oh, it was just a cat.”  Friends brought flowers, cards, and treats.  There were many hugs and tears.

My husband, Dave, stayed very strong for me even though he was also very sad. He really saved both me and Lulu.
My husband, Dave, stayed very strong for me throughout it all even though he was also very sad. He totally saved me.


Treats from friends.
Treats from friends.

hugs_webEvery day that passed by, my heart got a little lighter.  I began to remember fun memories of Lulu and not just her last days.

Our sweet girl.
Our sweet girl.


birdwatch_scan_loresMy daily happiness practice helped me appreciate what I have in the face of loss and grief.  It also helped me celebrate what I had that was no longer here.  Life is never 100% wonderful or terrible.  Some days bring more happiness than others.  Choosing happiness every day doesn’t make your problems go away but can create a small buffer in your mind so you can face them a bit more calmly.

In case you’re wondering, her brother Sheppie is doing just fine as an only cat of the house.  He’ll most likely remain as the only kitty of the house for the remainder of his time.

Happiness is black cats. My little boy brings me happiness, not bad luck :)

On a side note, my therapist recommended a book called Cat Heaven to me when I was talking to her about my loss, and boy, this is a wonderful book.  It’s meant to be a kids’ book but is good for adults too.  They have one for dogs, too, called Dog Heaven. I haven’t read it yet but am sure it’s also good.  The illustrations are so sweet and comforting.  I guarantee this book will make you cry like a baby, so choose a good time and place to read it!  I recommend it to anyone who is mourning a loss of a dog or cat friend.

cat heaven
© Cynthia Rylant

Ok friends, I will see you next Sunday! I’m going to continue with my Happiness Project Reflection series.  Next post is about finding your motivation when you’re not inspired to create.

Take care! xoxo  Yuko

Why I Want to Write Regularly


Good morning!

I’m so excited to start publishing a new blog post weekly starting today!  If you’re signed up to receive an email notification, THANK YOU, and expect to see me in your inbox every Sunday morning 🙂

So why am I making a big deal out of publishing a weekly blog post?  Well, these are a few reasons.

1. I want to get better at writing.

Like many other visual artists, I enjoy drawing or painting far more than writing about it.  Writing in a way that compels people isn’t easy.  I just don’t feel as comfortable writing creatively as I do with making something with my hands.  I’ve had this blog for about a year and a half now and only posted things sporadically and not super intentionally (except for the daily happiness project, but it was 99% visual, and not much writing was involved).  Now that my daily happiness project is over, I wanted to refocus the goals of this blog going forward.  We tend to avoid things we don’t like to do, like going to the dentist or the gym, or having a difficult conversation with someone – writing is one of those things for me.  Like everything else, you can only get better if you practice it, so I’m doing it publicly here 🙂

2. I’m holding myself accountable.

When you start doing something new – especially when it’s something you’re not super excited about, like things I mentioned above, you tend to procrastinate.  Especially when your inaction doesn’t really hurt anyone else.  If I choose sleeping in over going to the gym, who cares, right?  No, nobody really cares.  But what if you belonged to an online group where you have to report your fitness progress to your friends on a regular basis?  Sure, you could still skip going to the gym, but you may make your decisions about it differently.  I’m a pretty disciplined person, but I was definitely procrastinating starting  this weekly blog posts.  Oh, I have all these other art projects I want to work on that are much more fun, and nobody knows I want to do a regular blog post yet, so…. PAUSE.  Sometimes, in order for you to get started on something, you need to tell others that you’re doing it and by when you’re going to do it.  It sure helped me with my 365 day “happiness is” project!  I recently tried this method at my day job in starting a new career development program for employees, and it’s totally working! Win!

3. I want to help others who are in the same boat.

One of the things I know about myself is I don’t like making mistakes, especially in public. It took a lot of courage to start sharing my artwork on the internet because I never thought my art was that good, and I would’ve been so hurt if a stranger criticized my work.  Art is like a small piece of my heart and soul on paper.  But I knew I had to get over the fear if I wanted to be a working artist someday.  Doing my daily happiness post helped me a lot with getting over the fear.  Seriously, when you do something every day for a year, even facing your fear gets old 🙂  It’s not that I’m not afraid of sharing my work because I still do.  It’s more that I’m able to recognize the fear and insecurities, and they don’t keep me from going out of my comfort zone as much.  I want to use my blog to share my experiences and tips to help someone else who may be going through similar things.  I will be sharing mostly my experiences in art and creativity, but a lot of the themes will be relevant to anyone who wants to grow personally, too.

Future blog topics I can think of right now:

  • 9 Reflections on the Daily Happiness Project
  • How to Give Your 100% at Your Day Job While You Give 100% to Your Creative Dream
  • How to Find Your Unique Artistic Voice
  • Find and Work with Your Accountability Partner
  • Setting Goals and How to Document Your Progress
  • How to Find What You Need to be Successful
  • Why Self-Care is Important and What You Can Do to be Good to Yourself
  • Let’s Talk about Creative Rituals
  • Ongoing Topics – Updates on new products and works, my creative processes and tools I use, roundup of useful resources and inspirations, my life and interests etc.

I think this is a  good start.  Please let me know if you have a burning question or want to tell me what you’re struggling with right now so I may incorporate them in my blog 🙂

I decided to do weekly blog because it feels frequent enough so you don’t forget about me completely 🙂 and comfortable enough pace for me to commit to. I chose Sundays because I read somewhere that people tend to have more time and energy to read things that come in to your inbox on a Sunday.  I also thrive in a more structured environment, so having a regular commitment is better for me anyway.

I’m so grateful you will be on the receiving end of my weekly blog.  You have been a really supportive community for me, and I hope I can give you something valuable in return!

Speaking of value, I want to share a couple of inspirations that motivated me to focus on writing this year.  Hope you find them helpful too!

1. Seanwes podcast: I’m sure I will be referring to this podcast from time to time in my future blog.  But this show really changed my life and my mindset about being a creative entrepreneur.  A really high quality podcast packed full of tangible tips!  Can’t say enough good things! They talk about the importance of writing in this episode and this one.

2. Laura Belgray: Laura is a very successful copywriter and a funny lady.  I love how honest and practical her advice is.  You can download her “5 Secrets to Non-Sucky Copy” on her homepage for free!  I’m subscribed to her e-newsletter, and it’s full of gems as well.

Have a wonderful week 🙂  Talk to you soon!

xoxo  Yuko