“Limitations” are a good thing, and you should embrace them

I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of an image of the perfect work that should ideally strive to be as “ambitious as possible” in every single aspect, and because of that, whenever a “restriction” — like, say, a budgetary or technological one — is lifted on your creative work, it’s all too easy to think “Wow! I don’t have that thing holding me back anymore! Now that I don’t have this restriction, I should make use of my newfound freedom that I couldn’t make use of before!” So you then try to take advantage of it and break all the boundaries you had before, since those “restrictions” you had earlier only served to restrain your work and keep you from achieving your real creative vision, right?

A lot of the time, this just leads to the work in question becoming more unfocused and mediocre. Surprisingly, limitations are often a good thing, and I’d even say that they’re often very helpful to the point where actively putting a restriction on yourself can help your work.

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It’s been a hell of a year lately (but since when has that been news to anyone?), and while I’ve been doing my best to keep it going, the well of creative energy has gone really dry at a time like this, but I feel like it’s a waste if I don’t do something with it. It’s not to say I’m not still working on things, but it’s definitely in a more low-key fashion than before, and I feel like I’m keeping a lot of people waiting. So I decided to open this blog.

Well, the truth is, I’d actually been thinking of opening something like this for a while. I’m normally kind of a private person, and I don’t really like to go into my personal life in front of people I don’t know; I love talking to people and working with people, and I love engaging with others when it comes to creative work, but I’d been worried about my presence as a person influencing how people read my creative work. Over the last few years, I decided to loosen up on this stance, especially since my public presence started becoming more important for the collaborative work I was doing. Plus, it’s not fun being in hiding all of the time. If I have something to say, I should say it.

Still, Twitter threads are an absolutely horrid place to say anything eloquently, so a blog it is.

If you’re reading this, you probably already know me from my creative body of work, but I’ll introduce myself again for the sake of clarity. I’m formally known as Lystrialle, casually known as Aster (the reason for the disparity between names is a long story), and the brunt of my online activity has to do with creative work, mostly in the realm of music production and collaborative project management (such as albums and illustration books). To the very end, I do this within the range of hobbies, mainly because I want to keep this as something I can do with as much personal freedom as possible, rather than as a career aspiration (although I have deep admiration for those who are able to do so). Otherwise, I don’t really want to go into deeper details about my personal life in public, so we’ll leave that there.

My “hometown” where I started getting into creative work is the Vocaloid (vocalsynth) community, and I have a huge emotional investment in its potential as a creative outlet, but it’s by no means the only context I’m willing to make things in. As a musician, my preferred genre is neofolk or anything adjacent to it, but as a listener I’m not actually all that picky about genre.

I have a complicated relationship with visual arts, since I’m not very confident in my abilities in it (especially compared to music), but I dabble in it from time to time. I’d like to do something in the future with it if I can, but that’ll be a story for another day.

I’m Korean-American, although I was born and raised in the US. I have a limited command of Korean and Japanese and sometimes informally work in translation (mainly in regards to helping people communicate for hobby projects; basically I don’t have plans to work in it professionally). To that end, I also have an interest in translation and localization theory, along with a lot of really strong opinions on it.

Since almost everything I talk about here is within the range of hobbies, you should probably take everything I say with a grain of salt, but I do have a bit of formalized music background and a degree in linguistics and computer science, so I’m not just saying completely random things out of nowhere.

In general, I also like video games, although I’m not very good at them due to having infamously poor reaction time, so I usually have to stick with things like turn-based RPGs. My media interests are all over the place, but I like things with good music, kids’ franchises (animation, tokusatsu, and games), and anything I think is interesting or fun.

Basically, I have a lot of disparate interests and will probably be talking about them whenever something strikes my fancy. I have a few projects going on the background at the moment, but I can’t talk about them in detail yet, so in the meantime, I’ll do my best to keep things interesting. I hope you enjoy.