Blogging. It’s a space where we are creative and share creativity. Our writing. Photography. Fashion tips. Handmade craft. But blogging and creativity don’t always come easy, sometimes perhaps more so if we’re Asian.
Next week marks three years since I started this blog. Three years of being a multicultural blogger writing about all things culture and what makes Australia, Australia. In all honesty, it’s been challenging getting inspired and weaving words into sentences for every blog post.
Creativity is about seeing the light, connecting ideas. It’s about discovering solutions to problems and seeing the same thing in different shades and from different angles. Each of us believes in certain values and stereotypes – two things that might hold us back from being the creative person whom we want to be.
When others around us tell us not to, we might hesitate to go after our creative ambitions. We hesitate to be a creative artist because it doesn’t sound like a practical venture. Graduating from university with a maths major in an Arts degree, my Chinese-Malaysian parents egged me to get a numbers-crunching job. Good pay, they said. And there’s creativity in maths and science too.
…an overcast winter’s weekday afternoon in July. I shut my laptop in the library, eyes weary from responding to blog comments and reading more blogs than I can count over the last two hours. Feeling peckish too. Got up, made my way to the Woolworths grocery store five minutes away. Paused beside the chocolate aisle. Looked at the sweet treats under garish fluorescent lighting. And looked some more before walking away. The taste and reality of leaving my quantitative data analyst day job.
The older we get, the more we depend on ourselves to make a living; others might depend on us too. There is the expectation in Chinese culture – stemming from Confucian ideals – that kids will take care of elderly parents when the time comes. Going down the creative path takes time, and there’s no guarantee we’ll succeed at what we love. There are only so many TV presenters, so many authors who sell millions of books, so many artists who make a living off their craft.
When we’re not used to being creative or doing that thing we love, sometimes we find it hard to be creative. Studies show that we tend to do better at something if we make the effort and try. With much focus on rote learning maths and science in schools in Asia, perhaps this is why some Asians hold back from exploring the arts – there simply isn’t time to try.
…back home from the store. Drafting the next blog post on my laptop. Words popped up on the screen. Slowly. Coming up with post ideas, chunking thoughts into paragraphs, post-processing post photos takes hours on end – all for nothing in return? Where am I, penniless artist, going with this? What does all this time spent buy? But none of us can see the future.
On occasions, what we see or don’t see around us discourages us from being creative. Australians from minority backgrounds are seldom seen in local media. Literature. Theatre. Dance. No one of the same race to look up to; we question if we belong. However, sometimes whether we feel creative simply boils down to personality, the choices we make. No matter where we come from, if we practise our craft, we’ll become better at it.
Blogging. It’s a conversational sphere. Blog honestly, blog about our lives, strike a chord with other bloggers. Which can be harder than it sounds. …two months ago. Writing a post on trusting others. Really want to quote and include people I’ve met, quote them in this post. Will they mind? Can we look each other in the eye after that? What to share, what not to share…
There’s the stereotype Asians are reserved, quiet. In Chinese culture, showing emotion is seen as a sign of weakness or losing control. Writing for this blog for a while, speaking up about race, culture and the people in my life now comes easier to me. Blogging is personal. Creativity and art is personal. Art knows no boundaries; art challenges stereotypes around us and within ourselves. As author Criss Jami says, when we put ourselves out there, we learn what we’re capable of:
“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”
Each of us bloggers blog for different reasons. Some of us blog to pass the time. Some of us take it more seriously, blogging to hone our craft, and dream of a massive following and making a living off our blog. But at the end of the day, blog views are just views, and our blogs and art often admired for fleeting moments.
Ironically, at times making a difference through our creativity lies within these small moments. Blogging about multiculturalism here certainly has its challenges and it’s easy to rub others the wrong way – we all have personal opinions on culture. It’s humbling to see some chiming into the conversation here. And that’s where the true beauty of blogging, art and creativity lies: sharing thoughts and musings, touching others who in turn see the world in a different perspective.
There’s more to life than blogging, being an artist and doing what we love. We have to stand up to live before we can sit down and write. Likewise we have to sit down and figure out who we are before we can stand up to live. Creativity comes from many a place, and when we slow down, we let the world speak to us. As author Osho said:
“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring…a little more dance to it.”
….I flipped open my diary at home after a day out. Started writing down things to-do. Next blog post penciled in three weeks down the track. Respond to blog comments tomorrow. Buy groceries after that. Photograph a sunset this weekend. Tidy the house next week. Where to pencil in editing the 50,000 word first draft of my book? My eyes wavered from the pages. Wandered to the green trees basking in the warm spring sunlight under the clear evening sky outside the window. We can’t predict the future, but we can certainly notice the present and make the most of it.
Taking on responsibilities and chasing dreams go together hand in hand. Since life is full of uncertainties, the least we can do is roll with the punches. Get up. Live life. Live stories. Then tell stories.
Do you find it hard to blog and be creative?