What I Talk About When I Talk About Writing
Despite initially feeling otherwise, I now find myself at peace with the fact that I have taken becoming a writer seriously enough, so much to the point that "writer" is what I immediately answer to relatives curious about what I do for a living.
As a young girl in the early nineties, I did imagine myself as a published author, but today, we can all just set up blog accounts and hit the publish button, can't we? What it means to be a writer and "publish" in this day and age is what I try to find deeper meaning in in my own professional life story.
EARLY STAGES AND THE REBELLIOUS PHASE
With limited exposure to only the mainstream professions, I graduated kindergarten declaring onstage, with parents, teachers, and classmates as witnesses, that I wanted to become a teacher. Then in third grade, I saw Armageddon, and thought I wanted to travel to outer space and die to save the world. I hit the rebellious phase, formed a band with my school mates (didn't we all have a band in high school?) and thought I wanted to be a rock star. I joined the drama club, the instructor adored my acting chops (really!), and, as you may have guessed, I considered that career path, too.
THE DEFINING MOMENT
When I turned eighteen, I seriously believed high school was tough that I entered college wanting to become a housewife. The plan was to study only enough to pass. But my course was Communication, and in second year, we were forced to choose a track. There was media studies, journalism, advertising and public relations, and film and television production. Despite not being ready to decide, I chose production.
I abandoned my housewife dreams and said I'd like to become like Sofia Coppola. One summer, with our family digital camera and Windows Movie Maker, I created my first ever film, which I love and embrace to this day.
While that was a rather fun experience, I took film-making quite deeply to heart at one point. Together with a partner, I entered a film competition that tested my luck, patience, stamina, faith in God, everything. Technical difficulties, I soon learned, are matters I cannot handle, e.g. converting one format to another, computer programs crashing, and all the loading, rendering, and processing. Yet the film managed to reach completion, was screened, viewed, judged, and, well, won awards. Hooray.
But it also made me realize I would rather stick to good old Microsoft Word, thank you very much. Also please note that back then, I lived on a student budget and did not own my own laptop with Adobe Premiere.
PUSHING THE WRITER THING
Embracing the simple Microsoft program led me to make the right career decisions upon graduation, such as applying to write for various websites and magazine titles, advertising agencies, and such. And at the time when The September Issue was released, didn't we all want to live the publishing life? Or at least, the fast-paced job that allowed us to have very Instagram-worthy career beginnings?
But the landscape has changed so much since then, and so have writing jobs. And beyond getting published and seeing my byline, I have come to see now how much the world needs writing, now more than ever, and on an entirely new level. Amid all the noise and clutter, internal and external, I believe writing keeps us sane, allows us to organize our thoughts, before we even utter them disgracefully, shunning unlikely trains of thought, negativity, and gore. It's not an easy process, it is in fact difficult to begin. But when you get to the end of it, with a finished product before you, to read or share with the world, or both, I promise, and I'm sure you feel it, too: it's hell worth it. I'm a living and breathing proof of this!
Our dreams may have changed as we have aged, but I will always chose becoming a writer (well, only God knows what will be of me in the future, so this is only as far as I hit "publish"). But what I am most thankful for pushing the writer thing is how it has allowed me to slow down, notice the details—from the fashion trends lurking around the corner, worn by the next style star, to the uniqueness that comes with every human experience, mine or others'—and, ultimately, help me make sense of things.
I only hope those who read what I write feel the same way, and as your dear tita, know that I will always try to strive towards that.
Cover photo by Jayson Soriano, SHOT AT THE PLAZA BREW COFFEE COMPANY IN BALANGA, BATAAN.