It’s May 1st and I’m writing on the blog like I used to, back in the days when this was less of a weekend habit. Today, I just drafted four articles that will pop up on a lovely website in a couple of weeks. Last week, I sent in my submittables to a local magazine, and I am excited. Being in the business of words is a privilege, especially that not everyone has access to this form of work.
Today is Labor Day, where 9-to-5 employees take the time off and celebrate the blood, sweat and tears they put on their desk jobs. I, despite having the option to pause, can’t do that. Creative freelancers may work on their own terms, but we’ve got business, and businesses mean looking after it 24/7. And so instead, let me celebrate the millions of letters that went into my texts as I solidify the validity of me, here, in the world of words.
2 is where I began
I started on 2010 and worked on a $2-a-piece 300-word assignment given to me in batches of ten, or twelve, week by week. That time, I was proud. Earning dollars seemed nice, no matter how small – my Inang would always smile and say, “Wow, dollars.” Getting returns was a motivation. That’s when I learned to write acute and fast, finishing as soon as possible so I can move on to the next with more money in my pocket. I could imagine my brain cells making big bang explosions as I digest each read, process them and rewrite each in such a way that they’ll be unique and enjoyable. Some would say it’s easy; after all, I’m stuck at home, still wearing my pajamas, no reason to commute, no reason to dress up.
Nope; writing can be hard. Especially you’re out of the mood, hangry, or lazy.
Now, it has been eight years, and here I am, still doing the same thing, but taking things on a higher level as I move up the stairs. My rate has changed, and so did my ethos. My processing time is shorter; my output, snappier. I have grown in the craft (still a little seedling, though), wrapped with many lessons from former clients; most who had great words, and some who had to let me go at some point.
I acknowledge that my creative writing career was not a straight line. There were bends. And so is life.
Last year, I chose to relinquish most of my writing time so that I could focus on my manuscript. DVPit was in October. After my impulsive entry that April, I committed myself to polishing my novel before the next submission. My pitch got fewer responses. But those few led me to having my first full request which, at that moment, felt the world to me.
I promised that I’ll only revise my manuscript until October and then, it’ll be “Back to work!” That didn’t happen. Revising was a constant, consistent process. Even until this year’s April, I still made last minute changes before I sent my queries. And I have a feeling that I’ll be revising more in the future.
And I haven’t started working on the next.
I never knew I’d pick the writing path. When I was in my last two years in high school, I developed a lack of interest for my subjects — except for humanities. During those trying school hours, I’d pull out a notebook and write a story; plots that will grow into pages that my classmates would read during break. It’s like Wattpad, but I write them by hand. On my fourth year, I finished two notebooks (which I classify as “books” at that time). Oh, and there was one story that was half-finished, but one of my friends asked for it as a remembrance before we graduated.
When I was asked for which course to take in college, I chose the arts, of course, because my class adviser will always pick me to compete at poster making contests. WHICH I NEVER WON, by the way. Maybe it’s impatience. Maybe it’s impulse. But it’s not me to linger long at a line and create impressive designs, unless if it was for the grades.
Mind you, poster-making competitions had no + in our grades.
Growing up, I turned out to be a jack of most trades, master of none. That’s an easy way to throw me and my self-esteem down the spiral. It would have been easier if I was focused — no, obsessed — with one specific thing. Something I’d pursue relentlessly, but there was none.
All I was left was an empty page. Some lines. And words.
And then, God slowly aligned me to a path where I’d pour out myself like water in a vessel. It was on that same empty page.
I’m NOT the best at it, but it’s something I can finally say it’s something I’m good at. My dad would always tell me, “Now that you’ve found your purpose, grow in it.” It has been eight years. And this seedling has flourished ever since.