Tuesday, 12 January 2010

ramblings about writing

I have dreamed of being a writer ever since I was 7. Lack of resources and (real) creativity, my sister and I published our own newsletter to be read by the people in our household (including, my maids and driver. Of course, we forced them to read it.) Some people may argue and call our lame attempt ‘creative’, but who am I kidding? You got to a certain age when you should just stop living in denial.

I guess I was quite an artsy kid, because I loved language and arts growing up. English course never felt like an obligation to me, I loved learning new words, composing essays and talking in some language other than my mother tongue, and English was the first foreign language I studied. I wonder if I would share the same passion had my mom enrolled me in Chinese class instead. In my free time, my sisters and I liked drawing and making stories too; we had this erasable drawing pad where we would draw on while creating storyline on the spot. I loved drawing class at school, and I enjoyed designing letters and decorating pages. During my elementary years, my mom put me in drawing course and I remembered being so excited, we learned things like how to combine colors and create more natural, flawless color transformation. It may sound silly, but I actually think even that drawing class has helped transform me into the kind of person I am today. In a way that I can't really describe.

I started writing short stories for kid magazines too. I remember making so many stories and putting them in envelopes to be sent to the magazine, but I don’t remember ever really sending them. Maybe because I never really thought I would win, and I got embarrassed from the idea that someone else might actually read them. But in the comfort of my own home, my short stories were read by my sisters.

As time went by, my passion of becoming a writer had both its ups and downs. There were periods when I intensely wrote in my journal every day. It was almost like an itch, as if I couldn’t be content if I haven’t come up with any posts in a day. On the other hand, I had some hibernating moments too, vacuums in my life where I stopped writing altogether. During these times, a thought of just having a regular job crossed my mind, the kind of job where I shouldn't need to constantly think or be creative because I didn't know if I could handle that kind of pressure. Pressure of having to constantly come up with good, innovative pieces no one else has ever thought of before.

I saw myself being engrossed in one thing after another. Somehow I couldn’t stick to one thing in a long period of time, and it was frustrating at times, not knowing what I really wanted to do. Loving something now didn’t mean that I would still love it the next day. It all seemed too dangerous, almost just like a gamble.

But thinking about it, even though I had my moments of intense productivity when it comes to writing, I seemed to always go back. After some 15 years of writing on and off, I could still say that for the most part, I really enjoyed expressing myself in words, and I couldn’t imagine not being able to do so.

At the end of the day, maybe having passion about something doesn’t necessarily mean you have to feel so strongly about it all the time. Or, hey, maybe this just applies to me because I have such a short attention span.

For the past years, I thought to myself that sure, it would be so sweet if I could write for a living, but the act of writing itself is therapheutical enough that I would merely be content with doing it as a past-time. Or, having to do it as a part of job, not necessarily all of it.

When I was interning at a PR company last year, my colleague told me this valuable piece of advice. “You don’t have to work in a publication to be able to write,” she said. “Starting out in PR is a terrific way to build contacts, get to know the business, and hey, there are lots of opportunities for you to write here in PR. You may not be in the frontline just yet, but everyone starts from somewhere.”

I guess I had this obsession of seeing my name in print that I focused on the ‘official position’ than in the act of writing itself.

But isn’t it funny how when you stop wanting something, you get it? Okay, it’s not like I’ve stopped wanting to write for a living, but I’ve developed a more reasonable idea of my so-called-dream job. I went from being ‘I’d write a regular column for a magazine like Carrie Bradshaw’ to ‘Who am I kidding? I have no experience, who would hire me? And even if they would, who cares about what I think of guys in skinny jeans’?

As dorky as it sounds, I have a thought that maybe, I do have a point of view, that I have opinion that may not change the state of living in Africa , but at least can entertain a person or two. If I could write something that can be read by other people, then I’m happy. I guess that’s why I have a blog in the first place, because yeah, I do like writing journals for my personal pleasure, but I like the idea that I get to share my experiences with others too.

Now, I’m just taking each day as it goes by, enjoying the process and not thinking too much about the details.

I can safely say that I’m pretty happy with where I am right now. I see platform for me to grow, learn, and inevitably, make mistakes. And that's alright.

Today, our latest magazine is officially out, and I got to see my name there, in real print. And I feel lamely, dorkily proud. I don't really know about later, but I believe that only we ourselves have the ability to shape our future.