Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On Being a Writer

When I am asked what my profession is, I answer in a heartbeat: “I am a writer”. Because that is what I do, and what I love doing. I also have other careers on the side but writing has become a fuel for my living—both artistically and economically. Most people glaze their eyes in sheer delight, like it was a very impressive thing to be a writer. On one side, it is true. Being a writer is combined skill and hardwork, and a little speed, sometimes. Most of all, it is closely related to the love for the arts, which is quite wonderful, an aberration to all the seemingly boring corporate jobs that engulf the money-hungry and consumerist world today.

The truth is, being a (paid) writer is not an easy feat especially if you really love writing. Sometimes there is just a thin line between work and love for the craft and this line blurs when work is not doing too well. On the flip side, a lot of times, I’ve found myself looking around for certain words to complete a poem or a creative nonfiction and then I end up not finding them because I might have used too much words which didn’t mean anything to me (due to work) and so words have just slowly lost meaning. And luster.

I cope with this love-hate relationship by keeping a few good pieces by my side. These are books which I love to read and reread because they contain such great literary pieces or just because they were light enough to read during nights when I find it hard to sleep. I keep funny books (chick lit), intellectual books (feminist and sociologist theories), instructional books (Poker techniques) and some good old drama by Jodi Piccoult, for example.

On the contrary, I don’t really live a charmed life. I’m sure Nicholas Sparks and Dan Brown would agree too. Writing about the things which you are passionate about is easy. However, most of the work consists of things which I don’t have the slightest idea about. I’ve written about anti-aging ingredients, about psychedelic mushrooms, about relationships, wind mills, subliminal messaging, watches, flags, and even divorce. If I had my way, I will write about the youth culture (just like in this column) and other random things which I feel like writing about. Perhaps, Facebook, feminism, the people I love, nail color, sunblock, good haircuts, debate and Sony Ericsson phones.

Writing for me has also become an outlet. I tend to think and write faster when I’m mad. I tend to write about a lot of meaningful things when I’m sad. I don’t write at all when I’m feeling so down or “lost”. Writing has been the only thing which did not betray me. Yes, even financially! Writing was paying for my lavish lifestyle for more than a year now. (I kind of given up the lavish lifestyle, by the way.) Writing has become a life long love affair.

There were times when I left writing behind in pursuit of other interests such as debate, dancing, table tennis and poker. But then I always find myself coming back to it, and it accepts me giddily, like a parent to a child. This has recurred so many times, so I realize that whenever I write, no matter what medium I use, I always feel at home. Sometimes, even invincible.

I guess being a writer doesn’t mean that you have to have writing as a profession or that you win a Palanca or publish dozens of books. Maybe it just means that you seriously believe that you lived to write…and nothing else matters.

Now it’s your turn. Write me a letter---


pamela said...

Writing has been the only thing which did not betray me.


basta idol pa rin kita. ikaw lang!

bitchvarsity said...

charmus! hehehe! tinuod man.. writing over anything OR ANYONE. :)