Tag Archives: creative writing

Writing.

kurt_vonnegut_pity-readers

For the times when I am stuck with the fortieth revision of a program plan or dealing again with the stupid impossibility of office politics that I sit back in my cubicle (amidst the work clutter) and ask myself where would I be should I decided to stick being a writer and not sell my soul to the devil, otherwise known as the Corporate World.

Sure, being a journalist here (even in my capacity as a lifestyle writer) in the Philippines will never guarantee to make you rich. You will be earning peanuts but will have an ample supply of deodorant, feminine wash, napkin, shampoo and gift cheques to restaurants that will last you a lifetime courtesy of various SWAGs from the events you cover. Yes, you will eventually get to the media junket but that is after you have earned your dues and have risen from the ranks from being the junior writer to being an associate editor. But no matter how measly the pay, it is the allure of writing stories — giving angle to what was just previously words and thoughts and sometimes, pitches (from your friendly neighborhood PR agency)–to seeing these same previously jumbled words published, smelling like freshly-churned newsprint that I find myself yearning more.

I don’t know which I miss more: covering events and looking for people to interview; rushing to the editorial office, trying to make deadline while grappling with writer’s block or trying to survive a dressing down and salvaging bits of my pride and sanity as my editor reviews my written piece. Maybe all of these? Because these past few days, all I can think about is going back to writing. Or how I miss the sound of the insistent clacking of keys from 2PM to 4PM on the editorial floor.

I miss being creative. I miss the cred of being a print journalist. I miss the dressing downs that usually came with a side of insight on how you will move up the publishing world. Yes, the only thing I do not miss is the measly pay.

Almost a decade ago, sick of the rejection I had following a failed internship in a well-known glossy, I decide to throw caution to the wind, sell my soul and go corporate. First, I tried Public Relations which can be best describe as “excruciating” especially to an anti-social like me before moving on to corporate communications and marketing, fields I have come to love.

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I was happy — or at least, I thought I was happy. That is until recently when I noticed myself hankering to go back to the twenty year old me, a snot-nosed kid always eager for a writing assignment.

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The thing about freelancing…

…is that it’s not as easy as what people think.

This, I realized at 1:00 o clock this morning as I try to set-up a system for the recent freelancing group that I joined. As I copy my resume and try to build up cred online, I realized that buying a laptop computer and having a dependable wifi connection isn’t all you need in order to have a stable paying freelancing gig. A month ago, I signed up as a “contractor” for a internet-based marketing company specializing in hiring remote workers. Since I haven’t got a laptop at that time, I just signed up and immediately started thinking of ways on how I can get my hands on my own laptop. You know, in case someone gets to hire me.

But at 1AM and still answering a bunch of test questions just to ensure that I look credible online, I came to realize the writing freelance is not as easy as it’s cracked up to be. On the system where I applied, I am battling against thousands of others (I am sure competent) writers for a slice of the jobs I want. Don’t get me wrong, I am not griping about the system or the fact that I getting jobs through the site is not exactly as easy as 1-2-3, what I am pointing out is the realization (which I had) that writing freelance is not an easy to do.

For someone who wanted the opportunity to write again, and augment the family income at the same time–this is a cold slice of the reality pie. After all these years claiming to be versed in the street-cred and schooled in the school of hard knocks, it came as a surprise for me that within this creaking old body is still a piece of the wide-eyed (pun intended), naive little girl that I was in college.

So, with this realization comes the determination to look for other opportunities in freelancing. Truth is, I really badly needed the additional income, especially with plans of me going back to school for my masteral studies. Add to that plans to really work on finally delving into realm of parenthood–which, we all know calls for financial maturity.

A good friend has been asking me to help him with PR and consultancy but I was waiting for them to make a formal offer (versus the usual informal offer over casual convo). While I have no illusions of leaving the corporate world (yet) in exchange for full time PR job, any bit of offer and project thrown my way is highly appreciated.

KamikazeeGirl at FRESH PRESSED?! Seriously????

Whoa! This is a nice surprise!

Thank you for those who commented and visited my blog. I appreciated each and every comment received. (Oh crap, this is starting to sound like those awfully cheesy, melodramatic acceptance speeches delivered on local award shows)

As someone who used to write for a living, this brings back memories of being published and seeing my name on print. I was fresh out of college when I was hired to be a lifestyle writer in one of the Philippines’ largest publications. Just as the interview was coming to a close, I was asked by the VP for Human Resources why I wanted to be a writer. I answered that I wanted to be just like Louis Lane. (I had a huge, huge, huge crush with Superman aka Clark Kent aka Christopher Reeve). Maybe she was amused because she hired me on the spot. Or maybe they just needed a new writer.

A week on the job, I’ve realized that being a writer doesn’t necessary mean being out covering glamorous events and parties all the time. When you’re doing desk job and not covering events, this meant trawling over piles and piles of press releases and retyping them for publication. While choosing between a press release about a new variant of sanitary napkin and a press release about another shampoo–I told myself that I won’t ever be a paid hack and write PR.

Oh well, waddayouknow, fast forward ten years after that day and here I am writing and doing PR for almost seven years now–and I came to love PR.

My life as a writer extended for only 3 years after university. By then, I have done the rounds when it came to doing beat: I covered Pinoy showbiz (and had to deal with the ego and tantrum of local celebrities) while employed in another publication– the highlight of which is going to the Eat Bulaga! (a local variety show) studios and waiting for this girl group called Sex Bomb Girls for an interview. These girls were hella famous in 2002 and they were known to punctuate their gyrating with “get! get! awwwwwww!” In the same publication, I was also doing beat as a police writer where I hang out on local police precincts and perusing the police blotter for possible stories. In between, I was interviewing local bomba stars (sexy stars).

So–the point of this post? Nothing much–it just felt nice having the same feeling when I saw my first byline.

Writers — Please DO NOT take seriously

I saw this entertaining feature via Jessica Zafra’s blog, I Write Like
Here’s my result:

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I Write Like compares your writing styles to famous writers. Just paste a sample of your writing (blog post, novel, essay -- PLEASE NOT A REPORT FOR WORK) then the code will generate on which famous writer you sound like.

Quite honestly, I was aiming for J.D. Salinger, Irvine Welsh or Jack Kerouac -- but a sample from my blog post "Howl" netted the results above. Googled David Foster Wallace and became interested on his writings--he seemed like a great writer. In fact, his novel "Infinite Jest" was included by Time in its All-Time 100 Greatest Novels list (covering the period 1923–2006).

Sadly, David Foster Wallace passed away last 2008. He took his own life following a battle with depression.

Hmmmn...must get a copy of Infinite Jest, then...

The written word

I started writing as early as ten. I was a major geek growing up, yet couldn’t retain numbers in my head. I was atrocious at Math. I remember when I was in fifth grade, I had a Math teacher who has a habit of giving pop quizzes every other day. After all the papers were checked, she’ll have all students who scored lower than 3 out of the 5 question quiz line-up in front of the whole class. She’ll proceed to pinching us hard on the corner of our inner thighs (in tagalog: kurot sa singit punishment). Man, my singit hated that damned teacher!

I probably mentioned before that both my parents were working while I was growing up and I am pretty much left to my own devices. At sixteen, hate-filled and concerned with my growing number of zits, I decided to convey all my repressed hate, frustrations, emotions and even unsaid dreams on paper. I never looked back after that.

In my fourteen years of writing, I’ve amassed notebooks. I’ve pretty much written on all kinds: from drawing pads, diaries with built-in fragrance, the 50-peso lined notebook, my Jordi Labandas, a white hardcover from the States, a sketch pad/journal from Malaysia. And the latest one: a birthday gift from a friend.

And while I have been blogging for almost a year now, nothing beats the feeling of pen touching paper, and the scratching sound made as you write on crisp writing paper.

Nothing beats consigning your thoughts, secrets, fears and even hopes on paper and getting to read it a few years after. I chanced upon an old diary (the scented kind with matching heart lock) and made the cardinal sin of reading what I wrote when I was 18 and obsessed with a college classmate.

It was freaking awful. I nearly died laughing

It sounded as if it was a prop for an annoying teen romance series. I had the compulsion to burn it and bury any evidence of that annoying teenager, but then again the diary stayed for me for more than ten years and that alone made me re-think my plan. My only worry is for my kids to find that piece of history and conclude that their mom was delusional and maarte, at best. For now, I am considering locking all my past diaries in airtight container. Then purposely lose the key (throw it at Pasig River, maybe?)

My only problem is that a hundred years from now, someone will get to read all its contents and conclude that the person who owned these journals were pyschotic or worse, had multiple personality disorders.

How do you write a story?

The other week I started writing a piece of fan fiction featuring one of my favorite JPop idols (quite an understatement–considering I am planning on naming my first born after said idol). More than giving my brain much needed work-out. After all, I don’t sweat as much doing what I do with my current responsibilities.

I’ve always wanted to write. When I was young, I joined “The Young Writers” where I honed my writing skills while competing against other schools. When I was in college, I wrote a mini-novel (one notebook thick) where I transformed one of my friends to a serial killer and had him promptly kill the whole barkada (yes…that’s how my mind works). I showed my friends my mini-novel, much to their immense delight. I don’t know if it’s because they find the mini-novel good (they said it was) or because of the weight of the story.

When I left University and entered the chaotic corporate world, I pretty much forgot any remaining literary talent that I had–I used to write poems, make funny, caustic essays and pretty much put my dreams of writing my own novel at the back of mind. I filled my mind with marketing plans, press releases and communication campaigns.

By cultivating the career woman in me, I pretty much kissed the (budding) writer inside goodbye.

That is until a good friend encouraged me to give creative writing another go. While I had reservations with what I can do, I figured that I won’t lose anything in the process. So here I am stuck with a prologue and excited to explore what would happen to my characters. It doesn’t help at all that the guy character is based on a real person and there is a danger that I would incite mass hatred should I depict the character as less than ideal. (Of course, I know he’s not perfect…)

Nonetheless, I remain excited on writing the first chapter. I pretty much have ideas in my head, and barring work here at the office, I intend to move forward and see to the end how these two characters would interact.

Sometimes, I ask myself “How do you write a story?” And since I didn’t study Journalism in University and never had any formal schooling in creative writing — I figured that writing a story entails a structure, good grasp of the language you are using and most especially–heart. I think it is the combination of all three that makes a story worth reading.

I know my first foray might not be perfect but I am very willing to learn. After all, I (think) I have a lifetime to come up with the perfect plot.