Saturday, March 28, 2015

Writing for a Living, Living for Writing : How writing helps overcome obstacles in life

I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn't, I would die.” – Isaac Asimov

I write for a lot of reasons. These reasons, I’d firmly say, are anchored towards my passion for weaving words. Now, let me tell you how I journeyed through this exciting adventure – onto the path called writing.

A Childhood Dream Made More Fun

I was in third grade when I've had a published poem at our school magazine,"BAKAS." "Just one poem, please," I fervently thought. Little did I know that that would be the start of my dream's fulfillment (as a writer).

I just wanted to express my thoughts through writing – either through poems, short stories or essays. My favorites then were mostly about Halloween and other festivities (Christmas, Valentine’s, etc.). Then, followed the how-to articles and other human interest stories. I usually learned by reading Kids’ Almanacs, Time Magazine for Kids, and many others. All I thought about was that I was having the time of my life while writing. Period. But, that didn't stop there. In high school, I continued writing poems and other stories. Even when I wasn’t already part of the school paper (for I opted to join other school organizations), I still contributed to our literary folio.

Writing for a Cause

When I became a college student, I definitely missed writing. I wanted to do something not only because I wanted to see my name on the paper’s by-line, but most of all to deliver vital campus stories to my fellow students. Lavoxa, our college school paper, honed me to be sensitive to others’ needs, be more responsible,  and be more responsive to my calling as a campus journalist.

With the mentorship of the late Fredevel Bruce Banaag, I also learned to balance school and org life. I can still recall how he pushed us to our best – making us truly believe in ourselves as we pursue our crafts. Sir Bruce’s dedication and care towards us, his mentees, made me admire him all the more. I just couldn’t think of a better word to describe how he molded us to be the writers/artists that we are (not only after the perks of being a campus figure but also as an individual with a heart for others).

Writing for a Living

Upon graduation from college (having taken up BS Nursing) and while studying for the board exams, I was anxious, not knowing how to pay my remaining balance in school (amounting to more than Php 17,000/around $400.00). I surely had no idea on what to do to earn that amount on or before my board exams in November 2009.

What I just knew then was that I loved to write and so I thought, “Maybe I can also earn through writing.” And so I did. I started with a gig costing Php 6,000.00/around $135.00 a month for a total of 25,000 words a week or 100,000 words a month. Perhaps my writing colleagues now would laugh at this amount but true enough, I did experience writing for this certain gig. Not bad for a start, eh? :)

The amount per article has increased since then, and I was able to pay my school debt. I had the chance to split the amount into half (the other half was shouldered by my parents). During that time, I was already happy to have been able to save Php 9,000.00/around $200.00 for my school balance. At least my parents had less to think about. We agreed that I’d be able to earn that amount because of my writing gigs.

Gigs continued to pour. For six years now, I am still writing my heart out – and what’s more is that I’m not alone in my journey. I have with me several writers who also have the same struggles and joys. Having learned that two heads are better than one, I feel more inspired, knowing that I have with me other passionate writers who do not only write for a living, but are living to write.

Author: Celine Bernadette Francisco, Writer. Storyteller. Teacher.