I grew up grasping a pen or any writing instrument.
My first love was drawing. At an early age, I was already drawing the Superfriends—the members of the Justice League of America.
When I reached my elementary days, I was already spotted as one of the promising student in the art department. I never get to appreciate it as much as I appreciated writing. My dad has the greatest influence in me when it comes to arts. He was the one that I inherited that gift. I remember one time that my dad went to my class adviser and confronted why I got a lower grade as compared to my previous marks.
I cannot exactly remember if it was in my grade six, and my teacher responded with too much respect, defending why I missed a few points in my grades, “Sir, your son has more than enough room to accommodate. He’s like a glass, already full. No matter how much you pour something into it—it will just spill over.”
Frankly, it was a genius excuse. Later on, I found out why I missed some points—it was because my teacher failed to check the plates inside my brown envelope where our finished plates are all stacked. I did not tell my dad about it anymore. It was one secret I kept and revealed here.
Did I regret it? My answer is NO.
I cannot exactly figure out if it was one of my turning points in life and why I embraced the path to a writing life.
Upon reaching my secondary years, I knew what I want. Even if most of my classmates, friends in school and in my neighborhood knew me as someone who excelled in arts, I did my best to discover a new life—and through my English teacher and my adviser in my Peer Facilitators’ organization in high school—I was encouraged that writing is another gift I can pursue.
From then on, I still grasp my pen. But not more on doodling or sketching gowns or dresses. I started to write. Writing was something new for me, but amidst the excitement—I knew that I have too many things to discover.
In college, I went to UP for a creative writing degree, but I quit after two years. I realized I am not a ‘creative’ writer.
However, as the years went by, when I went to another college in a different University—I’ve realized that I am still drawn to arts. I am still ‘creative’ in many ways.
Today, I still dream of writing my book, my play, my teleplay and my screenplay. Why? I believe that the pen is still mightier than any sharpened sword. The pen has the power to build and tear down something or someone. The pen is a potent instrument to shaping the readers’ minds.
J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling Harry Potter book series, delivers her Commencement Address, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association.
To quote, JK Rowling, “If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
“Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.” – Ray Bradbury
Yes, since 2004 and even up to now, I still do ghostwriting. What have you—so far it is the only rewarding, quick money-generator as oppose to writing for magazines or any other forms that requires your byline.
I have nothing against writing with my byline on it. Every writer finds ‘pride’ in it when an article or his work is published with his name on it. In fact, there were times in the past that I really do not care whether I get paid or not, as long as my byline there.
When I was writing for a company that deals with small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) in the country—I was excited about the post because by nature, I am a sucker of stories. I consider stories lifted from the surviving and thriving businesses as a stimuli. It pushes me on one hand to do my job and excel on it, too. The struggles and triumphs of these business people do inspire me.
The one setback, I felt bad was when my writing is talked about and the credits went to the one who signed it. A friend once told, “You have so much to give Jude. Why allow these people to use you and take away what is ‘rightfully’ yours?”
My silent answer was—I have to, in order to live as a writer. It provided food on my table and I get paid every 15th and 30th of the month.
People change. After years of writing for someone (don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against writing for someone as a ghostwriter—will explain later), I woke up one morning and realized, I need to step-out-in-faith to do what I really God wants me to do.
While I was talking to my boss, he was like saying that if I didn’t write for them—I wouldn’t get more opportunities like writing assignments. I wanted to borrow Harry Potter’s ‘invisibility cloak’ and disappear right in front of him. The hell, he was like telling me that I owe the company for all the opportunities I got. Excuse my cussing.
Frankly, I came to the company because I was getting bored with my previous company. I was simply offering something for them for free, but they saw ‘something’ in me. They wanted me on board. I did not apply for the post. That is far different from trying to get that post as oppose to offering my expertise.
After that, I have realized it is time to go. It’s of no use to continue hiding from someone else’s shadows anymore. It’s time for me to do it on my own.
Today, I do not have ghostly angst because I only write for someone as copywriter. From ghostwriting to copywriting, I find it much rewarding and encouraging at the same time. The difference is–I do not write for someone if that person would not provide me with at least something—maybe an outline or a rough draft for me to work on. In that way, when I write—it is still her or his idea, not mine. What I do–I just organize and edit the piece.