I can’t write, but…
It was all for the money, the fame, the name.
I wasn’t born with a talent for writing. My marriage with pen and paper, or, rather, keyboard and screen, started with a passion that was little to none. I was just writing for the money and, perhaps, for that little byline.
I never thought blogging would be my thing. It was a bit surreal, bizarre. In my first three months as a paid blogger, it was pure hell, I must say. I didn’t know what to do or what to expect. My boss would just give me instructions, then boom, he expected me to deliver.
What people didn’t know then was that I wasn’t born to write. I didn’t have the talent or the skills, and my grasp of the English language was hardly spectacular. I was full of insecurity and fear. I was driven by uncertainty. You can just imagine the horror I felt every time I passed my I-don’t-know-how-to-explain blog posts.
I was like a baby learning to crawl, walk, and eventually run. But what I felt I had to do then was to run from what seemed to be a weird situation, go on with my life and do something that I really love. I thought that would be easy, but it wasn’t.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou just hit it right there, in the middle of my brain, pushed directly to my heart.
It was so simple yet so powerful. I felt it. I reconsidered. I tried again.
Maya Angelou didn’t give my writing an instant fix. She just helped me realize that I have this burning desire to unleash some untold stories that perhaps, just perhaps, people can relate to. For me, it was a good start; it was enough reason to cling to my wobbly, vague blogging career.
Then I learned it was a process. I started to understand that people are great not because they were born great. I started to believe that even if some people were not born with natural talent, skills can be developed so long as they are persistent. And right there, from that moment, I held to that small belief and continued with my dear life, with blogging at the center of it.
I learned from Ernest Hemingway that “the first draft of anything is sh-t.” You can’t make a masterpiece without flaws and errors. You can’t easily turn a few good words into one magical sentence. It will always be hard. You will be put to the test. You will even question yourself, your patience and your motivation. You will wonder when your mediocrity will end and when your efforts will pay off.
It will, just hang on. Mine did.
With my eagerness to become a good, if not excellent, blogger, I read more books, blogs, news and whatnot. It was needed. You cannot be a writer without enjoying and learning from the works of other writers. It has to be part of the process and of your journey in solidifying your marriage with pen and paper (or, rather, keyboard and screen).
When I read a good book or even just a well-written blog, I always ask how on earth the writer came up with such a beautiful story.
It takes heart, it takes soul.
They have it. They have a heart that beats to write and a soul to touch another soul through writing. They are just wired differently, so differently that you can’t fathom what runs in their creative minds. They are living proof that words are beautiful, that a sentence can make an impact and that a story can make the world so boundless.
So I pondered. I gave it time. I asked myself: Do I have it? Am I wired to write?
Literally, I have a heart and soul. But are they for writing? Do I have a passion for it?
There are instances in life when things don’t seem to work out. Everything seems to be falling apart. While it was perhaps one of the darkest parts of my life, I found comfort and realization in it.
I wrote what I felt. I let my emotions pour out, with keyboard and screen as fitting companion. Never mind the lapses, never mind the errors. What was important was this: It was like having a newfound friend who patiently listened to my rants and raves, without question, without prejudice.
Then it happened. I found myself waking up each day full of anticipation and a desire to write. I lost count of the stories and blog posts I wrote. I admit, those little accomplishments of mine were a bit of garbage, something that editors would not publish. But it didn’t matter. It doesn’t have to matter. I kept them and reread them after months. I even laughed at them. But I learned—from my errors, from my mediocrity.
Getting back to writing after three months has been a strategy. It helped me see my lapses and improve on them, ultimately turning them into publication-worthy posts. It took time but it didn’t matter, because settling for average is not my thing, not anymore.
With some showing faith in my newfound passion, I found a good reason to believe that I have a place in the world of writing. I never expected it. I never saw it coming.
This is always the story I tell the student interns at the
online news site I work for. And this is the same story I want to share with those people for whom writing is a struggle but who continue to nurse their passion.
I may not know you, but we have somehow walked the same path and traveled the same journey. It is my ardent hope that you find what I found—the desire to keep writing, because that’s the only way that you will get better.
Andre Dubus II was so right when he said, “When you finish a draft of a poem, or short story, or novel, you make sure you go out and celebrate all night long because whether the world ever notices or not, whether you get it published or not, you did something most people never do: You started, stuck with and finished a creative work. And that is
You are already triumphant, but how you will claim full victory depends only on you. But it would take a lot of hard work and patience, of prayer, and of a relationship with God.
Nancy Almasco, 24, writes for the new media site Manila Channel and runs the website of a local politician. A communication graduate, she describes herself as “a freelance blogger who loves to write anything that captures the heart and imagination of people.”
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