They say there’s no such thing as a frustrated writer. That as long as one writes, then one can be considered a writer. I wanted believe this so bad, but then oftentimes it felt like the fulfillment of being a writer comes from the fact that someone actually takes the time to read what I write. This sense of fulfillment I started to enjoy when I published my very first book. How and when did I start writing? Let me tell you my story.
Yellow pads, scratch papers and magazine cutouts.
I spent my high school days way before the Wattpad era. Even so, my classmates and I were already fond of our own written stories. Fan fiction was the most popular among us – we’d write stories with Backstreet Boys, Hanson, The Moffatts and N’Sync as characters (well you could guess how old I am now, hahaha!). If you spent your teenage years in this era too, then you mighy be familiar with the cutouts of Bop magazine – you’d fill in the blanks with adjectives and nouns and right after, a short story on how you allegedly spent the weekend with your favorite star would be revealed.
Textbooks and R.L. Stine Made Me Love Books
I wasn’t your Hermione-type of student, but I must admit I found my history text books quite fascinating. It felt like they take me to place and back in time. I upgraded a bit when I discovered copies of R.L. Stine’s YA horror books in the school library. It fascinated me so much that I was encouraged to write my own version of high school horror story, featuring me, my classmates and… our crushes! Hahaha the story could be read right here (it’s in Tagalog). I’m glad to have this retrieved because the original manuscript was confiscated by our journalism teacher 😂.
Wattpad Stories Became Popular
I didn’t focus on writing in Wattpad, because I felt like I was too old for that (seriously). That, and the fact that I didn’t have the time because I was already employed. I noticed that most readers are teenagers and the things they want to read were way different from what I wanted to write. This is also the time when I already started to fill my bookshelf with books in all kinds of genre (except sci-fi) and wanted to write something that I haven’t read before. Soon, I was writing my own romance story.
Rejections Are All Part Of It
Destiny Cheated Me was originally titled Soulmates, and I submitted its first manuscript in a publishing company known for publishing romance books (no, it’s not Precious Pages, :mrgreen:). As disheartening as it was, the manuscript was rejected. Of course, at first, I felt like I was losing it, and started thinking maybe I really wasn’t molded to write. But I just continued to read more – my fascination towards contemporary YA lit grew. Soon I was already telling myself that one day, my book will be on bookstore shelves too. I revised my manuscript, taking into account what the editor told me that I could improve on. When I felt like it was way much better than the first one, I submitted it again, to another publisher.
Destiny Cheated Me Was Printed
Lifebooks gave me my first break – it fulfilled my dream of becoming a published author. Destiny Cheated Me became my first traditionally published book! It was followed by Come and Rescue Me the following year.
Attending Workshops is a Must!
The first writing workshop I attended was the Just Write Workshop. It was a very generous offer, because number one, it’s free. Number two, it taught me a lot about what it takes to become an author – you just don’t write and write, but you also have to continue learning so to master your craft. Number three, it opened the doors for me to meet other aspiring authors who also wanted to get published. Number four, it allowed me to meet the authors of the Filipino romance books I’ve read (Ms. Mina V. Esguerra talked about publishing and Ms. Ines Bautista-Yao talked about beta-reading). Number five, the workshop gave me another opportunity to finish another story and make it available to the public. Thus, I Still… was born.
I’ve always liked Ms. Mina V. Esguerra, and so when I heard that she was conducting a workshop that dealt with writing romance, I signed up right away. It felt like I was in a whole new level of writing because the people in that class were already known in the industry of self-publishing. Self-publishing was something that I’ve always wanted to try eversince I’ve heard of it, and #romanceclass gave me that opportunity. True enough, a few months after the class has ended, If I Knew Then was released in the wild through self-publishing.
Attending workshops about books and writing have become some sort of a craving now (well, as long as it’s free or the charge is minimal). I’ve learned to believe that there’s more to being an author that just write. The workshops I’ve attended allowed me to do better in writing, know what to do next after I finished a story, meet other authors (both old and new) and discover an entirely different world than what I’ve created for myself. Reading books, on the other hand, also helps me to widen my perspective (and vocabs, too!) so there’s always something new to write.
I may have written it in a way that it sounded so simple, but the road I had ain’t easy. There were lots of heavily caffeinated sleepless nights, frustrating writer’s blocks, and even days of anxiety while waiting for that email bearing the news of you getting published or not. So if you also want to get published, bear in mind that it takes a lot of time, energy, effort and patience. But of course, the fruit is sweet.
Beth G. ❤