How I Started Writing
I grew up painfully shy. I hated people. I hated strangers. I developed an idea that strangers are nasty. In return, I hated school. It was a pain to go to school every day and see hundreds of students I didn’t know. Some may find that unimaginable, but that is the truth. I was also bullied in school. Bullies are like sharks, they can smell fear from a mile away. And no matter how hard I tried to hide, they always managed to find me.
It was not until my second year in high school when I started thinking about the world beyond my own. I needed something to take me away. I couldn’t possibly travel, I was too shy for that. And then I discovered books. I bought a book about Princess Diana, but it was my first book, and like many other firsts, I was not able to finish it. The book was a difficult one to read, so I gave up and tried writing poetry instead.
Writing down feelings in sweet words that masked my bitter reality was very comforting. I thought I was very good at it. One day, it thrilled me when our English teacher asked us to create poems. I submitted my work at the end of the class, but my teacher claimed that I cheated. She even said that I copied my work from a book. I was hurt. I knew it meant that my work was good, but that did not help me at all. I never wrote poems again.
Inside the library one afternoon, not long after, I came across a book, The Wizard of Oz. I opened it and read the first page. I became addicted to it. Finally, I found my fountain of security and happiness. Inside the fictional world of Oz, I found an escape. Inside the world, I was safe, no strangers to hurt me, bullies to tease me. For the first time, a book spoke to me and transported me away from my own reality. And that’s how I began my love affair with books. You see, to become a writer, one has to be a reader first.
Later on, I bought my second book, a biography of Marilyn Monroe. I loved it! Sitting on my bed, I discovered that I could travel back in time, and see places I could only dream of. While reading that book, I also started writing stories. My first ever attempt was about a heroine going through the same struggles as me (I think that was only natural.) But, because I didn’t know much about the principles of writing, I was not able to sustain it. I remember writing two stories that time, both reflected what I was going through at that time.
College gave me self-confidence. I realized my potentials in life, and I began to explore my talents and capabilities. It made me lost my interest in writing stories, but I continued reading. I even began building my own personal library. It was not until 2012 when I sat down and began writing a scene for the first time in many years. A scene that would transform my life.
I took up my pen because I needed to process feelings I could not sort out inside my head. I needed to write a novel, to be the narrator of a story similar to mine–to look at things in the eyes of someone else so I could see my way through. Two years later, I quit my job and decided to focus on how to become a better writer. I got accepted as a freelance writer, and I was given ghostwriting projects that helped me develop my craft. I was very fortunate to have been given an editor who was very generous to me. He taught me many things about writing. He was my very first writing mentor. Above all, he gave me encouragement. He acknowledged my abilities and selflessly went out of his way to mold it into a more effective tool.
So, now I am working at home. A freelance writer. It was a scary leap, but it was the best decision I made. I may not be earning a lot of money like before, but I am happier. I wake up each day knowing my characters are waiting for the next scene. I write about the things I like. I never have to worry about other people–people in the office I never liked. I work alone, and I surround myself with characters that represent everything I love about this life.
I still have a lot to learn, but the most important thing is, I am happy.