How My Writing Career Began + Some Important Lessons

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It’s already been five years since I had my very first writing project outside school and I still remember everything so well.

Back then, I was still an undergrad student at UP Diliman. I was on my fourth year, taking up BA Creative Writing and I was eager to find writing opportunities outside school. Then, one day, I just received a Facebook message from Pocholo “The VoiceMaster” Gonzales, saying he was in need of writers to collaborate with.

Of course, I accepted the invitation. The next thing I knew, I was already at the CreatiVoices Productions in Makati City, meeting him in person and talking about this future projects. We didn’t talk about payment or money during our first meeting. Honestly, I wasn’t after that even though I was broke. The only thing I wanted was to put my talent to good use and test whether it would be useful in the so-called real world.

And that was the beginning of it. In the summer of the same year, I started writing web copies for CreatiVoices Production’s official website, as well as some scripts for AVPs the company was working on. He also introduced me to lots of people, who later on helped me get writing projects.

Awesome, right? Now let me tell share to you some important things I realized from this humble beginning of mine. I hope you can get something from them, too.

You need just need to give it a shot.

My life could not have changed so drastically if I didn’t take that opportunity. It was scary at first, of course. But let’s admit it! You’ll never know what’s in there for you if you’re not going to set foot in it. However, you still have to be very careful. In my case, I tried to ask around first to get some information about Sir Pocholo first, since I had to make sure it wasn’t a scam or something. Turns out, he’s a former student of my thesis adviser.

It’s not all about the money.

When I first showed up at CreatiVoices Productions, I wasn’t really thinking about money. After all, I wasn’t expecting to get paid without any experience. In fact, I thought of it as some sort of an internship program, though which I’d learn about writing’s many applications outside school and eventually build my writing portfolio. No doubt, I was so surprised when he offered me writing gigs after a few weeks. Maybe he was just testing how sincere and passionate I was.

So what’s the moral lesson here? Simple: Don’t be so entitled, especially if you don’t have any experience yet. As someone who holds a creative writing degree and makes a living through writing, I believe that writers should be paid justly. However, if you don’t even know a thing about the industry, then you might want to gain some substantial experiences first or at least build your own portfolio, so companies would be confident to hire you.

You have to surround yourself with the right kind of people.

I would have not made it this far if it weren’t for the people who helped me, seriously. Honestly, I cannot even imagine what life would had the Universe failed to (or decided not to) send them along the way. These were the people who imparted important knowledge to me and patiently waited until I was already able to learn stuff that I had to do to complete certain projects. They were also the one who fed me when I was broke and introduced me to more individuals who could also help me one way or another.

I might not have been the richest and the coolest kid in the world, but I was so lucky for having met (and staying friends) with them.

You have to listen and make the most of every learning opportunity.

Just because you’re from a good school (and you always get good grades) doesn’t mean you can already be entitled and bitchy, especially when you start working. Keep in mind that other people know more things than you do. After all, not everything can be learned within the four walls of the classroom. You may be equipped with all the important theories but without practice, they would just be futile.

What to do? Shut up and listen. Make the most of every learning opportunity. When I was started working for CreatiVoices Productions, I realized how much more I needed to learn to be a productive citizen. Sure, I was equipped with ample knowledge in writing (thanks to my awesome profs), but I wasn’t really aware of how to make use of all those knowledge to make a living. So what I did was to listen and ask if I didn’t understand anything. I also asked for templates if I really didn’t know what to do. In fact, that was how I learned how to write AVP scripts.

It pays to be a good person.

One of the best things I learned in college is to always, always go for what makes me a better person. (Thanks, Sir Capili!) And yes, that’s really important. Even if the Universe keeps on sending you the right people, things won’t just work if you’re an a**hole. Definitely, I would not be able to get enough help from awesome people if I had bad attitude. We wouldn’t even be friends.

Be positive. Be nice and courteous. Just don’t be a doormat.

 

I am a sure there are a lot more things I need to learn in this world and in the industry I am part of but I am glad to share these things to anyone who also wants to give writing a try.

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