I have no qualms about sharing my thoughts to complete strangers on the Internet—that’s why I have a public Twitter account. And If you look at my timeline, there’s a lot of profanity, subversive opinions, subtweets, failed attempts at being funny, comments on movies, a smattering of shutdowns, and the usual boring shit like what I’m doing or where I’m at.
What you won’t find in my timeline, however, are New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that I don’t have any, but I just don’t want to unwittingly jinx my plans.
I envy people who post Facebook statuses about how they’ve already booked a flight to Thailand, or those who share their plans on how to get fitter and sexier this year. Maybe it’s the pessimist in me, but I want to keep my plans to myself until I am sure that they will happen. The more I feel uncertain about reaching a goal, the more secretive I get. This is why I’m not in marketing.
So when I decided that 2013 was going to be a year of learning new things, I didn’t announce any of my plans on Facebook or Twitter. I just set goals for myself—write every day, learn a new language, play a musical instrument, take scuba diving lessons, read a new book every two weeks, and update this blog every week.
I didn’t get to do all of those things, except for enrolling in French classes and writing daily—the latter one I even cheated in. At times I would find myself writing two or three entries in a row after skipping a day or two of writing. But by the end of March, I grew more confident that I could follow a daily writing routine for the rest of the year. That was when I started telling my friends about it without the fear of a jinx.
While some journals are meant to be kept secret, I wrote mine, thinking that someone might read it someday. Thus I was initially compelled to censor myself, but eventually scrapped the notion. I did try to avoid writing about myself as much as possible though, because that would be so boring. Instead, I wrote travel notes and reviewed movies and TV shows. I put down my thoughts on divisive topics people talked about, and crafted future literary masterpieces, like the one I did on the art of pooping.
And when I did write something about myself, it was more on how I was feeling at a particular time. I reflected on why I felt that way and tried to learn from it, instead of just narrating how shit went down.
I learned that my grammar sucks, and that when you’re out of ideas, even the most trivial things could be interesting. I learned how powerful words are and how good sentence construction helps in getting ideas across. I learned that my writing is far from good. But more than anything, I realized how much I love writing.
I read a quote somewhere that goes something like, “What you do instead of your actual work is your job.” There’s another one that says, “The first thing that you do in the morning is the thing that you love the most.” And for me that’s writing. The fact that I spent my last day of vacation writing about writing is testament to that.
I feel that the age of 25 is a little late to discover what you really love to do. But I take inspiration in the successes of such writers as Bram Stoker, José Saramago and Mark Twain, who all started their writing careers later in life. Actually, I’m a step ahead of Saramago because his writing routine involved writing only two pages every day; I write 3. HA! (But quality over quantity, I know.)
My friend asked me what I plan to do in the future, and I couldn’t give an answer for fear that he might scoff at me if I told him that “I want to write.” And I’m sure some of you are scoffing right now because I’m being ridiculous.
Realizing that I want to be a writer also meant realizing how infinitely scary it is to admit it. It’s as if you’re exposing the most vulnerable part of yourself. I am scared of people mocking me and belittling my dreams of becoming a writer. But I really should stop worrying because no one really cares. And I should use that to my advantage and improve on writing while no one’s looking.
I still don’t know what to do to become an actual writer. What does an “actual writer” even mean? I know I should read more. I want to keep on blogging. Maybe this year we’ll probably meet that one-blog-post-a-week goal?
I want to write for popular websites like Rookie, Hello Giggles or Rappler. I want to write like Rookie editor and American teenage goddess Tavi Gevinson, or my movie soul sister Anne T. Donahue. I want to write with wit and humor like Joyce Wadler. I want to write fiction. I want to have a book of essays like Jessica Zafra.
I’m not afraid of sharing these with you because these are all dreams, not plans.
And jinxes don’t work on dreams.