Sunday, 3 August 2014

Don't be a Writer with Jessica Zafra

Hi everyone!
Been a while ne~?

I mentioned on my previous post, I am a fan of Jessica Zafra. I like her wit and humor, not to mention her writing style. Imagine how happy I was when Ayala Museum was able get her to conduct a talk about writing. I was beyond ecstatic! Her talk was entitled, "Don't Be a Writer." Though title sounds a discouraging, it tackles the challenges of the writing process and being a writer as well as the eventual rewards from it.

I invited my friend Nika to come along with me. She's one of my friends who I know who is also into writing. She already worked as a scriptwriter for a popular local noontime show. Cool huh? 

She first discussed what got her into writing. It was a fascinating story and really humorous. We found out that she likes a lot of Russian writers and she's more into the great classics than the modern books, though she does delve into them from time to time. I was fangirling when I learned that she, too, first read LOTR in high school. She read it Lab class and learned about Elvish language more than the periodic table. (Would you believe she graduated from a Science High School?)

Anyway here are the points she discussed during the talk:
(Topics are a copyright of Jessica Zafra and the explanation are just a brief descriptions of what she discussed.)

  1. No Job Security - Unless you have a stable day job, writing cannot guarantee you a monthly paycheck.
  2. Not Enough Readers - Let's face it, here in the Philippines, we don't have a large reading culture. Yes, there are who read but not by a large margin. And unless you’re into the YA genre, good luck being read.
  3. The Reading List is Impossible – Writing fiction is in line with the love of reading books. You want to read and at the same time you want to write. And the list of books is endless.
  4. You Have to be Alone - Not essentially "alone, alone" but when writing, it's impossible to work with somebody is reading over your shoulder or nagging that you're "not working."
  5. You Will Get Ripped Off - No matter how much hardwork you put into your writing, to others it will never seem enough.
  6. Happiness is Counter-productive - According to her, you have to be in a state of emotional turmoil in order to write. She doesn't mean utter life devastation but in a sense that you can draw a picture based on feelings.
  7. The second you think you're great, you're finished - Having published one book seems like heaven for aspiring writers but it shouldn't end there. It's hard enough to get published, let alone be at bestseller and follow it up with a nother one.
  8. You Must Be Your Own Worst Critic - This connects with number seven. "Everybody's a critic" as the adage goes, and the literary world is a cruel one. You gotta be prepared for it.

In a nutshell

Her talk was fun and engaging. Her stories when she was struggling to get published was relatable. It's encouraging to know that everyone goes through tough times and it's not smooth sailing all the way. She entertained question afterwards and I learned a lot. I was actually blown away with how many people are interested in writing. I popped up a question in Ayala Museum's  FB page if anyone is interested in starting a writer's group. No response yet but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Me, Jessica Zafra, and my good friend Nika

Hopefully, I can attend the next event. The topic is the fantasy and sci-fi genre! Whoop!

Til the next post,
~Sammy ♫

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