Writing Fiction Again

I am happy that I am writing fiction again, and here are the doubts and realizations that have led me back to this place. Though I am an art reporter who regularly churns out newspaper articles on a weekly basis, I am pretty rusty when it comes to writing fiction. I stopped writing fiction ever since I started working. On some level, it was a choice, and on some level, it wasn’t.

When I wrote short stories for my classes in college, I felt like I was merely “performing” like “oooh look at me, I can write”. My pieces were appreciated by my classmates and teachers because they did show off my skills as a writer, but on a personal level, they felt empty. I didn’t know why I was writing fiction, I didn’t know what I wanted to write about, and I didn’t know what I wanted to say.

So when my job took a toll on my time, I welcomed this “responsible” reason to quit fiction. I began loving my work as a reporter as I found a purpose and a meaning behind writing. Instead of inventing stories out of nothing, I began telling other people’s stories. Many of them were interesting subjects, but they didn’t have the capacity to analyze their personal experiences and structure those memories into a compelling narrative. So whenever I wrote an article, I felt like I was helping communicate their stories to the public. I was telling real stories.

I enjoyed my new role so much that at some point I thought about not ever writing fiction again. Fiction was a useless shit of the imagination, a story that had no real point or purpose to it, a story that needn’t be invented.

At the back of my mind though, there was a tiny hope that writing about real people and events would hone my skills to write fiction. I read a quote somewhere which said something about how a writer needed to live first before he or she could write fiction. It’s like painting where artists needed to learn the rules, paint realistically, before they can let go and do all their abstract creations. Of course, others don’t go that path, but I was willing to try it out.

Then, I watched Anonymous, a Virgin Labfest play by Liza Magtoto. It was a play about a girl who was being extorted by a guy she once slept with. If she doesn’t give him what he wants, he will release their sex video, something that he recorded without her knowledge. I realized that this is what I wanted to write about–I wanted to tell women’s stories.

Being a feminist, I realized that one of the challenges of the movement is educating people. Many feminists write these intelligent articles about the issues that women face, but if you’re not a feminist, then there’s a less likely chance that you would voluntarily read a feminist article.

On the other hand, people always like to read fiction, and if through that story, you learn about women’s lives and become educated about the incorrect stereotypes on women, the double standards that women face, and the issues women contend with, then you will sympathize better with the cause.

So I made a decision to write women’s stories, but I couldn’t. It felt forced.

Then I remembered something that an artist told me. His artworks had an environmentalist bend, but when he set out to create it, he didn’t have this intention in mind. He was just attracted to the materials and he played around with the things he amassed. The environmentalist concerns surfaced naturally because they were issues that he thinks about.

So I thought, maybe I’ll just write, and maybe the things I know will surface naturally. There are days when I still have doubts about writing fiction, but I can’t let this go without trying. I am curious to know if I can do this, and there is that desire to want to be validated as a “pure writer”, someone who can create something out of nothing. Then again, everything comes from somewhere.

More Writing Exercises and Adventures:

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Note: For some entries in this blog, a few names and details have been deliberately and willingly changed by the author. This is a personal decision made by the author for specific reasons known to her and is not an endorsement for censorship.

All the opinions expressed in this page and in this blog are my own and do not represent the official stances of the companies, institutions, and organizations that I am affiliated with. Why? Because tangina, I’m a person. I’m not just a manifestation of corporate interests. I have an identity that is separate from my company because even if human beings are paid for a service by corporations, human beings are not owned by corporations. For my salary, masyadong mura ko naman binenta ang pagkatao ko.

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