There was one afternoon when I told myself: “Everyone has the chance to follow what they truly desire but only a few are willing to go through the struggle.”


Especially when you are born to thrive in the path of arts, it is highly encouraged  that you are intended to repress your muses as you are forced to take the college course that could land you a job with stable income.

In my country, the top-selling art business is music and entertainment. Performing arts actually becomes a stable income job if you get hired by mainstream media agencies especially in television. Meanwhile, the other forms of arts such as literature, design, painting and other visual pieces are, sadly, underappreciated. Most of the brilliant artists reside in universities to form young minds as respected professors while others who worked hard first to earn money successfully established their own commercial studios.

As stated, the top-selling arts is music so the aspiring musically-inclined artist could make it to the mainstream scene if he or she does it right. One way is to join reality singing contests wherein being exposed could actually open opportunities. Even if the contestant doesn’t win, there is a chance that he or she could land a record deal.

Moving on, writing on the other hand is the most frustrating field among aspiring writers today. It is even a highly discouraged path for young people because there are not much stable-income positions in the job market.  I am grateful to my parents for letting me enroll in a writing-related course that is mass communication even if my first choice was creative writing. I realized that I could exercise and learn various writing techniques in mass communication so I enjoyed it.

I’ve known people who were frustrated in taking a course which their parents asked them to take and they were already in the senior years of their college! They were of many kinds: musicians, writers, scientists, educators and etc. but their hearts weren’t in their course. They only agreed to finish their courses in order to get a stable-income job after college but they were not fulfilled and it was surprising how their faces light up when I answer them that I write for a living.

At first, I was hesitant to answer truthfully on what I actually do since the people asking me have those “stable-income” jobs and there was I, stubbornly taking a pride in my passionate career. They get paid monthly while I wait until a client would pay for my article at the end of the day. Of course I have another job, the job that “pays the bills” and it is still connected to writing. I work as a copyeditor and we follow a fortnightly shifting schedule from 2pm-10pm or 6am-2pm. During my long breaks depending on my shifts, I write my unfinished articles and novels, take walks to gain inspiration, watch inspirations speeches and sketch anything. I figured out that the struggle of being an artist could be a choice. Sure, Van Gogh went through it differently and dedicated his whole life painting and reported to suffer poverty, rejection and insanity but who could blame him? Artists need to create all the time.

Even if I maintain a “stable-income job” that society requires, I make sure that I don’t lose myself in the process of earning money. I maintain a blog and I still write poetry at the margins of my notebooks even in the workplace. I sometimes write articles for free, which ideas were pitched in by people, because I don’t really care if it pays but I cared enough to be read.

Hearing positive feedback from people online and offline makes my heart flutter every time since they declared that they like my writing and I should keep up with it; although I wouldn’t lie, being a writer is not easy even with the endless warm compliments. I once went to a forum where two young writers voiced out their struggles. One said that he’d rather be known as a struggling writer than a successful lawyer because if he becomes successful in a field that he didn’t belong then it would feel like his whole life is a lie. Another said that he wouldn’t allow a day that he would wake up to regret that he sold himself to a corporation and earned money from something he doesn’t like doing.

I don’t know where they are right now or what they are doing since it’s been about two years since I went to that forum but I couldn’t forget what they said about the reality of being a writer in any country. They said that it is, indeed, very challenging. It could lead to poverty, depression and alienation if not properly motivated. One said that young writers need support and not advice. Let the writer write what he wants and leave him or her on what style he or she is using because in the end, he owns the piece.

I don’t know how other artists keep their muses alive in this cut-throat world but for me, I always know who really I am and no one could define me for something else. I write not to merely earn, I write because I love it and I live for it.

The naked truth about being a young writer? Exposure. Lots and lots of exposure to make it to the scene. Join contests, workshops and create a blog (I got discovered by the founders of and other companies because I write at my blog).  I wouldn’t sugar-coat it either: young writers will be rejected a lot and will receive criticism a hundredfold. It would hurt but it motivates and only the strongest ones stay on the rest.

Aside from it, be willing to get your works out if you want to be read. It’s true that getting paid very less for the first few works is frustrating but it would increase. Taking a job that could pay the bills but doesn’t neglect the artistic side could be a good idea.

And of course, young writers only succeed if they write good. How? The good old rule is to keep on reading. Read as much as you can. If you are not a reader, you will never be a writer.

Published by Royanni Miel Hontucan