In case you're wondering why I am personally dedicated to helping writers, well, here's a brief story.
It starts with me as a struggling writer myself.
I knew I wanted to write stories way back in my second grade.
But in come college I met friends that were more obsessed than I was. They dreamt many dreams in getting into print and they were infectious at it.
I was their first and last victim, sort of.
On March 2002, we began compiling our written works for what was to become—how should I say it—the turning point of the publishing industry in the Philippines.
We were too ambitious of course. And every time, we worked on the book we went to the stars, into outer space, thinking what would be like to be a guest celebrity on a talk show discussing what this phenomenal book was all about.
The book was called BALIW, and fittingly so.
After four months work, we finished the book and sent it to three four publishers who were the only ones accepting unsolicited manuscripts at the time.
They all turned it down, saying the publishing industry—with the current health of the economy—can’t even risk a turning point.
But we didn’t stop there and we kept on writing, eventually publishing the book ourselves—in Recto!
Two years later, the dream kept on. This time we were not going to change the publishing industry with a book; we were going to do it with a magazine.
Our book may not have been published, but it did create a following.
Impressed with our boldness and our oozing confidence with our vision, we had contributing writers lining up in our small office. People in the building thought we were selling discounted doughnuts.
Foolishly enough, we didn’t know was that we needed millions of pesos to get a magazine made.
The project was turning out to be a disaster. For two years, we dodged and weaved every possible obstacle that came our way, trying to put the magazine into production.
There were problems with advertisers (they don't pay cash, but GCs); we had problems with account executives (the magazine content will not attract sponsors, they said); we had problems with our new editors (they wanted a new direction), and of course, we had problems with money--we ran out of capital.
In the end, the magazine project only made one tired, miserable and disillusioned guy who wanted to write.
Creatively, the magazine failed. And as editor-in-chief, I failed to deliver. There were many people to blame. But I was to blame too—because the values I carried when I started the project turned to become greed, vanity, money, and competition.
And so the magazine business folded… as did the book… as did everything else with my college writer friends.
But for me, the mission to help Filipino writers was far from over.
In 2010, I took a shot becoming a financial educator. The two biggest reasons I did so were to create capital for my writing projects and, secondly, to help fellow struggling writers.
This time, it's going to be different. I’m not going to publish their work for them, I’m not going to be their editor, I’m not going to transform the publishing industry.
I would just help writers save their creativity in the long term--one at a time--and maybe with a little bit of innovation.
I realized that my book and magazine projects were built with good intentions. The passion was there. The love was there. But I did them for all the wrong reasons. I forgot to help writers—I mean really help them succeed in their craft.
In the process, I invited a couple of writers joined me to become financial educators. It wasn’t easy though. Majority of the writers I met hated the idea of speaking to people (As many of us—introverts—were). Because of it, I got rejected a lot, even harshly rebuked.
Yet a few people did join and became financial educators. To be honest, the transition was difficult. They went through countless seminars and training sessions and they too met rejections from other writers.
In my mind, I thought this was a mistake and my naivety has led to another blunder.
But then something happened. When we started brainstorming—it was like magic. I realized I was with individuals cut on the same cloth.
One moment we were just exchanging ideas about how to run a financial literacy seminar; the next moment, we we’re urging each other to pursue our individual book projects using a common fund and planning a book fair in five years time.
Truly, we’ve become a full-fledged mastermind group!
What set this apart from my college writer friends was that we do not compete with each other. No one’s talent was better than the other. Instead, we encourage each other to keep on and finish the task at hand.
At this moment, I am telling you, we were on to something great here. Through our financial literacy events, we’re not just helping writers tell their stories through a publication of one book, we’re basically helping every person in the world to save their stories.
And through proper financial planning, every story can and will be a happy one.
Alas, we’re helping one writer, one story at a time.
For this reason, I am inviting writers to join me to become financial educators.
The career is a fulfilling one—where you get to save your own story (your life, your novel, your creativity, etc) and save another in the process. I know this is not magic solution that will transform the publishing industry, but who knows, if we build the right team, we might just be able to pull it off.
Now, may be your asking this: aren’t the skill sets of writers and financial educators contradictory, like, say trying pair up introverts with extroverts?
I say not at all. I’m even going to say that being a writer in this day and age will give you an edge in the financial industry. In my next blog,
To the Brave and Bold Writers: You have the Power to Change the World!
I’ll show you why you, the writer, has the best ability and potential to be a great financial educator.
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