I’m a teacher most of the time, and today is my last weekday “off” before I return to work. Therefore, I wanted to take a moment to process and reflect on the summer. This may or may not be of any interest to you, but whatever. This blog mostly functions as my personal writing journal which I make public for that strange (read: nonexistant) subset of the population that might be interested in my thoughts on writing.

This was not my first summer writing “full-time.” It was my fourth. So waking up every morning, sitting at my computer, and plucking words out of my head was not anything new. I was following the best advice: WRITE A LOT AND READ EVERYTHING. However, that didn’t seem to be enough. I had been doing this for a few years and was not seeing any real movement in terms of my writing “career,” rejection emails stretching the limits of Gmail’s generous inbox space.

But somewhere this summer, I felt like I turned a corner. Something clicked. I finally felt like I understood HOW to tell a story well (telling a GOOD story is another matter).

And this did not happen magically. It happened through that thing nearly all writers fear: socializing.

I went to my first writing conference in the Spring. I avoided them for a long time feeling that they were nothing but a scam.  Savvy businessmen preying on the hopes of aspiring writers. So I was nervous and feeling like a sucker. And the only Filipino. And younger than most everyone else by a few decades.

Despite my best efforts to avoid others (i.e. reading a book during down-times), I ended up meeting people. Other aspiring writers. Published authors. Agents. Hearing their thoughts on storytelling and publishing allowed me to step outside of myself, and view my writing in a different light*. I received feedback on my work, learned new things about the craft, encountered idea that set my mind in motion. Most importantly, I came to understand that writing in solitude and talking to nobody ever  was unheatlhy. It had made me stagnant.

So I still read a lot. I continue to write a lot. But my writing is different. Better (hopefully), because I sometimes leave my hovel to talk to others about writing (shout out to South Jersey Writers’ Group), and apply my new understandings to my work. It feels  like I stepped off a treadmill and onto a trail.

*This is not to say I take all of their advice to heart or begin to follow all their rules. More that my brain eats, digests, and reforms these ideas.

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