I Wanna See Me Be Brave

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I finally gathered enough courage to write this article. It’s been on my mind the past few months, and I’ve been stalling because frankly, I didn’t know how to conclude it. Luckily, Bo Sanchez had a talk about the same topic I had in mind, and it gave more clarity to what I wanted to say.

He said that it is in your 20’s and below that you should be the bravest. It is at this time that you should try to establish a new business, endeavor to check things off your bucket list, and learn a new skill because it is the period where you have the least exposure to risk, having presumably no family of your own to be responsible for.

Sadly, this was not entirely the case in my situation. Yes, I did start very young with a business (in my high school years, I opened a drinks stall in a school canteen), but I got comfortable very early on as well. I married in my early 20’s (age 24), which is not a regret, but it probably added to the feeling of being cared for. I finished my Masters’ early, which was probably one of the scariest things I did because I had to relocate to a different country. But was going through all these a stretch for a twenty-something person? Looking back at it, I think not. Now that I am approaching my 40’s, I’m kind of wishing I was more daring in a creative way.

I blame the Millennials for my insecurity. I saw this 20-something guy publish his own fantasy novel (a secret dream of mine) on his own. No publisher, no editor, just himself and a cover artist, exposing his guts to the world. And I bought a copy out of curiosity. It was riddled with grammatical errors, the plot was too convoluted—in short, I wasn’t able to finish it. I messaged the author, congratulating him for the effort, but mentioning that he should probably hire an editor. Unapologetically, he admitted that he didn’t have an editor, and that maybe he’d look into it when the book ran for a second print. A second print! How hopeful! And this is not the only example we see out there. Wattpad authors are getting younger and younger. And from the format of Wattpad itself, it’s safe to assume that their stories are very rarely edited. In fact, I think it’s as close to raw as possible. Maybe it gets a little brush-up once someone takes interest in their stories and publishes it on paperback, but as far as conventional writing and publishing are concerned, seasoned writers and editors will say that this is not the way to go.

Even on Facebook, you see so many startup companies owned by young people, producing their own crafts, handling events, selling fashion, building their brand, etc. etc. And I am floored by how fast things are going. Bo has confirmed my fears. He says in a couple of years, the jobs we used to do would become obsolete, and so we have to update our skills. In a few years (read: 2), I’ll be forty! And it’s only now that I should learn all these sh*t?! Sorry for the crassness, but fudge! How do I catch up (imagine me pulling my hair from its roots)?

But this year, I vowed I would put myself out there. I will publish a book on my own. I will face up to those who will criticize it and say that hell yeah, I’ll put the corrections in on my second print! Yes, my SECOND PRINT! Hehehe. Of course, I am not unconscionable. I will have it edited by an editor. But having said that, it’s still a big risk because I know I’ll be exposing myself to the harshness of social media, the judge-iest of judges. Because if I don’t do it now, I just might find myself outdone by an 8-year old. This is the start of a braver me, hopefully.

To the future titas of Manila (aka OD, KT, Val, Freya, Bobbie, Rory), I am inviting you to my book launch somewhere in September at the Manila International Book Fair. My book’s not done yet, but inviting you gives me the kick in the butt that I need to make sure I push through with it. See you gals there!

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