The Accidental Writer

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*Written in 2010*

I never dreamed of being a writer.  When I was a kid, I was sure I’d be a cartoonist and when I was in college, I was sure I’d be a newscaster. No one is more surprised at me being a writer than I.

When you are a wide-eyed probinsyana with a workaholic business woman for a mother, the thought of earning money by stringing sentences together seemed absurd. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and my mom would force the idea of taking over the family business everyday for as long as I can remember. Like a seasoned car salesman, she tried every tactic in the book to win us over and make us like what she does for a living. Essentially, she regarded her daughters as an extension of her life and we did everything we could to escape the fate of selling bolts and nuts for a living.

And we did. My sister went on to become a relatively successful fashion designer while I, well, I went on to become a humble writer. I got into writing by accident. I was not one of those artsy-fartsy people you see brooding in seedy bars on a week night, hanging out with tattooed DSLR-toting friends and discussing the trials and tribulations of suffering for one’s art.

I got into this business months after going AWOL on my first job as a production assistant for a big broadcasting company. News about working for the largest TV network in the country travels fast especially in a small, sleepy town. For once, my parents were actually glad I didn’t stay to take over the family business.

However, much to chagrin of my parents, I had to leave an otherwise promising but highly stressful job because I soon realize it wasn’t something I see myself growing old doing. It might not be a smart move, if you look at it from a professional standpoint but it was a necessary decision. I felt that I am doing myself great injustice, studying for years only to end up fetching water and bending over backwards for every whim and fancy these so called “stars” have.

I heard it so many times from my fellow production assistants, how this career is a “stepping stone” to become a director, production exec, etc. I must admit, I was hoping that gig would help me become a newscaster but deep inside, I knew it will never happen. And I was right!

Of course, my decision to leave the network was not without drama and problems. My parents got mad, production heads got mad and I almost regretted my decision. Almost.r

I spent months planning my next move and just when I was feeling like my life is over at the ripe old age of 24, a certain company took a chance on me. To my utter surprise, they offered me a job as a creative writer despite the fact that 1) I’m computer illiterate and 2) I never wrote anything remotely coherent. I daresay, I sucked at writing but I was ecstatic that I got in. Initially, I thought writing is a glamorous job.

My first day as a writer was a  fucking nightmare.

My client hated my work. He hated it so much, I was fired that very same day and I can’t blame him because I was doing something that was so alien to me. I never saw a porn film from start to finish until that night. The experience almost shell-shocked me straight to resignation but a quick thinking HR manager sat me down and we had a long talk about my “potential”. I was sent to another client who loved my work and that’s basically how one probinsyana turned into a bonafide porn writer.

It was a great gig, writing porn reviews, descriptions and all that shebang. It paid the bills, I enjoyed what I did for a living and somehow proud that I am a porn writer, something that’s frowned upon in this God forsaken third-world country. I wrote anywhere from lady boys trysts to BBW orgies. You name it, I wrote it.

However, being contented with what I do was soon replaced by yearning for something more meaningful. I wanted to write things that people actually want to read, not because the texts got in the way of all that boobs and semen. The problem with writing porn is that people care less about quality and coherence. As long as you include the words bazongas, love juice, pleasure pole and the likes in every sentence, no one really cares about the content. As much as I loved what I did, I decided to move away from porn and start working as a *gasp* mainstream writer.

The transition was not entirely pleasant. I found myself out of my league. Mainstream people are overly critical of one’s work and it was a huge blow to my ego. As soon as I stopped peddling smut, I started honing my skills. I survived, forced myself to improve and six years later, I’m still here, typing like a maniac on my newly purchased pink laptop.

Now when I think about it, that long talk with my then HR manager was the turning point for me. I’m positive that I wouldn’t give writing another shot then until she and I got talking.

Some say artists are born not made but for others like me, they can be made. Story of my life, man.

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Tina Lee-Almazar | Tinaciouslee

Tina Lee-Almazar is a writer and editor based in the Philippines. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting from Centro Escolar University in Manila. She started out as a production associate at ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network in 2004 before transitioning to creative writing in 2006. Her years of experience as a writer resulted in having considerable knowledge in a variety of writing fields. When she’s not surrounding herself with pretty things or discussing herself in the third person, Tina watches funny cat videos all day.

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