What I wrote on 07/25/2011:
More important than simply being a good writer is to remember to be a good human being. Don’t neglect the important folks in our lives, and don’t take frustrations and jealousies out on them. Don’t use people, and don’t treat them as resources or conduits to bolster the CV. Reminder: there are no shortcuts. Create some amazing work, get better at creating amazing, smart, multi-layered, ambitious work, become efficient at getting the work into the world, and instead of being a social network guru or troll with a small amount of some passable work, collecting contacts like baseball cards, “let the work network.” You will eventually get to the point that editors, publishers, etc. that you respect are coming after you for work. When this happens, be grateful that it’s happening, and don’t squander the opportunity.
I’m glad I found this, and I am glad to know that while I feel like a broken record, this means I have been consistent. Also, I started out this year wanting to speak less on “industry,” and more so on kapwa.
Of course, I am still speaking on industry. I probably can’t escape this. I should just say interactions that are not human interactions but industry just exhaust me. So I want to work on the work, be a human being who writes books. I want to work through the work, and get that work into the world.
I remember at a recent literary event, one of the attendees/audience members asked me and the other writers, something to the effect of how do you know how to plan to hit career and status milestones. I don’t remember the exact question, but I do remember being a little baffled by the way it was worded. And then I thought, that’s “cart before the horse” kind of stuff. So I said, I don’t think you know; you just write. You live your life, and you write. And you see where that writing goes, what it becomes, and you see where that writing takes you.
What are human answers to questions of writing and industry, apart from just writing what’s important to you. Letting the process be organic, letting it change over time; letting yourself and your ideas and beliefs, letting your writing evolve. And if it’s important to you, and if you love it — really, truly love it — then you will handle it with care and respect and persistence. You will give it time and space to breathe and grow, all the way to completion and beyond.
Yes, I am writing about a certain purity of intention, and maybe you think it’s naive. I tell you what. I’m not naive. I’ve been bullied and verbally abused and trolled by racists and misogynists and haters for decades in this industry. And I am still here, working and propelling my work into the world because I love and believe in my work. And the finer my filter on bullshit and noise, the stronger my intention. The more I know that how it happens is just how it happens. I also believe more and more that no amount of clever maneuvering will make it happen any better.
Ruby Ibarra once posted on social media, just do what you love and things will fall into place. I love this confidence and optimism, work ethic, attention to craft, and capability. Long ago, I heard Bullet Marisigan say, we contain yari, root word of kapangyarihan.
So that’s all I wanted to share for today. Salamat po, for reading.