The Big Decision
Did you know that my author name is an anagram? I don’t mean Phenomenal Pen. I mean Mon D Rea. If you shuffle the letters, you get… Dream On.
So that’s what I want this story to be: both a testament and a BTS (Behind The Scenes, calm down Bangtan Boys fans) instruction manual of sorts to all the dreamers out there, especially the artists and wordsmiths like me. You know who you all are.
I’m not gonna start from the very beginning. I don’t wanna make you vom or doze off with too much info. But I am gonna start at a turning-point in my writing career, which is what most writing how-tos would tell you. Start with some tension or conflict.
Never start too far from the end or the climax or you and your readers might get lost.
To get right into the action, we all need to go back to the year 2017. That was when I was faced with a very important decision. By then, I had written five fantasy novels about a reaper, a time-travelling zombie, ninjas with elemental powers, and oneironauts (dream travelers).
It wasn’t so bad considering that, before 2017, I only had about 3 years to bulk up my writing portfolio. So 5 divided by 3 years equals… an average of 1 book every 7 months. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Wait. Back up. Let me make a little clarification about my writing speed: I haven’t always been a fast writer. I used to be a slowly-but-surely tortoise just like many beginner authors out there. I know what it’s like to spend years on my masterpiece.
But you know what I discovered later on? All those years that you took writing your first book? Most of them were not spent writing or planning. They were spent on building another career that was perfectly independent of writing, on battling writer’s block and slump and, well, you know, for all the other times that life got in the way of art.
Don’t get me wrong about having a career other than writing. That’s a really good thing. It’s like a safety net or a Wayne Enterprises to your double life as a writer.
If you think being a professional writer is a quick-money-making machine, there’s a chance you’re in the wrong business, dude. I think nothing else captures the nearly thankless vocation of writers better than this quote from the biopic Rebel in the Rye:
“But here's the catch. You still may never publish… You may spend the rest of your life being rejected. And now, you have to ask yourself a question. Are you willing to devote your life to telling stories knowing that you may get nothing in return? And if the answer to that question is no well, then, you should go out there and find yourself something else to do with your life because you're not a true writer.”
Yeah, yeah, I know I said Dream On is the mantra of this chapter. But you’ve got to set your expectations right otherwise your dream might end up a nightmare.
Also, I’m not sure if you caught it but I used to be purely a fantasy author. The Boyfriend App was my first ever foray into romance. Surprising, huh? So what made me switch from penning fantasy to penning love stories? More to it, why do I keep writing YA (Young Adult) stories?
Before I can explain to you how I made this huge decision, first you need to know my exact frame of mind as an author in 2017.
Stay tuned for my next update on the labyrinthine journey of The Boyfriend App – from brain to bookshelf!