“Some people write because they want to say something. But you have to write because you have something to say.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
Writing has always been my passion. My constant companions are these loud voices in my head that clamor for attention. And as I start to write to heed their urgent call — as words turn into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into pages, and pages into articles —, these loud voices gradually transform into soft whispers. Until, finally, at the last dot, silence – absolute, comfortable and fulfilling silence – pervades every last cell of my brain, every last recess of my heart, and every last fiber of my soul.
I am done.
And, for a while, I could rest my weary mind and numb fingers…..until another group of voices decide to make their presence felt and invade my peaceful space.
This burning passion, coupled with my desire to share my written works with other people, in the hopes of somehow touching their lives and positively inspiring them, was what galvanized me to put up my blog, Mom On A Mission, a year ago.
Yes, Mom On A Mission has just turned one year old!
It has already been a year since I decided to ignore the paralyzing fear and doubt gnawing at my guts. I was scared to death that, after baring my soul through my articles, people would decide that my written words were not worth their while after all. (For my first articles, the ever-present hashtags were #ChasingMyDream, #BaringMySoul and #IgnoringMyColdFeet.)
But then, I stumbled upon a website of a certain Bryan Hutchinson, the author of Writer’s Doubt, where I got some of the most helpful tips that aspiring writers like me needed to hear.
- Don’t overthink things. Just write.
- Don’t aspire to be the best writer. Just try to be the best writer that you can possibly be.
- Fear is a prompt, not a block. When you use your fear as a prompt, it loses its power to block.
- If you want to be a writer, have courage, be fearless, have conviction, be audacious.
- Feedback can be helpful, but criticism never is. Ignore the noise.
- We’ve got to stop holding ourselves back. No one else can do it for us.
- Allow your passion to breathe through your writing.
- The most important lesson for a writer is to stop seeking perfection and approval.
- Saying “Yes” to writing means saying “No” to fear and doubt.
So, I took the plunge to chase my life-long dream. I stepped out of my comfort zone and slew my demons. I started to blog.
Initially, I was such a meticulous and painstaking blogger that there were three editors that my articles had to rigidly pass through before I would finally decide to have them published on my blog — my husband Roel for accuracy, my daughter Lala for grammar and sentence structure, and my friend Bien for the technical aspect of blogging. Over time, though, I gained enough confidence and basic know-how. I can proudly claim that I can post an article on my own now. Yay!
THE ARTICLES I PUBLISHED ON MY BLOG
As a mother who finds joy in sharing my experiences as the mom of three lovely kids, my first articles focused on the challenges and delights of motherhood.
*Adolescence 101: Don’ts for Parents of Teens
*Adolescence 102: Things Teens Wish Their Parents Would Realize, Asap!
*Bond of Brothers
*Adolescence 103: The Perks of Having Teens Around (Part 1)
*Adolescence 103: The Perks of Having Teens Around (Part 2)
*My Letter for My Daughter
*A Parent’s Tug of War (Between Holding On and Letting Go)
*Of Teens and Raging Hormones
I also wrote about love and romance as inspired by my carefully nurtured relationship with my husband.
*Keeping the Flame of Love (And Romance!) Ablaze
*Tula Ng Pag-ibig at Pagmumuni-muni
Special events –personal or otherwise- inspired me to don my writer’s hat, too.
*My firstborn’s 20th birthday which also marked my and my husband’s 20th year as parents
*Two years after Typhoon Yolanda heavily devastated the country
*Thanksgiving and the town fiesta of my hometown, Bagac Bataan
*Three articles for the Christmas season
*The 30th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution
*World Kidney Day
*National Women’s Month
*World Autism Month
*My 43rd Birthday
I came up with political articles in line with the national elections that happened in May of this year.
*An Open Letter for First-Time Voters
*On How to Spot A Trapo
*The 10 Commandments for Political Candidates
*An Open Letter for Mayor Digong Duterte
*An Open Letter for VP Binay
*An Open Letter for Sec. Mar Roxas
*An Open Letter for Congresswoman Leni Robredo
*A Mother’s Worst Fear
*An Open Letter for My Fellow Filipinos
I resorted to writing during my personal struggles.
*Our family’s battle with Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease
*How I Confront Hypothyroidism
*Losing a Furry Loved One
*Counting My Blessings During My Surgery for Gallbladder Removal
My blog also became my outlet in expressing my opinions and beliefs.
*My Stance on the Issue of LGBT
*Why the Philippines Should Be Considered the Ultimate Traveller’s Haven
*The Choice of Looking at Things in a Positive Way
*On Drug Addiction and How It Should Be Treated
Realizing that our lives are stories heavily laden with lessons from which other people could learn, I started writing and sharing articles based on other people’s real-life stories.
*The Consecutive Deaths of Both Parents
*A 3-year-old Boy’s Courageous Fight Following a Near-Fatal Car Accident
*A Couple’s Countless Struggles Before They Celebrated Their Golden Wedding Anniversary
*A Tragedy That Took the Lives of Seven College Freshmen
*A Girl Who Is Travelling the World Through Her Music
MY REWARDS AS A BLOGGER
Coming up with a satisfactory blog article once a week (mediocrity is a foreign concept for Mom On A Mission) requires remarkable discipline and considerable time on my part. I usually spend long hours for research or for drafting of questionnaires, and much longer hours for the actual writing. And this, for a stay-at-home mother like me, could pose a real challenge.
But hard work, indeed, pays off.
As of today, I have already been able to publish a total of 52 articles, including this one — 52 articles for the 52 weeks in a year. (Yay, goal achieved!) Also, based on my stats page, my articles have, so far, already earned 36,200+ views and a little less than 20K shares from 29,600 unique visitors. (My most-viewed article is The 3-year-old Mighty Warrior with 8,177 hits, while the most shared is the An Open Letter for Sec. Mar Roxas with 4K+ shares.) They have also reached even the smallest, farthest and least known countries on the map. Before Mom On A Mission, I was not aware that countries such as Barbados, Mozambique, Congo-Brazzaville and Cayman Islands existed. I don’t have Facebook friends in Kenya, Nigeria, Algeria, Jamaica, Cyprus, India, Bermuda, etc. But, apparently, there are people from all these countries who follow my blog! And I am quite proud to say that my blog achieved all these without having to spend a single centavo for ads to boost my reach/readership. I just happen to be in the company of the most fantastic, most loyal and most supportive friends, readers and followers. Thank you, guys!
But more than the stats, the most important reward that I could possibly receive as a blogger is the knowledge that my works manage to affect many lives, and inspire many people in a positive way.
I have been referred to as a powerful wordsmith and ink-slinger, an inspiration, a blessing, a kindred spirit, a great mind, a parenting guru, a passionate writer, a witty and talented blogger, a woman of intellect, someone who has given people a voice, etc. But what really warms my heart is when I receive private messages – either from people I know or from complete strangers – to let me know how my articles have affected them. I made them laugh, I made them pause and think, I made them feel guided and empowered, I made them realize that they are not alone, I made them aware and furious, I made them act.
Their messages serve as my instant mood-lifters and morale-boosters, and when words wouldn’t flow freely and come to me easily, they are my source of much-needed inspiration.
When someone asks me if he can use one of my articles in a guidance counselling seminar, or if he can share it in a parents’ assembly, or if he can borrow some of my words for a birthday message he is writing for his daughter, or if he can share the link to my blog on his foundation’s page, I am, of course, flattered. But when someone from a Filipino community newspaper in New Zealand gets in touch with me because they are interested to publish my articles on a regular basis, well, I can’t help getting ecstatic! And when I saw my first article in print? It was heavenly. It gave me an exhilarating, out-of-this-world, heady feeling. It brought a silly grin to my face, color to my cheeks, and a twinkle to my eyes. It kept me writing even during those times when I don’t feel confident enough to write.
All the free exposures and endorsements I get manage to land me jobs that actually pay. I have been commissioned to edit manuscripts, translate manuals, and write content articles (I was once offered a teaching job, too!). This is an unexpected bonus, as I only decided to dip my toes into blogging to satiate my thirst for writing. Life, really, could be full of surprises!
Another reward? My brain immensely benefits from my consistent writing. I really need to flex my mental muscles if I want to keep on bringing to the table blog articles that are witty, informative, inspiring and heartwarming. (Otherwise, I would be short-changing my readers and that’s a big no-no for me.) All that muscle-flexing makes sure that I don’t suffer from mental stagnation or be a potential candidate for dementia.
Additionally, being the kind of blogger that I am makes my family immensely proud of me (though I don’t think that they will openly admit it, ever). My Tatay and Nanay, my siblings, my husband, and even my kids tell me that they are often approached by their peers and colleagues when I publish an article. There was even this one instance when Roel heard his officemate telling me that his wife follows my blog. I thought my husband would pound his chest, ala-Tarzan, right there and then!
Finally, writing articles based on other people’s real-life stories makes me realize a lot of things. I know now that all of us have crosses to bear. Some may be heavier than others, but the real difference lies on how each of us carries it. Some people carry theirs while ranting and complaining every step of the way. Others carry theirs while questioning why they have to accomplish such an arduous task in the first place. Still, others carry theirs gracefully, with gratitude and faith in their hearts, and consequently inspiring others to do the same.
I also realize how precious life really is. Nobody knows when the Creator will decide to get it back, so we should make the most out of it.
For my part, I endeavor to spend with my family as much time as possible, to choose happiness and kindness and humanity as often as possible, and to leave this world (or what little of this world I am presently occupying) as bearable as possible — and maybe a little bit better.