This site is your personal resource so you can be inspired to harness the power of your personal story. May you find inspiration to create content that is not only unique, but will move your audience and make you unforgettable.
Being a writer is hard. Being a freelance writer is even harder. Trust me, I've gone through hundreds of different projects from sports writing to copywriting for affiliate websites to publishing on Medium with an ever-shifting niche.
As a writer, you are usually trying to do two things: 1) getting writing done so you can pay the bills and continue developing your skills; and 2) trying to find your niche. Or your purpose. Or the unique thing you can do to differentiate yourself from all the other writers and freelancers.
It is HARD. Writing by itself is already a challenging task, but throw in branding, marketing, looking for work, networking, and all these other tasks that come with the territory and it becomes mind-numbingly intense.
I've been there.
In fact, I've had to rebrand myself countless times. I had to trash a few blogs, move the website, and seek out different writing platforms just so I can compartmentalize the different styles and subject matter of what I do.
But I made this site to help you - so you don't have to go through what I went through.
Let me be your buddy and show you how to succeed by telling you, not just about my successes, but about my failures.
Writing to Escape - the Power of Story
Books became my first introduction to the power of story. I was completely immersed and soon became attached to their compelling nature whether they were books, movies, or even video games.
At around ten, I wrote my first story, a spinoff of the X-Men complete with stick figure characters. It was my way of going beyond my small mountain city in the Philippines.
My dad toiled for seven days a week running our hardware business. Mother was just as busy tending to our little compound of three houses. With my Chinese grandfather’s guidance, the compound ran under close procedures like we were in a Witness Protection Program.
But I had a lot of fun even if I didn't go out as much and I was essentially sheltered.
As a teenager, I was awkward and weird and I wrote a lot of short stories, poetry, and novelettes! Concentrating in class was difficult because stories always filled my head. But while I daydreamed, I was bullied because I was a small rich kid in an All-Boys' school.
I moved to Canada and the bullying didn't stop. They made fun of my accent and laughed at my vocabulary. This made it even harder to come out of my shell.
The breaking point was being diagnosed with depression and having my mom fly all the way just to see if I was doing fine. I took my anti-depressants, drifted with many groups, and often felt out of place and left out. Until I went back to my writing.
Stories, poetry, random lists, rants. I wrote them all.
If I couldn’t experience the world, I would make my own.
And that is what writing means to me.
Early Writing Ventures
I signed up for the school paper and got in on a recommendation from the same guy who tormented me for my accent. He read what I wrote during class and was impressed. How about that?
My first piece with the Neil McNeil paper, about our demand for new cafeteria food, made my editor laugh his ass off. He also loved how I wrote and gave me a feature article space on the second page.
I worked up the nerve to go and interview students and teachers despite my social anxiety. Writing on a pen and paper was hard when your hands were shaking.
But I wrote for the paper for the rest of my stay at school. And I submitted those short stories and poems I worked on to sites like poetry.com and got offers to have them “published”.
I was on cloud nine.
And from here, I took up a writing program, got a job, and am now a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist respected around the globe. People want to be me, and they want to be with me.
Not really! Not even close.
While I was dreaming about a writing career, I missed my chance to get into any prestigious universities for journalism. I had to settle for film.
And here was when the wheels came off on the “writing dream.”
Taking a Detour – Into the Messy World of Media
I took up film at Ryerson and completed the certificate program adding screenwriting to my list of writing competencies. To this day, I still hope to pen an Academy Award-worthy script.
But being a filmmaker wasn’t for me. No, not after successfully ruining movie watching.
From here I finally got accepted to do journalism at Guelph-Humber, a new school. While I loved being around the newsroom environment again, I let myself get pressured into switching streams.
Enter Public Relations.
I learned to do media kits, write news releases, help organize events, and raise money for charities. Acing these different forms of writing was easy. But it turned out I had no interest in the world of PR.
There wasn’t enough writing.
After school, I didn’t get a job in the field. I worked in retail selling shoes and then making some amazing memories at GAP – many of which did not happen inside the store.
I was promoted into becoming a manager. This was an experience I parlayed as I went to Rogers to work as a Business Consultant, my first full-time job (shoutout to my brother for the hook-up).
Going back to school, I completed the trifecta and took marketing at George Brown.
I’m the only person I know with backgrounds in film, journalism, public relations, media, and marketing.
I worked with Rogers, the nation’s leading media service provider and landed a side-gig with Nintendo, the world’s most beloved gaming company, as a marketer.
Again, I was on top of the world. Ma, I made it.
But I still felt a void. And after having a bit of a breakdown, it all came back to me.
I needed to write again.
Pursuing the Writing Career
Why would I avoid pursuing writing as a career choice? There were many reasons, but it came down to me being afraid I would fail. And I would be miserable.
I would be going down a path that would lead me to ruin.
But if it was my passion, why did I feel this way?
I felt this way because I hated so much the idea of failing at something I loved.
But I realized that avoiding doing what you love because you’re afraid you’ll suck doing it is even worse. I can only sympathize with all those who threw away a passion to pursue another career.
Using my connections at Rogers, I landed my first big “gig”: a sports contributor to Rogers Sportsnet, the top dog of sports media. From here I began working consistently as a sports content writer.
Soon, I made enough to leave my day jobs.
For the short term.
As I found out, being a content writer required a lot of work. I would be writing for eight to ten hours a day and barely just making anything.
I was writing a lot of junk: pointless lists, click-bait articles, trendy posts. The stuff that I block out of my social media.
I developed another crisis and started to question if I truly wanted to write for a living and why I wanted to do it.
Going through Facebook groups, message boards, and writing conferences made me realize something stunning: I would die and be forgotten, and nobody would care about anything I write.
Because I’m unoriginal.
Because I’m just a run-of-the-(content)-mill
Because so many other people out there, writers or not, can replicate what I do for 10 cents on the dollar.
Upon realizing this, I had another breakdown. My fears from the past came back to haunt me: I was leading myself to a path of ruin.
I stopped writing. Again. All these projects I had: blogs, stories, articles, all put on hold. I booked a vacation back to the Philippines and I instead focused on learning more about social media marketing and investing.
I want this site to inspire you to be an authentic storyteller - whether you are a copywriter for a steel manufacturer in Hamilton or a content creator for your friend's food blog or a social influencer focused for the next big clothing brand - because you have a unique story to inspire the world.
Living in two countries, working for so many different types of businesses, learning the different forms of media, and being a crazy guy with a head filled with overwhelming amounts of ideas, it’s time I put this all together.
This site has undergone so many changes. And I regret none of it. I started doing this not knowing anything about the business or anything. But now I finally do.
I hope you find your stay here entertaining and full of useful things.
May my blog provide you with as many ideas you can find to create innovative content that sets you apart and increases your website quality, engagement, and helps you tell a heck of a powerful story that will inspire better content for the Internet.
I hope my content nourishes your brain, tickles your curiosity, and melts your heart. Or hey, if you hate it, let me know too. I’m all for feedback. The more the merrier!