Chasing Dreams: Guest Post by Mina V. Esguerra

Chasing Dreams logo

Chasing Dreams is a feature about pursuing a career path that you’re passionate about and going after your dream job.

I’ve talked about Mina V. Esguerra’s books often enough here on the blog. She’s a Filipino author who has written several contemporary romance novels, some of which were self-published internationally and some traditionally published in the Philippines. Aside from writing and publishing her own work, Mina has also facilitated classes to encourage other Filipino authors to get their work out there. I knew she would have interesting things to say about pursuing a career in writing.



Mina’s photo from her website

Right now I’m in the middle of orienting my career toward writing and publishing, so all my thoughts are about writing and publishing and how awesome it is to be doing work that I love. But I didn’t always feel this way.

I started writing stories when I was eleven, so I thought I was going to be a writer. But while teachers, friends and family encouraged the hobby, I didn’t actually hear anything about how it could be a good career for me. Don’t you want to be a lawyer, I was asked, like the generations of lawyers on your mother’s side? Or maybe like the engineers on your dad’s side? (The second one, more obviously no.)

I studied Communication Arts in college. I knew that writing was only one skill among others that would help make me a well-rounded “communication professional.” It worked, mostly, and I got a job as a web copyeditor soon after, then as an online community moderator, then as a technical writer. Writing was involved in every job, essential, but not the writing I liked. I took a master’s degree in Development Communication, which asked for more writing, so much, and I started liking it less.

One day (and I still remember this) I just said: I don’t want to write anymore. It’s too hard. I just want to edit, because that’s what I do, no need to romanticize it. Whatever. I just want to watch TV. It was like that for years, a status quo that was comfortable and sort of had me at the fringes of the thing I really loved when I was younger. I thought maybe the disappointment was coming from me having seen the truth about writing and what it means to be a writer, and that this was it, just accept it.

Fairy Tale Fail_SummitMy Imaginary ExLove Your Frenemies_SummitNo Strings AttachedThat Kind of Guy

Things changed when my status quo changed. I left private sector regular employment because of an opportunity I couldn’t resist, and became a freelancer, a consultant. One day I had a boss and a set of tasks, the next I had clients and a project to accomplish. I used to try to do well in “whatever they needed me to do,” but as a consultant I learned to be good at something and then work with people who needed that thing. In retrospect I could have vastly improved the way I worked just by using that mindset from the beginning, but I guess it had to take a major change for me to realize it.

I sort of fell into writing again because I began to gravitate toward the things I knew, and wanted to become better at. I told myself to do it only if I could still enjoy it, so I started writing the genre I most enjoyed (contemporary romances). The opportunity came to publish my own books and even though it’s a lot of work, I discovered that I like it. I also discovered parts of it that I don’t particularly like and enjoy, so I’ve stopped doing those. There’s always someone happy or willing to do those things anyway.

It took a long time to get to this point, but that’s how I figured out what my dream was. It took a mindset change, and it brought me back to what I love to do, showed me how to be better at it, and the key now is figuring out how to do it every day without hating it.

Good luck to us!

Interim Goddess of Love_digital coverQueen of the CluelessIcon of the Indecisive


Thank you, Mina, for sharing with us your journey to becoming an author. I find Mina’s story inspiring because she almost gave up on writing. It took a while for her to figure out that she wanted to become a writer and yet I feel like she’s in a good place now. That kind of self-discovery is something that I’m trying to achieve. Good luck to us indeed!

14 thoughts on “Chasing Dreams: Guest Post by Mina V. Esguerra

  1. Mina’s story is really, really interesting. I can’t imagine what it’s like to go from having a boss to being your own boss. I’ll admit I am a little jealous ha ha, it sounds like she’s really doing what she loves. I’ll have to give her books a look see, as you are such a fan and I trust your judgment!

    • April, to be honest, I’m jealous of Mina as well! I think it’s great that she’s found a way to become her own boss and that she’s doing what she love. That’s what I’m aiming to do with my own career as well, find a way to do what I love. Yes to reading her books! I’m curious about what you’ll think of Filipino contemporary romance.

    • Yeah, it’s great that she managed to get back to writing even if it took her a while to get to that point. I really want to find a job that I love as well! Good luck to us. πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Mina, thank you for sharing! I can relate as I also agonized many times over the years about how hard writing has become for me! I’m glad that you found the ‘kind of writing’ that totally suits you. πŸ™‚

    I’ve been wondering for quite some time now, ano’ng batch ka pumasok sa DevCom? Can’t help but wonder kung nagkasabay ba tayo. πŸ™‚ It’s just that, so long as I have a friend or two in a class, I don’t bother much about my other classmates [I was such an unsociable person before :(].

    Anyway, 2004 ako nagsimula at 2007 naka-grad haha. Iginapang ko ‘yun, as you said [and I couldn’t agree more], it entailed more writing [sooo true!]. It was really fun for me at first, unfortunately, noong malapit na akong matapos, saka ko naman naramdaman ‘yung naramdaman mo 😦 Talagang ayaw na ayaw ko ng nagsusulat noon [I used to be a technical writer too]. Pasalamat na lang ako sa adviser ko saka sa mga Prof na masisipag at mapagpasensya. Kung hindi dahil sa pagmo-motivate nila sa akin, malamang, hindi ko natapos ‘yun. πŸ™‚

    • Hi, Josephine! 2003-2005, but went to UPLB physically just for one sem in 2003. πŸ™‚ I was enrolled in OU so I had my home campus transferred to Manila in 2004 and then my adviser for my kind-of thesis was based in Diliman. πŸ™‚ So yeah we were in DevComm at the same time but I was everywhere!

    • Glad you liked the guest post, Alex. Hope you get to read some of these titles! It’s always interesting for me to hear what other people think of Filipino fiction.

  3. I can’t tell you how much I love this new feature! I like how every week I can read someone’s approach to their “dreams”, and it’s always different. And always interesting!

    I’m really struck by how Mina moved away from writing, but it wasn’t for naught because she brought back skills that helped her with her writing career. I kind of like how that worked out – like no matter what you are doing you can gain skills and knowledge that is helpful with other things. Well that’s the positive I came away with. πŸ™‚

    • I’m thrilled that you love Chasing Dreams, Janice! Everyone has a different approach to their career so I like hearing about what other people have to say regarding the topic. I kind of agree with you, even if you don’t love the job that you’re doing, I bet there’s always something good that you can take away from the experience. It can be a skill that would come in handy later on or meeting a colleague who will be helpful in some way.

  4. I’ve never read anything set in Manila. Having read your reviews of Mina Esguerra’s books, I think I’ll try her YA trilogy, since I like a touch of fantasy. I’m also tempted by FAIRY TALE FAIL — partly because you say Esguerra doesn’t define terms? To me that seems like it adds something; I’d like to see how much of a “feel for the place” I get when I’m not familiar with it myself!

    • Since you’re reading contemporary romance lately, I think it would be a good idea for you to try Mina’s books. Fairy Tale Fail is my personal favorite but her YA/NA trilogy is also fun. I’m always interested in hearing what readers from abroad think about books set in the Philippines.

Comments are like chocolate. :) Maraming salamat / thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.