First and Only (So Far) Advertorial Published

Day 27 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaJanPoblano2022” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: Critic’s Corner.

When I worked for a tertiary school, I had experience copywriting a few things under the PR & Advertising Office. My next job, which was a joke, for lack of a better term, got me as Copywriter. I copywrote stuff for them but I will never know if or when and where they were published. This is a whole different story that will have to wait to be told. But let me emphasize that because that second one was a joke, I don’t count it as employment (I didn’t get paid either).

Published or not, not any of my previous works qualified as an advertorial. The online Oxford Dictionary defines “advertorial” as:

  1. a newspaper or magazine advertisement giving information about a product in the style of an editorial or objective journalistic article.
  2. early 20th century (originally US): blend of advertisement and editorial.

It is safe to say that I only had my FIRST ADVERTORIAL PUBLISHED when I joined the cancer-focused publication. There was an ex-deal and I was assigned to write the advertorial. But here’s my problem: It was basically a medical advert. Medical...Of course, I could not say no, however much I wanted to. It was my job, right?  But I was very skeptical of the would-be outcome. I wasn’t sure I could write a good advertorial. I did not want to humiliate myself. Mostly, I did not want to humiliate my bosses and cause a problem with the clients. I had to try my very darn best!!!

I was to write about a particular drug that’s for a particular type of cancer. I was to advertise, editorial-style. The good news was I was given materials to read about it. The bad news? The materials were thick. The words were quite medical and scientific. And I had to balance the medical/scientific jargon with the layman’s terms.

I remember spending nights at the dormitory’s common area reading and trying to write. Mind you, at that time, I had no laptop. I had to write notes and underline things on the photocopied pages. Cellphones weren’t that sophisticated yet back then plus, for the longest time, I used analog phones. So guess what? No access to the Internet outslde work unless I went to the Internet Cafe. That could help me understand things more but I did not want to spend my own money for that.  Surprisingly, I found that I was not nearly as ignorant as before about cancer as I thought I would be. So I wrote it.

It was not like I would just write it then we’d publish in the upcoming issue. The pharma had to check my output, which was very understandable. I did want them to check the advert so they could correct errors and I could revise things. The biggest surprise to me, however, was they hardly changed anything! I don’t even remember that they did. You wouldn’t know it just by looking at me, but inside, I was kind of dumbfounded. I didn’t expect it to be that “easy”. It gave me more confidence in myself.

That’s the advert below. I blurred the title that carries the name of the drug and the logos of the pharmaceutical company. I’m just not sure if they’d be okay with it. The words in the article are also tiny so I suggest you don’t check anymore. Personally, if I were them, I wouldn’t mind as that would be free advertisement. I’m not them, though. Additonally, I’m not sure if the product is still out there.

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First Book Review Published: “WHAT TO EAT IF YOU HAVE CANCER (A GUIDE TO ADDING NUTRITIONAL THERAPY)”

Basically, I’m just supposed to be continuing what was supposed to be finished last November. But heck, I’m so near-finished now and I’m loving this theme I came up with, anyway. It’s making me want to continue writing again. I just almost gave up a few weeks ago (more on that some other time). I’m happy to share more of myself. So, to continue…

Day 26 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge, now a.k.a. “NaJanPoblano2022” (heee….) . Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “First Published”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: Critic’s Corner.

Until I joined the Philippines’ first (and maybe only) cancer-focused magazine, I had never really done a book review outside school. It was not something I was sure I was good at. Honestly, I’m still not sure I’m good at it. The best I can say is “I try.” I had no plans of writing any until the Publisher/Boss asked me to review a book that someone recommended to her. So I did and had my FIRST BOOK REVIEW PUBLISHED.

The book was “What to Eat if You Have Cancer” by nutritionist-authors Maureen Keane, MS and Daniella Chase, MS. I hardly imagined that I’d review a book for cancer survivors, let alone, a book giving dietary guidelines. I’m a fiction girl, ergo, I expected to review fiction if I would ever. But there I was. I also tended to write longer, so writing this short one was a challenge. I did it, though. I survived my initiation. The book is most probably very outdated now. I haven’t checked if they’ve written any updated ones.

After that, I would go on writing two more cancer-related non-fiction reviews. Surprisingly, it was I who volunteered! Those were books that I found. One was “My Breast” by former journalist Joyce Wadler and the other, “Cancer Schmancer” by comedienne Fran Drescher. I have shared both reviews here in my blog. These experiences gave me the courage to try and join a call for book review submissions. If you are interested, I reviewed Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and Victor Hugo’s classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

Anyway, I think it’s possible to read the words on the image that I have provided if you just enlarge it, except I just found out now that light reflected on some parts. Sorry! I know I have the soft copy somewhere but I have to find it first.

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Memories of The Big C #MondayMemoirs

There was a time that I worked for an actual print publication. It was a health-and-lifestyle magazine though it was far from the ordinary. Ours was centered on cancer, its survivors, and how to overcome, fight and win against it. They were, for me, very interesting times.

Almost two weeks ago, I shared on my folio blog my experiences working for the mag and some of the insights that I gathered along the way.

So for today, since I am guessing you missed them, I am sharing my stories to you guys as well. Just click on the image and you’ll be good to go 🙂

Fighting the Big C

Everyone of us has known, at least, one person who has suffered from cancer, whether it’s a loved one, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, someone who has served you,..any one.

Despite remembering learning of it while I was working for our cancer magazine, I do not remember who I heard it from, really. Was it from an article somewhere online, someone one of our writers interviewed, our publisher or our editor? I do know that, yes, there is a lot of truth in that. Cancer is everywhere.

In the very olden times, when the world was very, very young, it was very common for people to live way past their first hundred years. Today, reaching our 80s, 90s is already considered a feat. Why? Because Man–we–made it so. We created all these technological (supposed) developments that unfortunately resulted in all these pollutants around us. These are things our bodies try to reject daily, but they often successfully overcome us anyway.

In case you are unaware of it yet, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each month is an awareness month for different kinds of cancer actually. Regardless of which cancer for what month it is, it is always important to be aware of the dangers of cancer. It’s time that we always remember and learn from all those who have gone before us because of the Big C.

We should always remember, too, that whatever happens, we must never give and just stand up against cancer. In fact, that’s an advice worth taking and applying in every aspect of our lives.

“CANCER MYTHS AND REALITY CHECKS” #atozchallenge2014

Cell phones cause cancer. Quick, turn off your cell phone! Throw it at your nearest enemy! Blow it up to smithereens! Just do anything and keep cancer out of coverage area.

On second thought, scrap that. Don’t let myths fool you. Do a reality check and find out just how much you know—or don’t know—about cancer.

cell-phone-cancer-link

True or False

1. Cancer-death risk rates continue to worsen.
2. Regular consumption of charcoal-grilled meat is a fun, cancer-free diet.
3. A sunscreen application a day keeps skin cancer away.
4. Bug sprays can bug you with cancer.
5. Surgery causes cancer to spread throughout the body.
6. Pollution causes lung cancer more than chain-smoking
7. Injuries send you on the road to cancer.
8. Use of electronic devices like cell phones can cause cancer.
9. Your lifestyle in your 20s doesn’t affect your risk later in life.
10. A positive attitude saves you from cancer.
11. Thanks to advancements in diagnosis and treatment, there’s now a cure for cancer.
12. A cure for cancer already exists, but the medical industry profits by withholding the information.
13. Regular checkups and modern technology are a surefire way to detect the Big C.
14. Cancer makes you useless and inactive.
15. Cancer equals pain.
16. Sugar makes cancer cells grow faster.
17. A needle biopsy causes cancer cells to metastasize or spread.
18. The same kind of cancer always gets the same treatment.
19. “I’m a good person. Cancer will never get me.”
20. Cancer is contagious.
21. The bigger the breast size, the more prone to breast cancer.
22. Underwire bras contribute to the development of breast cancer.
23. If you don’t have a family history of cancer, you’re safe.
24. You can get cancer from a sexual partner.
25. The treatment side effects are worse than the disease.

 

Myth-understood

ANSWER: These are all myths. If you answered “False” to all then you must be an oncologist. If you answered “True” to some (or most!), then welcome to humanity! Here are the myth-busting facts:

1. Cancer-death risk rate is actually going down due to a more informed medical world and to early detection. However, aging people are more susceptible to cancer and they are a growing demographic. Ergo, it may seem that the risk of dying of cancer is dramatically increasing, but that’s not necessarily true.

2. Charcoal-grilled meat is not a surefire way to get cancer, but it does make one much more susceptible. Research shows that meat that is well-done or burnt releases substances that contribute to the growth of cancer. Solution: Eat charcoal-grilled meat less often and in moderate amounts.

3. Sunscreen? Good idea. But the more time you spend under the sun, the more protection you need. So follow the instructions on the package to make sure you apply sufficient SPF.

4. Inhaling and direct contact with pesticides may be hazardous to your health. Nonetheless, there’s no finding that directly links pesticides to cancer.

5. Surgery is part of the cancer treatment, not of the spread of cancer. If it were, it wouldn’t ever be suggested as an option in cancer treatment. This is a clear fallacy.

cigarette-crush6. Chain-smoking or secondhand smoke causes lung cancer more than pollution. Yet, there is no lesser evil between the two.

7. Injuries per se don’t lead to cancer. Chances are, a tumor might only be discovered by accident because the person injures the part where the mass is located.

8. Cell phones and other electronic devices don’t emit enough radiation to cause anything really harmful to the body.

UPDATE: There is currently not enough evidence to prove for certain a direct connection between cell phone use and cancer. For more info: NCIMayo Clinic

9. Exposing yourself to risk factors early in life puts you at greater risk of acquiring cancer later. So think cause-and-effect, action-reaction. Reap what you sow.

10. A positive attitude doesn’t exactly cut it when it comes to cancer treatment and cure. Nevertheless, it does help the survivor feel stronger, and improve his/her quality of life, relationships, and sense of well-being.

11. There’s still no known cure for cancer despite advancements made in the scientific/medical world—especially because the different types and stages require various approaches to treatment. Experts have yet to learn more about what triggers the disease.

UPDATE: While there is still no known cure for cervical cancer (as well as anal, vulvar and vaginal cancer), it can now be prevented through vaccines that have been in the market for several years now. For more info: NCI

12. The medical industry profiting from the nondisclosure of cure? No actual profit can be gained from such a deception. Besides, a cancer cure is one medical breakthrough that’s impossible to hide in the Internet Age. This conspiracy theory is definitely busted!

13. Regular checkups and modern technology may help detect cancer early, but not always. Some cancers aren’t even easy to detect depending on type or location.

cancer-survivors14. Having cancer doesn’t translate to becoming an invalid. Many options are open for survivors to stay active and productive, so they can go through their usual routines and even enjoy new experiences.

15. While some cancers seem painless, pain may be inevitable for most cancer patients. Fortunately, modern medicine has found ways to control pain, so patients can still go about managing their everyday lives.

16. It’s true that sugar helps energize cells, cancer cells included. But it’s still a misconception that sugar speeds up cancer-cell growth.

UPDATE: Check out this Mayo Clinic.

17. A needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration is used to diagnose cancer. The procedure doesn’t cause metastasis.

18. Cancer comes in different forms. Therefore, treatment should be tailor-made to the individual’s particular needs and condition.

19. Cancer has no bias. Even good people fall victim to it, so preventive measures against cancer should be observed.

20. Cancer itself isn’t contagious, so there’s no reason to be leery of survivors. However, certain viruses—particularly those transmitted sexually like the human papillomavirus—can lead to cancer.

21. As said, cancer has no bias. Breast size isn’t a factor. Even men get breast cancer. UPDATES: Studies have mixed results and are currently not valid enough to conclude a direct link between cancer and breast size. See: Komen.org, NHS

22. There is no evidence to link underwire bras to breast cancer.

UPDATE: Still none. For more info: Komen.org

23. When there’s a history of cancer in the family, the risk of acquiring cancer through the genetic pool is high. Yet the absence of such history is no guarantee against developing cancer.

24. Sexual activity alone doesn’t cause cancer. However, the presence of a virus just might increase the chances of contracting it. The best strategy is to practice safe sex.

25. Some patients may forego treatment for cancer, especially if the disease is slow-growing. Doctors, of course, will still recommend treatment to prevent metastasis later on. Dealing with the disease sans treatment will prove to be much harder than it seems at first. Pain relief can only do so much.

 

So how did you fare in this test? It doesn’t really matter. At least now you can separate truth from fiction.

 

References:

American Cancer Society
Mayo Clinic
National Cancer Institute
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
National Health Service
CNN.com
About.com

 

Copyright © The Core Group Publishing, Inc.

 

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How did you find this article? This was actually an article I wrote for The Big C magazine, Light Moments section (July-September 2006 issue). I added “UPDATES” from reputable sites to make sure that I am not misleading readers because a lot of changes can happen even in just a year. The magazine is no more, as well as its website.

Thanks for reading and I hope I’ve helped add info or clarify misconceptions. By the way, this is a part of the…

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My Evolution as a Writer

So I finally found out what “Remove formatting” could do, so this is now much more readable. I have also done some editing and have updated the thing. Do share your own story. I’m sure you have one 🙂

The End Justifies the Journey

NOTE: I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been curious about how writers started. Well, here is my story, if you’re interested. I thought I’d start with this post (well, technically, this is the second post…) as it’s a good introductory of myself as a writer.

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I have always loved stories, that is the clear and honest truth. It is the reason why I began to write. It is the reason why even in my own dreams, I make up stories and watch how they unfold. Perhaps, more than a writer, I am actually a pen-toting storyteller. But it wasn’t always like that. When I was small, I used to have this ritual. At night, I would lie in bed and imagine stories in my head, stories of adventure and drama—oh, I was such a masochist, making myself cry and loving it!—until I fell asleep. Which is probably…

View original post 1,544 more words

My Evolution as a Writer

NOTE: I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been curious about how writers started. Well, here is my story, if you’re interested. I thought I’d start with this post (well, technically, this is the second post…) as it’s a good introductory of myself as a writer.

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female-writer-typing

 

I have always loved stories, that is the clear and honest truth. It is the reason why I began to write. It is the reason why even in my own dreams, I make up stories and watch how they unfold. Perhaps, more than a writer, I am actually a pen-toting storyteller. But it wasn’t always like that. When I was small, I used to have this ritual. At night, I would lie in bed and imagine stories in my head, stories of adventure and drama—oh, I was such a masochist, making myself cry and loving it!—until I fell asleep. Which is probably why they made it  in  my dreams. I don’t daydream anymore, but I can’t say I don’t dream of movies still. And in colors!

I started with writing, though, by writing literally. In school, we had handwriting exercises and we tried to write legibly, neatly and nicely. My penmanship still leaves much to be desired, but no matter. I know I enjoyed writing, enjoyed the letters perhaps because they presented to me a whole lot of possibilities. I felt liberated for some reason. That was during second grade. The next year, I wrote my first story.

See below for individual credits

Well, technically first. It was about a horror story writer who was no good in his so-called craft and couldn’t get published until he unwittingly sold his soul to the devil. Things then went really well, except the devil made him pay for his part of the bargain in the end.

Would’ve been quite an interesting piece from such a novice writer if only it was not a story I read from one of the Tagalog (a Filipino dialect) comic books that were already near extinction back then. My version ironically made my parents (and me) laugh. So much for horror.

I really enjoyed writing exercises in grade school especially when we had to summarize stories that we were made to read. I may have misconstrued summary as re-telling, though. But I did write my first stories within the next years.

I was still quite “un-well-versed” and not sure how to go about creative writing properly, so my early works were in script form written on extra notebook sheets. That was probably because I was too impatient and wanted to do it fast, and I loved reading the short plays found in our textbooks. I also loved to watch TV that my first stuff starred characters from a well-known sentai (Japanese live action shows for kids) and those from a local action-comedy movie intended for teens and pre-teens. My own plots, but the characters not my own. There is a term for that now: fan fiction.

Seems like I have always been partial to adventure, be it action or fantasy. My road to the world of adventures got temporarily sidetracked, however, when I entered high school. You know high school, it exposes you to crushes and drama. Soon enough, I was writing romantic dialogues, words that I thought I fully understood. No more fan fiction. However, my plots were shallow, trying-hard-to-be-mature, and unoriginal, culled unintentionally from TV and movies. I did find a technique, which was to “have” actors “act” in my stories as I imagined them.

Despite that foray into pretentious writing (by “pretentious,” I am referring to my own writing, not others’), fiction still as they were, high school actually brought me to newer heights. I started my first non-fan fiction (supposedly) action-adventure, a detective story called Ticay where a young girl was a secret agent. My father happened to see that one though I wasn’t sure how much he got to read. He mentioned it to me because I think he saw what little of the draft I wrote when I decided to throw it away. After the horror-thingy, I had not let my family read my stuff.

Meanwhile, I wrote my first poems then, which made me think deeper about things and study myself more. I was uncomfortable about writing poetry before simply because I thought poetry was only for smart people. I realized that it was more for people to understand themselves and the world. Around this time, I began composing and experimenting with songs as well, themes ranging from friendship, social relevance and, what else? Love, or the lack of it. Still, storytelling was/is my first love and it was swell getting some kind of recognition as a writer. I was soon given tasks to write scripts for group and class presentations, something that started when a friend volunteered for me when our Literature teacher asked, “Okay, who will write the scripts?” The wheels started turning.

sweet-dreams-ps-iloveyou

High school was really the highlight of my writing “career” and I somehow had Bantam Books’ Sweet Dreams (S.D.) to thank for. Even back in gradeschool, and I knew this because of my big sister, S.D. was the romance book of choice for teens (that’s the first-ever of the series at left, published way earlier), and the same was still true when I got to that stage. I began to dream of being a novelist and S.D. fanned this desire in me because aside from I loved to write, I realized one thing: the endings were mostly so predictable, in fact, you could guess from what were written at the back alone. I thought, hey, if they could do it, so could I!

I would write my own S.D.-like stories and hopefully submit to them. So I did write (though not submit mainly because I had no idea how). I believed in the idea so much that I created my own series called Roseville Books and it even had its own simple logo. In a span of a little more than a year, I wrote seven—I repeat, SEVEN—novelettes! Wow…I had never been so inspired, so prolific in my entire life, ever! It was a feat that I unfortunately have not been able to duplicate. I laugh now when I re-read them, but that stage was still good training ground for me, judging from how my characters and plots grew with more depth and maturity.

Too bad I became busy with school that my eighth Roseville book, as well as some other stories that were mostly SciFi (my friend Raine and I were obsessing over Star Trek then)  were left unfinished. College life then started and everything seemed to be in boring, uninspiring slow motion. I was able to write a few songs and poems, but not short stories, or the eighth Roseville Book, or the unfinished novel called King Arthur’s Daughter. All I had were all drafts that kept accumulating and lists of fictitious names.

uplb-perspective

When I joined the school paper, it was only then did I get to concentrate again on short stories/vignettes. Campus journalism was a whole new ball game and I had to dabble in-between creative and journalistic writing. It seemed that writing became an evolution for me. My Development Communication degree taught me to write for various media, including for radio. I found that though there are obvious differences in the technical aspects, there are not much differences when you write for film, radio, and other stuff. Only a few adjustments and change or additional terminologies to consider.

These knowledge gained were particularly of use to me when I worked for a tertiary school as scriptwriter-producer of (mostly) their institutional videos. I also had the privilege to join a writing-for-film workshop under the great Armando “Bing” Lao. Who would have thought that story-writing could be scientific as well? Honing my chosen craft and wishing to learn further, I joined several writing groups and blogs online. Meanwhile, while these were going on, my dream of becoming a published writer was not diminished. This dream was realized when I joined The Big C magazine team where I became the editorial assistant and staff writer. I not only wrote, edited and proofread, but got to learn more about cancer that I could ever imagine.

Still, the “novel idea” is yet to see fruition, an idea I’ve had before I finished school. It is said that we should write what we know. And so I try to find more information as much I can to make it work. I did use to stress over it, but now, I try to take it in stride. Stress does not solve anything and if I die without ever publishing any book, so be it. Meanwhile, I try to finish a whole lot more in my collection of unfinished “business.”

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Copyright © The Core Group Publishing, Inc. Unfortunately, I heard they folded up so the dotcom of the magazine is no more. The Tripod account was the first and reeeaally old one that was there even before I joined the publication

Currently, I write content for the web. For those unfamiliar with the actual meaning of “web content  writer,” the job mainly entails writing articles and information you read from businesses’ websites and blogs. For instance, if you were new to WordPress and would like to know what it’s all about and how you should go about things, you go to WordPress.com and the information they provide have been written by their web content writers, not any random writer or blogger who simply wants to write about WordPress.

I still love fantasy, suspense and adventure, with my interests lying on psychology, psychiatry, parapsychology, psychoses, the paranormal, forensic science and other things that boggle the mind. I will never stop writing. Take a hiatus every now and then, perhaps, but never really leave it.

Fiction, essays, poems, songs—they all have their stories. It is just a matter of knowing how and what to write.

Comic book images in collage credited to/found in:

Komiklopedia (for Tagalog Klasiks)

ComicBookMovie.com (for Pilipino Komiks)

Video48 (for the ff.: Hiwaga Komiks, Espesyal Komiks, Extra Komiks)

en.wikipilipinas.org (for Universal Komiks-Magazine and Halakhak Komiks)

 

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So that’s how this writer evolved. How about you? What is your writer’s story? Let us know. Let’s exchange stories 🙂