It’s no secret that 2020 was an extremely challenging year in every sense of the word. In just a snap, people suddenly found themselves at home — seeing shops closing down, employees losing their livelihood, and everyone grappling with a formidable virus that made donning face masks the new norm. Amid these vicious circles comes the power of social media to keep people inspired. Many people can raise their hands in agreement of spending hours online, just mindlessly browsing from one app to another to get a laugh or while the hours away.
The internet is widely viewed as a medium of entertainment or information. For creative writer Antonette Flores, also known as Shewrites.pdf, she sees her platform as an extension of herself adorned in pastel shades and beautiful minimalistic illustrations with heartwarming messages. It’s a cosmos born out of authenticity and an unwavering passion for creating.
“I realized that I wanted to become a writer when I was in high school. That was when my former teacher told me that I could become a journalist and that I should consider getting a degree in Mass Communication in college. I think my passion for writing has always been in me. In fact, I started to love writing when I was in 6th grade, where I joined our school’s publication as a feature writer,” the Filipina creative shares.
Antonette started her Facebook page in July 2019, and from then on, it rose as a space for everyday bits of encouragement. Shewrites.pdf is a name that strongly mirrors her style of writing. “When I wanted to create a platform for my literary pieces, I honestly just can’t think of a better pen name. I just want it to be straightforward. Shewrites wasn’t that bad, right? Then, here goes the “file format” thing. I’ve decided to add .pdf because, for me, it is a good representation of my writings—no one can alter, and that it speaks the way it is.”
But treading the writer’s path isn’t a plain-sailing pursuit. There are days where all you can do is stare at a computer screen while waiting for the right words to fall on your lap. More often than not, the motivation to push through feels like searching for a needle in one giant pile of hay. Antonette isn’t a stranger to this, and she knows one easy trick to deal with it—something that every hard-working artist out there should practice more.
“I rest. I don’t push myself too hard. It also helps when I expose myself to other forms of art like films. Other than that, I talk to people, especially to my friends. I listen to their stories, and from there, random bits of ideas would just pop into my mind,” she explains.
Browsing through her page, you’ll be welcomed by beautiful postcard-like pieces that speak mainly of love and life, spilled with warm colors. Antonette believes that writing about love is one of the chaotic yet magical things that most people can relate to. As someone who has her stories of ups and downs, she wants to use words as a vessel for others to express what they truly feel. “I’d take those learnings from the past and make literary art pieces out of them while inspiring other people. Also, to remind those who are struggling that they are not alone; that sometimes it is not easy, but it will always be worth it in the end.”
From a simple student who has forever been in love with the art of writing to a now full-fledged content creator, the Filipina writer is aware that her literary pieces hold so much power. To some extent, words can change how a person sees life or the people around them. It’s like a spell, and Antonette wants to bring nothing but the beautiful magic of loving every inch of yourself.
Yes, the pressure is always looking over her shoulder. Still, the countless messages of thanks and appreciation from readers make every ounce of effort she puts into the grind beyond self-fulfilling. Looking back, Antonette recalls times where she felt like falling into an abyss filled to the brim of her own doubts. “There was a time when I let my mistakes define me to the point that I almost quit writing, but that’s where I was wrong. I have learned that mistakes can only define you if you keep on doing it over and over again, without character development at all.”
Although it’s one of her most challenging conquered hurdles, it taught her a very life-changing lesson—how to be honest with your own emotions. “It felt like I would never excel in this field—that this is not what’s meant for me. I actually took time off back then. I am just so thankful for my support system for always being there when I get lost in my path. This is what other people should know; talking about your problems is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it would even help you to recalibrate your thoughts, to reinvent yourself,” she adds.
The age of social media has now given up-and-coming artists a new ground to showcase their creations and reach audiences on a global scale. She’s now focusing on working with new artists entering the scene and helping promote their respective platforms. Antonette confesses she used to only write whatever pops on her mind, discarding the importance of grammar rules, technicalities, and people who would read it online. But as she goes along, her purpose has now become sharply defined.
Antonette takes pride in connecting with her audience through her craft and making them feel empowered. Every time she hits the post button, the Filipina creative strives to make someone’s day brighter—push them to have a “keep going!” attitude no matter what life may throw at their doorstep. Self-growth is a never-ending journey, and being a writer holds a big part of it for Antonette that can never be taken away by anyone.
“Without realizing it before, I started taking my writing more seriously. My desire to improve in this field made me believe that I need to work for it and be patient if I want something to happen. I have discovered that being alone doesn’t always feel lonely as it leaves me with a fertile ground to sow some seeds of imagination and allows me to reflect on numerous aspects of life. I got to realize that there are things we should not rush, that we’re so much more capable than we realize. Perhaps all we really need is to have a little more faith in ourselves.”
Antonette Flores is on Lemi at @shewritespdf