Lists, Personal, Writing
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The Writer Tag

I got tagged by Bea of The Dalaga Project to do this tag! I don’t think I’ve answered m/any tags—or as we used to call them, “memes”—on Nothing Spaces. Which is weird because I used to be a compulsive tag answerer back in Multiply’s heyday.

The Writer Tag
is part of Bea’s “Writing Week,” which is not going to be the case here. This is a one-time deal. I think.

1. What type of writing do you do?
A bulk of words I write go into blogs or useless tweets, but as a “professional” writer, I work on different types of features and articles, specifically for a broadsheet (The Philippine Star!). I joined the Saturday section, Supreme, as a contributing editor, but sometimes I also write for places like Young Star, as well as magazines, though I haven’t done that in a while.

I used to write fiction. I’d like to think that I still do; I’m just on a hiatus.

2. What genres and/or topics do you write about?
For fiction, it’s usually YA or coming-of-age stuff.

For anything else, it’s usually a non-fiction article with a personal slant and a dash of self-deprecating “”humor.””

3. How long have you been writing?
I grew up as a Reader and Writer, so I’d like to say “ever since I could remember.” I kept a diary and had atrocious grammar, but I’ve been writing for a while. Also, I was a shitty artist as a kid.

4. Are you published?

5. What was the first story you ever wrote?
LOL a rip-off of C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” but just with different things to replace the 3 nouns in the title.

6. Why do you write?
Because I love books and reading. Because I can’t not do it.

7. How do you find time to write?
Funnily enough—aside from creative fiction writing—I don’t have to look for much time for writing. Like I said, I just can’t not do it. I don’t write as much as I used to, but I do write quite a bit everyday.

8. When and where are the best times to write?
Middle of the night in a cold room, with a blanket! I usually churn out stories faster in a dark room with just a little lamp by me. I get so distracted when I try to write in a cafe, though that has worked sometimes.

The best times to write are under the pressure of a deadline, if what you’re after is output. Though it’s better if you have time to edit it after.

9. Favorite food/drinks while writing?
Coffee, water, tea, hot chocolate, alcohol. Mostly not all at the same time.

10. Your writing playlist?
I can’t write with music. I get too distracted, even when I turned to instrumental or post-rock wordless stuff. I still end up anticipating the sounds in place of the words.

11. What do family/friends/loved ones think of you writing?
Most of them think it’s pretty cool, since they don’t feel like they write well. Actually, this is a “career” or skill that, I think, is easier for my extended family to understand, than art or design. Which is weird because writers tend to get shit pay.

12. Parts of writing you enjoy the most?
WHEN I THINK OF A GREAT TURN OF PHRASE OR A SENTENCE. Or when I come up with a great title—because I am horrible at titles—or a great way to end something. It’s easy for me to go off-tangent and just keep on writing about something and then forget where I want to take it, so when I have something great to end on, that is probably one of the best things.

Or when I am able to write something exactly the way I need to write it. It’s hard to be 100% happy with what you write, so it’s always a great thing when you are able to.

I also like it when something I write gets printed.

13. Parts of writing you find challenging?
Plotting. I was part of a writer’s workshop when I was in college, and most of my feedback was that I do mood pieces, rather than fiction that propels itself forward. I am horrible at plot, but I am pretty good at spinning feelings.

Also, I find it hard to start sometimes. And seeing it through, without giving up halfway.

14. What do you use to write with and on?
I used to journal a lot. I’d bring along a 300-page journal everywhere. Not even kidding. These days, I do most of my writing on a computer. I wish I could say something fancy like Ommwriter or Scrivener, but I just use Microsoft Word, or I write exclusively on the WordPress text box for blogs.

On my iPad, I have Blogsy as a blogging client, though I don’t use it as much since my computer is almost always within my work-from-home reach anyway.

15. How do you overcome writers block?
Write until all of the shit turns good. (It’s bound to happen.) Or I do something else that isn’t writing like design or watch T.V.

16. How do you motivate yourself to write?

Honestly, just deadlines. Which probably explains why I haven’t written any fiction in half a decade (or something).

17. Authors who inspire you as a writer?
MICHAEL CHABON. Dude wrote a novel about a guy who couldn’t finish a novel, and I freaking liked it. Truthfully, there are many authors I admire, but I can’t tell if they specifically inspire me as a writer, or as a human being.

Ah! I am inspired by screenwriters for a) funny shows, b) shows with long narratives and multiple arcs that somehow tie in together for the season finale. I watched a LOST special feature of the writers room and it was a most beautiful thing.

18. Books that inspire you as a writer?
Michael Chabon’s “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,” because it is honestly probably the best novel I’ve ever read. I think that even though I’ve never tried my hand at an actual novel before, I am most inspired by that medium. I can’t imagine sticking to an entire story and thinking up twists and turns for the characters and then LEAVING THEM.

“Blankets” by Craig Thompson was also a great thing for me to read. I realized that I liked reading honest things more than most other things.

19. Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer?
Keep writing.

20. Writing goals this year?
Get back into fiction. Procure a column (haha). Write for an international publication. Get a book deal. Haha joke lang yung last.