Quick Rant

Write, just write. But write with a purpose in mind, with the basic parts in mind, because otherwise, you won’t make that deadline once you’re lost in between two paragraphs or sentences. Never mind the grammar—for now—but mind the direction in which your words are going towards. You should, at the very least, give a hint of the idea or the story, and not leave the reader wondering what you were trying to say in the first place.

Do not rely on your editor or go-to critic to tell you the POINT, the DIRECTION, and THE ENDING of your story. At the very least, he/she should have a hint or feeling of what it is on your third draft. Because if your editor ends up having to research online for the information and the general purpose of the story, then he/she will end up rewriting and redefining your piece. And if he/she has to resort to online information—then that defeats of putting your hard earned work on another medium.

So please writers, feeling writers, beginner writers, and for-the-face-and-PR-writers, do your editors a favor and FINISH what you’ve started. Don’t just submit the FIRST draft; give the THIRD, so that he or she doesn’t have to intrude and think, “why were you assigned to write in the first place?”

Editors are here to make you look good, but we are not here to finish your piece when you’re too lazy to do so—if that is the case, give us free reign and interview you instead so we can set the general direction. And if you can’t stand thinking amid “writer’s block,” then why are you writing in the first place? Don’t reduce our jobs to mere “assisting” or in taking all the credit if you didn’t bother taking the extra mile to sound as best as you could.

Be grateful if your piece sounds better than you expected; I’ve felt more satisfaction and pride over a non-writer getting commended for his piece because a) he said, “it reads well, thank you!” b) he had a story, it was there. When information was lacking, he supplied the necessary information. I just had to organize his thoughts and string the pieces together.

Writing is willing yourself to write, and rewrite, no matter how many times it takes. If you do not respect this process, then let those who are open to suffering the consequences reap the rewards of such hard work.

 

The Grateful Files

I’ve written time and again in my personal journal that I would strive to be less bitter about life. I know it will take decades before anger isn’t my default state, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be content with what I’ve worked for and what life has blessed me with. Here’s another round of the grateful files:

  1. Having saved enough money to go on my three-day trip to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia next Friday. Ever since the year has started, the work has been non-stop. The timing of this trip is impeccable; although the date was planned by the tour group we’re traveling with, the circumstances surrounding the dates will truly make those days a much needed vacation.
  2. Free entrance at the Bside gig last night! Thanks to the Australian Embassy for sponsoring the event–twas an unexpected night of good music, good company, and good beer. Oh yeah, and of course, mind numbing/laglag panty guitaris–guitars. Super thaanks to Hijo for the free CDs of their latest LP. Watch out for their band photos in DPP’s next issue 🙂 ohandthanksayraforthatrandombutnakilignamanakonabow.
  3. More than enough food on the table, two homes to run to, a complete family, a job that pays the bills and I don’t regret (despite the stress, I swear, hahahaaaa), the love of my life’s never ending support, and surprise Internet connections.

Thank you universe. You’ve driven me crazy the last few months, but the good stuff in between lets me look back with a smug smile.

Sanity’s sake

I read on my Twitter feed a few days ago that a bunch of people were writing three things they’re grateful for. Considering I am accepted as and known to be angry as my default state, I figured a little positivism wouldn’t hurt. After all, I don’t want to be burned out by bitterness. I may be angry, but I also want to be strong and carry on through life.

1. My friends and the way they never fail to make me laugh. And not just one group of friends–all of them. My high school friends have their random moments, my work friends and I laugh cause that’s how we deal, and with my college friends, I feel like I’m in a sitcom.

2. Having the time to read a book after work; earning enough money to buy new books and having the opportunity to explore the work of new authors.

3. The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones season 2 premiering in the next two weeks. The wait has been too long!

All is well. Life is good, despite all the chaos in between.

On the misconceptions of writing

When I tell people what I do, there are times I cringe if someone reacts by saying, “well, I’ve always wanted to write,” or, “I actually write, I just can’t find the time.”  Or those who say they keep a blog or have a passion for writing yet place exclamation points everywhere and don’t seem to know when to put a break between the thoughts of their sentences, so they end up putting too many ideas together like this sentence right here!

You see, when a person tells me he/she is a doctor, I don’t respond with, “Well, I’ve always wanted to go out there and heal people.” Or I don’t tell my new friend the accountant that “I’ve always wanted to check and balance accounts.”

I may not be a number one best seller of a novel, and I have yet to start working my way up into getting a major magazine cover story (or working for an international title for that matter), but I do take my job seriously.

As much as it appears like we just type a bunch of words on a computer (or on what is now a rare chance, a notepad), the words simply do not flow out of the blue. We all went through English class, right? Remember the outline, topic sentence, and the parts of an essay? We still go through those processes, but with a little more attention to detail. One draft isn’t enough, as every style, syntax, spelling, and grammatical error must be accounted for. There are standards we must uphold, a cohesive flow that must be organized, and words chosen well enough to make a clear point. Periods must break in between thoughts, while commas are placed within sentences to catch the reader’s breath. Semi-colons bind two related thoughts but with just enough space for the concept to come together in your head.

Like any other job, it’s a calling. Working as a journalist in the Philippines could kill you. Writing a novel can take years and there’s a very small chance the book will sell enough to give a year’s equivalent of salary. Poems don’t make money and short stories are locked away in libraries. Copy writing is rigorous and local ad agencies don’t exactly pay six figures for viral tag lines. Online writing is more about quantity than quality. Magazines have a short shelf life and are battling against the digital age. There are consequences and challenges in each industry, yet all the writers involved find the job fulfilling.

Writing needs a purpose to stand on its own, and such an end needs to be made in order for people to take notice. A literary piece should tell a story that resounds a timeless theme; a news feature should invoke inquiry. A magazine cover story is well-researched, fact checked, and thoroughly edited. A viral blog post has chosen the right topic and is back linked. Good copy leads to interest in the product. Writing is an act; writing something on the other hand, is a responsibility.

Writers may not save lives or bring in billions to the economy. I am not going to put our lot on a pedestal and say that the world would stop without us. God knows we’re the last profession a dead civilization needs to rebuild itself. But we do take our jobs seriously and the best of us do what we’re asked professionally. Here’s to hoping that apart from buying your writer friend’s recent published material, you also appreciate how much work was put into it.