Life in the Fast Lane


The Writer Tag

By 11:00 AM , , , , ,

Saw this going around, and even if I wasn't tagged by anyone in particular, I felt like trying to answer the following questions. I thought they were interesting, and they really made me think.

1. What type of writing do you do?

Since I work in advertising, my job entails conceptualizing (the way I craft them in my head is through writing; my other colleagues doodle them), as well as coming up with scripts for TV and radio commercials, copy for print and other merchandising, and blurbs, content, or advertorials for digital channels.

I'm also part of a team of writers for our church's writing ministry. The person assigned on a particular Sunday writes a reflection based on the messages our pastors/speakers give, and these get printed the following Sunday. We rotate in terms of assignments every Sunday, and each of us ends up writing every month and a half.

But when I have time to write what I want to write, they're usually free-flowing in nature. I guess you could call them editorials or feature articles (very loosely put). I used to write fiction when I was younger, though.

2. What genres and/or topics do you write about?

Anything and everything, but they're usually about whatever comes to mind: sports, technology, current events, family life and love, friendship, thoughts, my faith.

When I was younger and would write about fiction, they were always projections of how I wish my life were like. Unfortunately, now that I'm mentally revisiting what they were about, they were quite westernized, i.e. (pre)teen girl set in an Americanized high school world. Clearly, the books I read back then pretty much shaped how I used to write, not my own experiences.

3. How long have you been writing?

I was 9 when my aunt (in the house next door to mine) got her first computer. I would walk over to her house and spend my afternoons writing. I remember writing short stories, then trashing them after I'd finish. I was such an insecurity-driven perfectionist. I also tried to write "novels". Right.

I also went through a "poetry" phase (I say this very loosely because I had a totally different idea of what poetry was at that age) when I was 11. I've been writing ever since.

4. Are you published?

In theory, I'm somehow credited in the ads I create (especially those that win awards; this applies to every single person in advertising, though, so this isn't unique to me). Would you consider this "published"?

But my first-ever article was for Women's Health and I reviewed a bunch of gadgets at the time. Before that, a blog entry that I had written was featured in Mabuhay Magazine.

5. What was the first story you ever wrote?

Something to do with twins, definitely, when I was around 9 years old. I was such a huge fan of the Wakefield Twins that I really, really wanted a twin sister.

6. Why do you write?

I write because it's the quickest way for me to express myself. Writing also helps me learn more about myself as I process all of my thoughts and feelings.

But I also feel that God gave me this penchant for writing (some people even tell me that it's a gift) for a reason. So I write because I think that this is what He created me to do.

7. How do you find time to write?

I'm a failure in this department. Apart from the day-to-day kind of writing that I have to do for work, I find it really hard to sit down and compose my thoughts; even for things such as a blog entry.

For leisure, non-blog-related writing, I haven't done this in years. I'd really like to try writingwriting again, though.

8. When and where are the best times to write?

I'm a morning person, so I usually attack my job orders in the morning and finish writing or brainstorming before 3pm (unless I have to work overtime, of course).

But even when I did writewrite, my thoughts would usually hit me first thing in the morning. I'd sit down after breakfast and start sorting out all of those thoughts and ideas.

9. Favorite food/drinks while writing?

I need something to munch on while writing. Unfortunately, this usually means junk food, which is a terrible habit.

I'm not particular about what I drink, on the other hand.

10. Your writing playlist?

Nothing in particular. When I'm "in the zone", it doesn't matter if silence is my background soundtrack, or if my iTunes is on.

11. What do family/friends/loved ones think of you writing?

Of course they're extremely supportive (especially my mom). My dad will always be more critical, though, and that's what I need him to be. Growing up, he was worse than my Language teacher when it came to grammar and writing techniques. So when I'd get his approval, I knew I was in a good place.

My friends are also very encouraging, but that's kind of expected of friends, I guess? I wouldn't know what other people think of how I write (apart from my colleagues who see my work on a daily basis, that is).

12. Parts of writing you enjoy the most?

When an idea hits me. When the words seem to flow endlessly. When everything falls into place and makes sense. When I can find a way to end my stories/pieces brilliantly (at least in my opinion).

13. Parts of writing you find challenging?

Starting. Ending. Continuing. Reviewing what I'd written, hating it (which is 99.9% of the time), and looking for which part/s to change. Editing. Having someone read it, not knowing what they think of it.

14. What do you write with and on?

I need to use a computer to write. I have a harder time when I write on paper or even on my iPad. For some reason, I need to see the words flow on a big white canvas (i.e. a blank page on MS Word) and I need to feel my fingers flying across the keyboard.

15. How do you overcome writers block?

I struggle with this at work every now and then, and it's really hard (especially because we have such tight deadlines). And it's worse when I try to writewrite for myself, because, as mentioned earlier, it's been difficult to sit down and gather my thoughts.

When it comes to copywriting at least, I'll look for some kind of distraction: I'll go on Facebook, watch YouTube videos, read something else. If none of these work, I'll write random words 'til something hits me.

16. How do you motivate yourself to write?

I read something that I wish I'd written, i.e. a book or a piece with a style that I'd like to emulate or incorporate into my current style.

Also, call me really shallow, but I tell myself that if Veronica Roth can do it, so can anyone else. (She was in college when she started writing Divergent; it has since been made into a film, and so will the other two books in the trilogy.) Hahaha!

17. Authors who inspire you as a writer?

The authors of my favorite books. I can't begin to name all of them because I'm afraid I'll forget someone.

18. Books that inspire you as a writer?

Oops, I pretty much answered this in the previous question. But I'm partial to descriptive writing, especially in fiction. I like imagining that I'm actually there when the story takes place, that I'm one of the characters. I don't just read these books as a spectator; I'd like to be where the action is. (But of course I'm also picky about how a story flows, be it linear or non-linear.)

One of my favorites in terms of descriptive writing is Carlos Ruíz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind. I'll never forget how enamored I was with his writing style when I first read this book; I was in Barcelona just as much as Daniel Sempere, the protagonist, was.

If I were to pen a young adult novel, I'd love to have the imagination and craftsmanship of Lois Lowry.

But it was because of The Berenstain Bears that I wanted to be a writer when I was 4 or 5 years old. Though I was still confused because I wasn't sure if I wanted to write and/or draw my own children's book series at the time.

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

Applicable to life as well: when you fall (or fail), get up and try again.

Also, that writing is one of the bravest things that anyone can do for himself/herself, so keep at it.

20. Writing goals this year?

To start (?) writing a children's book, which has always been a dream of mine. I have a vague idea of what I want to do and what it could be about, but I still haven't thought about the characters and the plot/s. Most likely, it'll revolve around Christian/family values, which I feel we haven't explored yet here in the Philippines.

I tag:

Anyone who loves to write for fun, writes for a living, or wants to start writing. So yeah, anyone.

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