I stumbled upon the following list of questions on A Cathartic Method (I take it the survey was originally tagged by Bea of The Dalaga Project), and found it so interesting I wanted to answer it myself. So here goes!
- What type of writing do you do?
For public writeups, I do mostly essays, feature pieces, creative nonfiction. Privately, just journaling.
- What genres and/or topics do you write about?
I love, most of all, writing about writing. I also write a lot about passion, purpose, creativity, existential philosophy, psychology, perspective, and surviving personal struggles. I write a great deal about my random musings too—just, you know, about life in general.
- How long have you been writing?
Hmmm…I wrote my first “poem” when I was *I think* around 6 y.o. (year 1996). I joined campus journalism when I was in Grade 5 (year 2000). I started my Journal (which I still keep up to this day) early 2005. If I have to say how long I have been writing, I guess I’ll have to start the count from the time I started doing campus journalism, because it was really when I started seeing writing as a craft, and one I wanted to do often and with love. Soooo…long story short, about 15 years.
- Are you published?
Well…I am reluctant to say yes, because by “published” I am prone to think as in one who has published a book, and I haven’t done that. But I have had some of my articles published in newspapers and magazines.
- What was the first story you ever wrote?
Oooh…this is kind of difficult to answer because I’ve never been a serious storywriter. I’ve stuck only to writing articles and have felt little inclination to write stories, novels, or even poems. But I do remember a story I wrote for an English teacher who requested I write one. I was in 4th year high school. I no longer have a copy of the story now, but I remember it was entitled “The Makeup Kit.” It was about a gay teenager whose family was very poor, and then one day their house was burnt down by a fire that ravaged their area. The only thing that the teenager was able to bring with him to safety was a makeup kit. (Hahaha, where did I even get the idea for that story??? I am laughing out loud right now). People mocked him for being able to rescue just that item from their burning house, but soon enough, he was able to use the makeup kit (and his superb makeup skills, I suppose) to earn money as a makeup artist. Eventually, he made a name for himself in the makeup industry, got filthy rich and thus was able to pull his family out of poverty, and lived happily ever after. Hahaha…does it make sense to you? It just makes me laugh now. One of these days, I might rewrite that story and post it here just for the fun of it.
- Why do you write?
Oh where to begin. I write to remain sane. I write because I am fond of memories, and through writing I get to immortalize memories in written snapshots of my experiences, thoughts, emotions. I write to discover. I write to know more about myself. I write to know more about people and understand more about the world. I write to make sense of things. I write to understand, and be understood. I write to connect. I write because it is my way of surviving, of loving, of truly, authentically living.
- How do you find time to write?
I’m not sure I know how to answer this. Maybe this question is for writers who do it as a profession. I write when I find the need to. And when you need to do something, is it not that you are bound to make time for it, no matter how busy you are?
- When and where are the best times to write?
1 a.m. to 4 a.m. in my room.
- Favorite food/drinks while writing?
Coffee and buttered toast.
- Your writing playlist?
It differs every two weeks or so, and I usually just stick to one or two songs at a time. This week, Fast Car by Tracy Chapman (Boyce Avenue feat. Kina Grannis acoustic cover) has been on loop.
Music is a large part of how I retain focus in writing, because I find that putting one song on repeat acts like a “mental fence” for me. My mind tends to wander a lot, all the time. When my thoughts stray away from what I am writing, I encounter that fence and I hum along with whatever song’s playing—then my thoughts no longer stray farther than that. Because the song is repetitive, I’m not too entertained or stimulated by it to be distracted. So after going along a line or two of the song, my thoughts usually get to go back to what I am writing and I regain focus enough to continue.
- What do family/friends/loved ones think of you writing?
I guess they’ve always known that writing is, has always been, and will always be my passion. 🙂
- Parts of writing you enjoy the most?
The soaring: the dawn of an epiphany, the lightbulb moment, the “this-actually-makes-sense-feeling,” the knowing exactly where you’re going with something, the connecting of the dots, the putting of the final piece of the puzzle.
- Parts of writing you find challenging?
The crawling: the drought of ideas, the fear of rejection, the paralyzing perfectionism, the “I-am-not-making-sense-here-feeling,” the scatteredness, the not knowing what to say next or how to proceed.
- What do you write with and on?
Usually pen and paper first for the major points/general outline of ideas, then MS Word on my laptop.
- How do you overcome writer’s block?
I write about having writer’s block—for how long now, how frustrating it is, how I might overcome it, what others have written about overcoming it…you get the picture. 🙂
- How do you motivate yourself to write?
If not by deadlines (haha), by reading things that make me want to write again, like Marla Miniano’s blog Sunday Morning, or Cheryl Strayed’s piece Tiny Beautiful Things, or Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, or great writers’ wisdom on writing compiled by BrainPickings.
Sometimes I also tack quotes on my writing desk—one of my favorites go, “And no matter what they say, words and ideas can change the world” (Dead Poets Society).
- Authors who inspire you as a writer?
Maya Angelou, Cheryl Strayed, Anne Lamott, Tyler Knott Gregson, JK Rowling.
- Books that inspire you as a writer?
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
- Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer?
Be honest. Be clear. Write about what hurts. Stick with it. Make mistakes. Edit ruthlessly.
- Writing goals this year
Write more freely.
Also tagging all of you who read this and want to give it a go. Have fun! 🙂
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