31 May 2009

this makes a lot of sense

my acquaintance and facebook contact mimi nolledo, daughter of the late great writer wilfrido nolledo, posted this link sa fezbuk at may-i-read ako sa article. at winner siya ha! it makes a lot of sense!

repost ko lang dahil sa wala akong column na ire-repost today dahil nagkaroon daw ng tech problems ang substitute editor kahapon kaya di na-layout ang aking column. epic fail!!!

oh well.

the article on huffington post is here. my comments in brackets.


by gretchen rubin

One of the challenges of writing is...writing. Here are some tips that I've found most useful for myself, for actually getting words onto the page:

1. Write something every work-day, and preferably, every day; don't wait for inspiration to strike. Staying inside a project keeps you engaged, keeps your mind working, and keeps ideas flowing. Also, perhaps surprisingly, it's often easier to do something almost every day than to do it three times a week. (This may be related to the abstainer/moderator split.)

[i call this "the NVM rule" because i first heard of this from the late national artist for literature nvm gonzales during the 1997 UP writer's workshop in cebu, when we were trapped in bantayan island for 7 superfun days. sabi niya, lagi daw dapat ako magsulat ng kahit ano, lalo na pagkagising sa umaga, walang edit-edit, basta kung ano ang unang sumagi sa utak ko, isulat ko. i used to have a notebook filled with such thoughts which i labeled "the nvm project notebook." i miss nv. he was like a lolo to me.

i was also reminded of this in 1999 in dumaguete naman, when i learned of poet fellow and friend allan popa really forced himself to write one poem per day. one poem! grabe sa dedication ang kuyang yun.]

with co-fellows at the 1999 dumaguete national writers workshop.
here we are in front of silliman university chenelyn.
spot me.

2. Remember that if you have even just fifteen minutes, you can get something done. Don't mislead yourself, as I did for several years, with thoughts like, "If I don't have three or four hours clear, there's no point in starting."

[hm oo nga naman. in short, shorten your procrastination period hehe.]

3. Don't binge on writing. Staying up all night, not leaving your house for days, abandoning all other priorities in your life -- these habits lead to burn-out.

[hay nakoooh. kaya di ako naniniwala dun sa lock-in brainstorming sessions popularized by the abscbn/star cinema peeps early 2000s e, when writing soaps. chaka. kaya abandon ship akey. kaloka, one whole weekend pipigain kayo at nasa hotel lang kayo lahat! kaloka.]

4. If you have trouble re-entering a project, stop working in mid-thought -- even mid-sentence -- so it's easy to dive back in later.

[hm eto di ko pa nagagawa pero try ko nga.]

5. Don't get distracted by how much you are or aren't getting done. I put myself in jail.

[hindi naman distracted. sa akin e barometer yun. self-check like "wow shyeet 54 pages na ko yehey!" works for me hehe. that's how i finished my MA thesis!]

6. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that creativity descends on you at random. Creative thinking comes most easily when you're writing regularly and frequently, when you're constantly thinking about your project.

[yes. see nvm rule. that's why when, during the early stages of blogging in the philippines, i helped test the calliope platform ng i.ph dudes sa first blogging summit and got myself a new blog called "anti-rust punditry" or arparp hehe. that project was a short one to just help me write something almost everyday para di kakalawangin ang writing skills baga. at that time kasi, i wasn't doing much writing for some strange reasons... and this is why blogging helps.]

7. Remember that lots of good ideas and great writing come during the revision stage. I've found, for myself, that I need to get a beginning, middle, and an end in place, and then the more creative and complex ideas begin to form. So I try not to be discouraged by first drafts.

[ay korek ka jan ati. eto ang approach ko sa scriptwriting ngayon e, lalo na't i have to churn a script every week for HAPPY LAND, yung show na pumalit sa LOVELY DAY na dati e dinidirek ko. ako ang narrative scriptwriter ng new show. the first draft is the sequence treatment. second draft with revisions is the fullblown script na. it works.]

saturday mornings pa rin

9.30-10am gma7 mga kapuso. abangan!

8. Develop a method of keeping track of thoughts, ideas, articles, or anything that catches your attention. That keeps you from forgetting ideas that might turn out to be important, and also, combing through these materials helps stimulate your creativity. My catch-all document, where I store everything related to happiness that I don't have another place for, is more than five hundred pages long. Some people use inspiration boards; others keep scrapbooks. Whatever works for you.

[ay naku ang dami kong ganyan, minsan sa gimik nga e, susulat lang sa piece of tisyu and i pocket it. no idea is a bad idea, even if it's stored in your files for a decade already. who knows. sabi nga ni jun lana, siya e may baul ng scripts at huhugot lang pag kelangan. bongga ang ati no?]

9. Pay attention to your physical comfort. Do you have a decent desk and chair? Are you cramped? Is the light too dim or too bright? Make a salute--if you feel relief when your hand is shading your eyes, your desk is too brightly lit. Check your body, too: lower your shoulders, make sure your tongue isn't pressed against the top of your mouth, don't sit in a contorted way. Being physically uncomfortable tires you out and makes work seem harder.

my rainbow room where my writing nook and reading nook is.

in short, library ko teh. that's me at the height (or weight hehe,

see fatness) of my MA thesis rewriting

[ay finally! someone articulated this! some people kasi think maarte lang ako pag sinabi kong di ako makasulat kasi di na comfy ang desktop ko, o yung old laptop ko, at mainit sa bahay di ako makasulat ng tama, na kelangan ko minsan tumambay sa coffeeshop para magsulat lang, o dapat yung chair ko sa bahay pag nagsulat e maayos at perfect chuva. haaaay!

pero bago yung tongue thing ha. masubukan nga.]

10. Try to eliminate interruptions -- by other people, email, your phone, or poking around the Internet -- but don't tell yourself that you can only work with complete peace and quiet.

[haha true ito. kaya nga when i'm in fezbuk, that means i'm writing. reliever yun e hahaha! truly!

and this is where i truly appreciate goldstar. she's the one who finally understood what the temperament of a writer is actually like. she makes sure i don't get distracted and when i do, she helps me stay in focus and on track. i heart this woman. :)]

11. Over his writing desk, Franz Kafka had one word: "Wait." My brilliantly creative friend Tad Low, however, keeps a different word on his desk: "Now." Both pieces of advice are good.

[for me, that laminated postcard-like thingie from lunduyan ng sining's WHAT THESE HANDS CAN DO anthology that says "WRITE" does the trick so far. ... and that ribbon with the small card that says "47th palanca memorial awards for literature" with the red ribbon attached saying "winner" hehehe. vain na at mayabang, pero it makes me strive to top it, e. i don't rest on past laurels. i want new ones lagi hehehe.]

12. If you're stuck, try going for a walk and reading a really good book. Virginia Woolf noted to herself: "The way to rock oneself back into writing is this. First gentle exercise in the air. Second the reading of good literature. It is a mistake to think that literature can be produced from the raw."

[and this is why i heart virginia. she make a lotta sense, too.]

13. At least in my experience, the most important tip for getting writing done? Have something to say! This sounds obvious, but it's a lot easier to write when you're trying to tell a story, explain an idea, convey an impression, give a review, or whatever. If you're having trouble writing, forget about the writing and focus on what you want to communicate. For example, I remember flailing desperately as I tried to write my college and law-school application essays. It was horrible -- until in both cases I realized I had something I really wanted to say. Then the writing came easily, and those two essays are among my favorites of things I've ever written.

[well, oo naman ati. i think that goes without saying.]

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