Monday, September 27, 2010

My Writing Philosophy

One of the first lessons I learned when I studied Creative Writing (and something which my professors never taught me, at least not in the traditional sense) was honesty. Or the ability to write unflinchingly about what I observed. One of the biggest disappointments of my life was almost failing a writing class because I refused to be honest, and wrote what I thought the professor wanted to hear.

It took a while, but I learned, and the lesson stayed with me longer than my knowledge of grammar and technical writing.

Anyone can become a good writer, I believe. Just take a course in English and study hard, study patterns of speech and styles of writing and you'll do more than fine. But a clear, sincere and honest rendering of your beliefs and feelings is stronger than the most powerful metaphor in the world. It is better than faith at moving mountains.

Honesty gets to people, and they empathize with it. It strikes directly to the heart, and you'll get a reaction, whether good or bad, creating a connection between you and your reader. I've always believed that good, imaginative writing establishes style, but honesty creates substance.

Maybe that is why I like reading blogs so much. There's a lot of bad writing out there, sure, but there is always a wealth of honesty. I enjoy reading honest posts. It never fails to teach me something.

So I guess my point is this. Fundamentally, writing, for me, is about making a connection. It's about finding a common ground between my reality and yours; that, notwithstanding our superficial differences, we are the same, at least in the important things. Everything else is a footnote.

Photo taken here.


  1. Once again, an amazing post! You always seem to hit the nail on the head.

  2. Very well said!!! Amazing words!

  3. I love the connections I've made with my writing.
    It's wonderful to see comments and to feel like what I've said strikes a chord with someone.

    It's a simple investment, but one that pays big dividends, I think.

  4. I am enjoy reading your posts. Yes blogging is great way to stay connected and to learn new things and see views through someone else. Great Job!

  5. Honesty is truly in the eye of the beholder, n'est pas? I can honestly say I write to thrill myself first, the reader second, which is a type of honesty. I certainly know what you mean about having to 'color inside the lines'!

  6. That is so true! I find that whenever i write something honestly, even if i don't think it's very good, i usually tend to get positive feedback.
    The reason why good, honest writing is so difficult is because it takes a lot of courage. At least for me anyways.

  7. Great Post.totally Agree.Sometimes I just ramble on in my blog,incoherent speech most of the times,but whatever I write I write from my heart,and last time I check the heart says the truth.I love the way you write,it's so polished.

  8. I agree. Some blogs are so true and frank at whatever they are posting.. i admire those kind of blogs.. I love reading blogs, I learn from different kinds of experience they are having... it's like an open eye for the truth in life's of other..

    I thought this post would taught me to be a good writer, and I'm right.. :)

  9. It almost felt like you'd written that for me. For just a moment I had a thought like, "Who wants to read what I have to say anyway?" And then I read your post.

    Thank you :-)

  10. Para maiba naman, maligayang bati sa pagtatapos mo sa iyong exams; pahinga ka na muna. Ayan, Tagalog para maiba talaga hahahaha!

  11. AMEN!! Fantastic! Thank you!

  12. This inspired me to write something. Check it out? :)

  13. Making a connection, is what it is! Glad to have read this post. If I may, I would like to add "writing from the heart" which almost is honest!

    A splendid week ahead.

    Joy always,

  14. congratulations on finishing the bar exams standing. :-)

    I loved this post. honesty gets us through good days and bad, i suppose. artful honesty, not just blatant oversharing ba? :-)

  15. naks! ikaw na ang nakatapos ng bar exams. that deserves 10 PAK's. pak na pak na pak na pak na pak na pak na pak na pak na pak na pak. hehehe :)

    same here. i enjoy reading sincere posts. kaya nga follower mo ako eh. :)

  16. Great post! Honesty is the best policy.


  17. This is also known as the 'f**k mother' concept!! This is where the level of honesty in what you've written is gauged by whether or not it would offend your mother - and modify it accordingly. You know you've reached total honesty when you can say 'f**k mother'!!

    Happy travels

  18. i totally admit to being a bad writer the problem is i'm addicted. i have to be either writing or rreading if not then i am not a happy person. so i always warn people to read anything i write with caution. as usual another great post.

  19. It always makes me a little sad when a blog I follow starts to lose the tone and emotion that caught me in the beginning especially when they start concentrating more on getting traffic. I admire those who are able to earn from their writing but still stay sincere and honest.

    Love this post!

  20. I think honesty certainly gives a visceral edge to writing, well said! However I like that writing can circumvent honesty and recreate it. Excellent post :-) Angus

  21. Honesty sure makes a story a living and breathing matter that many relate to! Thank you for this post!

  22. I have always tried to stay as honest as I can in life, you have to be true to yourself or your writing will never matter. Great Blog...

  23. Hm's supposedly "the best policy" but not when it hurts others. Well at least that's what I believe. But I also believe its good to be honest about writing. I agree with you, writing is all about making connections. Whatever the writing is always tells you about the person. Gosh I can't wait till I take up a Creative Writing class in college, but thats not until another 5 years =P The H/S I want to go to doesn't have a writing program which I'm pretty pissed about. But you can't win =) Great post BTW, but hey...when are your posts NEVER great? *The answer (just in case you were wondering) is never =)*

  24. This is inspirational! I've been thinking of starting a creative writing course. I will make the call tomorrow.
    Stay tuned to my blog @

  25. Fickle Cattle: I don't mean to hound you (this is my second comment to this post), but I want to wish you one big fat happy congratulations for finishing your exams. This IS something to celebrate :)

  26. i also don't mind grammatical or spelling errors in some posts/blogs. some of these posts are even more touching and heartfelt. as long as the person speaks from the heart, no problem with me. :)

  27. I am constantly blown away by some of the content I read on blogs; there are some very talented people out there.

    And then they click on the royal heaping of crap that I write. Many apologies, Internets. I am not a writer.

    Great post.

  28. that's why i love to read blogs, too!! nothing better than someone's random thoughts on any subject that comes to his/her head! i just found your blog and am impressed so far..

  29. You sure know.. how to write.. indeed way too honestly :) Appreciated!!

  30. Honestly, why I blog walk and then follow them back?
    I am not interested in anybody's daily life routine, but I believe that everybody writes beautifully every now and then. That is what I patiently wait for, and probably to decide that, I read even the ones that are not that beautiful.

  31. @Heather and Kmcaffee: Thanks! :-)

    @Ami: I agree with you completely. Writing makes me happy. :-)

    @Jason: Glad you agree.

    @SSW: Thanks!

    @Catharine: Thank you for the well-wishes. And there are several types of honesty. I'm glad you pointed that out. Coloring within the lines is a stylistic device, which should be removed from discussions of whether a piece is honest or not.

    @miranda: I agree. That's why I like them too. Because of the courage people show.

    @Bleeding: Thank you. :-)

    @Kamila: Thanks! I'm glad you got something out of it.

    @Jeanie: Thank you. I love serendipity.

    @Joel: Hahaha. Maraming salamat! I still owe you dinner! Will text you tom.

    @Lootwagon and Cinderita: Thanks!

    @Ela: Just did. :-)

    @Susan: That's why I blog really. Thank you. Have a splendid week too.

    @Sonia: I barely could stand by the end of it, literally. :-) And I agree. Blatant oversharing can be dishonest too I think.

    @Nimmy: Maraming salamat sa mga pak nimmy. Hahaha.

    @Canadian: Thanks!

    @Red: Hahaha. I'll be going around spreading that concept now.

  32. @becca: Thanks! And you don't give yourself enough credit. You write interesting stuff. :-)

    @Candy: Thank you! And I feel the same way sometimes.

    @Freya: Thank you.

    @Beer: That's also true. I find that I'm not skilled enough as a writer to do that though. I admire those who are capable of it though.

    @Tatjana: That's what I think too. :-)

    @Amber: Thank you!

    @Talia: Awww, I love reading your comments. You're so sweet. I'm sure you'll do great in CW class. :-)

    @Daniel: Thanks! I hope it works out well for you.

    @Catharine: Not hounding at all. Thank you!

    @kg: I completely agree.

    @Jessica: Thanks! And I agree, the talent out there can be really outstanding.

    @Summer: Thanks!

    @Aflame: Thank you. Hahaha. I tend to be too honest, that's true.

    @Blasphemous: Well, that's true. I do that too. You never will know if something is beautiful unless you take the time to actually read it and assess its value.

  33. yes, your own 'refusal to be honest' by writing what you 'thought the professor wanted to hear' must have been a miserable experience. Your own self-imposed lines?

  34. i agree...kelangan lang talaga eh ung magpakatotoo ka lang di ba...i think that applies to all, not just in writing and stuff...wala na akong masasabi pa. u

  35. It has been a long while since I read a sensible blog. Thank you.

  36. @Catharine: Nope. That's actually true. Humanities 2. I was 18. I came in with a piece thinking I was a great writer, and he ripped (figuratively) my piece apart during a discussion. Then with every succeeding exercise I grew more and more frustrated because I kept trying to "get" what he wanted me to say or write, and the harder I tried, the less he liked my work. It got really frustrating. Nothing worse than feeling talentless in an area where I've always thought I was particularly talented.

    @asiong and jher: thanks!

  37. And that is why I adore your blog. :)

    I wish I can write like you (and at the same time have as much readers)

  38. Having a passion for it helps too!

  39. Ya did good! I sometimes write the truth but I'm not always ready for people to read it.

  40. I started writing/journalling when I was 11 years old, which fuelled my love of prose and poetry. Being honest is truly authentic, and is a way of honoring yourself. Thank you for your refreshing insight, definitely helps with my creative block I'm experiencing right now.



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