Without further ado, here’s a set of general tips for Filipino writers out there!
- Try writing in different genres.
If you are a storyteller/fictionist, try writing poetry and nonfiction. Same goes for the essayists out there – try writing poetry and stories. If you are a novelist, do other genres too.
If you write mostly romance, try science fiction. Or mix both. Or maybe make an autobiographical novel, a roman a clef, or both!
Apart from being an exercise in creativity, versatility, and flexibility, you also get to experiment with different forms of writing.
- Submit and publish.
Write, even if it is just 100 words a day. Judging by the background of many writers, especially the younger ones, 100 words is just an appetizer! With that being said, don’t be afraid to submit – even if you get rejected, there will be a time when you will be able to break through!
The advantage of submitting is that you get your name out there, build your portfolio, and put your name on Google (all important regardless of the type of writing that you pursue later/whether you pursue business writing or not – writing for the self/doing professional or literary writing will still need you to do this, to be honest). This includes publishing on your blog or on a writing platform, as well as traditional publishing, self-publishing, submitting to newspapers/magazines/anthologies/collections and the like!
On a side note, many of these publications pay. Yes, you can get your monthly Starbucks or milk tea budget out of their payment, with lots of change to spare!
- Read a lot.
Sorry to say this, but writers need to read, regardless of whether you write for Penguin, PSICOM, Wattpad, or your local newspaper.
Reading good books allows you to use them as your models for later writing (or inspires you to do better), while reading bad books allows you to understand what to avoid.
Reading different genres enables you to comprehend techniques and nuances that will inform your writing in the long run. Reading masterpieces gives you the chance to do benchmarking and see how you can improve your own writing.
Remember that all writers have their own influences. To have your own voice, you have to read – even Stephen King says it’s non-negotiable!!!
- Polish your language.
Yes, mastery of the mechanics of the language that you write on is a must – if you want to get to the next level.
If it’s English, then read the “Elements of Style” – the PDF is available on the internet! If it’s Filipino, then learn from both your books and the people around you. If it’s another language, then make sure to immerse yourself and be familiar with the spelling, grammar, usage and vocabulary rules of that language.
- Research before writing.
I’m not even talking about business writing or journalism here. If you want to respect the material that you write, do the research. Don’t insult the intelligence of your reader and don’t misappropriate cultural (take note that I am using this term in the broadest sense possible) symbols just to be able to write.
Readers spot a shoddy (Tagalog: basura/iskwater) book from afar. On another note, readers appreciate books that engage them at various levels of reading, interest, and engagement – that’s where solid research comes in.
Even at the most simple level, fact-check your writing. That’s the least one can do in the 21st century!
Hoping that you find these general tips for Filipino writers useful in your writing journey. Good luck and keep writing!
Do you want to know where you can submit your work? Read it all in this piece!