20 Questions on Writing: The Updated Version

20 questions on writing

Just over a year ago, I wrote my answers to the so-called “20 Questions on Writing” on my former blog (as well as a copy-pasted version back in July 2017, when this blog came to life). I guess it’s time to update the answer key!

1. What type of writing do you do?

I write mostly nonfiction (feature articles and personal essays), as well as a little bit of fiction in the form of short stories and flash fiction. In addition to that, I contribute to a Filipino travel website and an international esports content platform whenever I can.

I keep journals in private.

I still suck at writing fiction, but then again I try my best.

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

Mostly, my stuff involves essays on life and society, along with bits of poetry here and there.

I like to think that my art is relevant to the world around me.

As for my fiction pieces, they’re mostly based around science fiction, along with some light stuff.

On other occasions, I just write about life. Especially about blood, sweat, tears, steel and all that stuff.

3. How long have you been writing?

If you count the years that I’ve been writing garbage, that should make up for 13 long years.

However, I only started writing seriously back in 2013. That should make for more than six and a half years of relatively careful work…

In 2018, I finally felt the confidence to write in a versatile way. In 2019, I think I had my breakout moment – I just got published in a lot of places.

So far, 2020 has been kind to me as far as my writing goes, so I do hope that it stays that way!

4. Are you published?

I have a byline, and my name appears inside multiple anthologies, so I can safely say that I am a published writer now.

However, I don’t have a book yet, so I’m not yet a published author.

I do hope that I get to publish my first-ever physical book really soon!

5. What was the first story you ever wrote?

A military science fiction story on my notebook back in high school. I really liked writing war stories until I saw a real one in 2013.

But then, I already witnessed an armed conflict in 2001, so I really wonder what made me write military science fiction…Oh wait, yes, I’ve been watching a lot of war flicks back in the day!

6. Why do you write?

I’ll never change this answer.

I write because I want to be able to make a difference in this world through my writing. I do this stuff because I believe that I can open up minds and hearts to the numerous colorful worlds that the imagination can create.

As a trailer for a Chinese esports tournament states, “Dream it, do it.

7. How do you find time to write?

Try working at a strenuous eight-hour teaching job that involves children, in addition to the occasional overtime (and Saturday service), then anyone with a fully-functioning brain can realize that it’s quite hard to do so.

I still aim for an average of one to two hours per day, because I’m aware that if I don’t set aside time for writing, there’s no reason why I should even call myself a “writer”.

Worst-case scenario is that I just read books (i.e. novels) or articles regarding the field that I’m writing on.

I am disciplined in my writing when needed.

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

I’m most comfortable when I’m at my table at home, inside my room.

I typically write in the evenings (8-9:30 p.m., that is), though I also write a lot on Saturdays and Sundays.

There are times that I extend up to the wee hours of the night, especially when there’s a lot of content to cover or if I really wanted to finish the draft on that day.

However, there are times that something comes to my mind – I write it as soon as I can. I want to write it while it’s still fresh.

9. Favorite food/drinks while writing?

I like drinking fruit smoothies when I’m writing. It makes me feel alive!

10. Your writing playlist?

It really depends. As long as it allows me to focus on my pieces, that’s good enough for me.

It’s a telling sign that I have over 700 songs on my computer, so I do have a broad selection of music tracks.

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

They know it’s my passion in life anyway, so we might just as well skip this question.

Seriously though, I remember one of my friends saying that I would have made a wonderful bureaucrat or scientist.

But I don’t regret anything at all. Besides, when I’m done with this thing called teaching, I can always go into the civil service…

12. Parts of writing you enjoy the most?

The joy of being able to see a finished story (or poem…or essay) in the flesh as well as the times when I actually get momentum and churn out three to four thousand words a day.

13. Parts of writing you find challenging?

Proofreading, editing and finishing the entire thing, especially if it’s an extremely long piece. God knows that I’m an extremely impatient person.

14. What do you use to write with and on?

Typically, I use my beloved laptop in order to do my write-ups faster.

However, for longer pieces (and just in case the laptop proves to be cumbersome to use), I prefer to have a notebook nearby. For some reason, it’s easier to keep the creative juices flowing.

Psychology!

15. How do you overcome writers’ block?

Go away and do something else that is not related to the current piece that I’m working on. Most of the time, I actually finish them one or two weeks later.

This is mostly true for the essays and feature pieces that I write.

16. How do you motivate yourself to write?

Just. Push. Forward.

Really, just as in every kind of art form, you always go back to why you have started doing this in the first place.

Otherwise, I just eat a delicious meal, drink something refreshing (like a lemonade or fruit shake), or play some video games. At one point or another, I get back my fuel to write.

17. Authors who inspire you as a writer?

This is a very quick one. George Orwell and Neil Gaiman inspire me to be better, for different reasons.

While Gaiman opens up one’s imagination (and indeed, his stories are good at doing that), Orwell keeps a person grounded with the realities that a writer must face – as well as ways on keeping one’s writing relevant to the people around you.

18. Books that inspire you as a writer?

Here are four books:

  • Stephen King’s Memoirs of the Craft
  • George Orwell’s Essays
  • Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

However, I’ve read a lot of books in my life. These include hard science fiction such as Asimov’s Foundation, Liu Cixin’s The Three Body Problem series, and the Dune series; I also read a lot of dystopian works from various authors.

I’ll post my recommendations and a list in separate pieces soon.

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

Read. Read. Read. And write more.

Add discipline and consistency to the ones above.

20. Writing goals this year?

Be more consistent. Improve. Be able to publish a physical book.

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