20 Questions on Writing: The Updated Version

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 write for two esports (read: video games) publications (one local, one international) up to this very day. I keep journals in private.

I still suck at poetry, but if my poem in the Philippine Graphic is any indication, then those days are numbered at this point.

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

Mostly, my stuff involves essays on life and society, as well as analytical pieces about teams and trends on certain scenes on esports and a mobile mech game called “War Robots.”

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 five years of relatively careful work…

It is only this 2018 that I finally felt the confidence to write in a versatile way. So far, it’s been working great for me.

4. Are you published?

It all depends on how much you want to extend the meaning of “published work”. Since I am not a writer by profession, I guess I’m lucky to be able to do something when it comes to writing.

For my part, I am proud of my work in Fountain Magazine as well as my piece in the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Young Blood column. Add to that a couple of pieces on several gaming sites, as well as a poem and that’s the extent of my “best writeups.”

With that being said, I want to change that status this year.

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 the face.

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 try harder nowadays to keep a certain amount of discipline.

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 on Sunday afternoons if there’s nothing to do on that day.

There are times that I extend up to midnight, especially when there’s either a big event to cover (as an esports writer) 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.

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.

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

They know it’s my passion in life anyway, so screw the damn question. Sooner or later, I will pursue it.

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 writeups 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.

Otherwise, I just read. 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.

This list will soon expand – if I get to read more Liu Cixin and Umberto Eco, then there you go!

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

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

Read. Read. Read. And write more.

Just add discipline and consistency to the ones above.

20. Writing goals this year?

Be more consistent. Improve. Get a freaking MA in Creative Writing this coming academic year.

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