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Posts Tagged ‘on writing’


One of the blog posts I wrote during my early years of blogging when I only had a few followers and so few blog posts. Some lines appeared on my memory page so I am reblogging it here today. Funny how a certain quote would inspire one to dream of writing too.

I woke up this morning remembering a well-loved quote in my head. Many, many years ago, I was on my way to school when I saw this guy who wore a shirt with a lovely quote written in front and it made a big impact on me. Oh yes, short of staring boldly at the words, I committed them to memory and that’s what I remember now. It was written by Langston Hughes, an American poet , playwright and novelist.

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Dreams keep us going don’t you think? And I believe, really believe that dreams do come true. Maybe, in my subconscious thought, I remembered these simple lines when I wrote Dreams and Escapes as my blog title. There are simple things in life that give extra meaning to our existence. There are simple things in life that make us smile and inspire us to go on. There are simple things in life that always add color to our everyday existence. When I was in college, I used to fill up whole notebooks of quotes, poems and inspiring words culled from the books I have read. It makes me happy to read them now and then, always with some remembered thoughts of long ago, the years in between, the tears and laughter and teenage angst and frustrations. I was lucky to have worked for three years at my university’s library when I was in college and still luckier to have read so many inspiring books and to have known so many inspiring authors.

I dreamed of one day writing something that would inspire. I dreamed of one day reaching out to people by sharing my thoughts. I am slowly getting there I guess. Dreams inspire us to go on and see life in all its beauty, not blinded by the ugly realities that somehow we have to face.

One day, I’ll write a poem and will share it with you.

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I just saw this on my news feed at Facebook. People make mistakes in using some of these words. I always notice the wrong use of the word “your” when I am reading shout outs and blog posts. They always say “your welcome” when it should be “you’re welcome”.

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There is this new feature on Facebook going on for I think about a year now. It’s called  On this Day which they feature every day to remind you of what shout outs you previously wrote on your wall. I chanced upon this, a short write-up on writing which I posted four years ago.

Using puff-words (using big words to sound smart) does not always mean you are a good writer. It’s not too uncommon for us to substitute words or phrases that strike us as fancier or smarter for simpler ones. It does not define that you are a good writer that way, what is more important is you get your message across simply and easily, walang palabok, as they say.

It earned a lot of comments from my writer friends who also think that  “a good piece of literature is one that uses everyday words in a way that encourages the reader’s mind to clearly envision the idea that the writer is trying to impart, not how much ‘highfalutin’ words the writer knows”.

I was lucky to get hold of a lovely book On Writing by Stephen King which I blogged about here a long time ago.  To summarize it, another friend said, just KISS which means “keep it simple sweetheart”.  She might have joked about its meaning but I also believe that in all things, simplicity is beauty.

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Good morning!

Just an observation, I know I am not alone in this. I just wonder why some bloggers always say sorry that they haven’t written a post in a while. Such profusion of apologies which may not be necessary at all. Believe me, unless they follow your blog every minute of the day and read  your post every time you click publish, they would not even notice. It is so easy to click FOLLOW (just so maybe they would follow you back) but then sometimes you forget that you have followed a hundred blogs and didn’t even visit half of it except the time you admired that one particular post, except that time your thoughts were in sync with the writer’s words.

I’d rather they click like or even leave a few comments than have lots and lots of followers  who don’t even give a thought to say hi or hello, (sometimes, I am guilty of this). I know, I know, you are not obliged but wouldn’t it be a better blogging world if we interact? Having a silent blog is just like keeping a private diary that nobody is allowed to read. Being published publicly is something else.

What you write defines you in a sense. One gets a glimpse of how you view things around you, how you look at life through your writings, how you share, how you express yourself.  One could write simply and still deliver the message across. One could convey a lovely  message in a single photograph.

Years ago I found this lovely book of Stephen King entitled On Writing (A  Memoir of the Craft). I was completely enthralled reading it.  It was one of the best books I’ve ever read about writing. Keep it simple without those highfalutin words.

“Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up”.

“One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.”

I hear you sir! I don’t write  to impress but to share some thoughts that may inspire others in the process and that alone is one big reason why I blog.

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It’s my first serious read about the art of writing.  I’ve  heard about the book in the past from friends  and I’ve been looking for a copy for quite a long time. It was published ten years ago but it was only now that I got hold of it,  a borrowed copy from one of my daughter’s office mates . Who hasn’t  heard of Stephen King? I remember the first two books that I’ve read several years ago, Desperation and The Regulators (under the pen name Richard Bachman. By the time I got hold of Pet Sematary and The Shining, I was afraid to read his books at night.

This is not exactly a book review but just snippets of some paragraphs  which I liked from the book. I thought at first it was  his autobiography, telling the reader about his childhood and how he started as a writer which you can read here. He was already married with two kids when he began on his debut novel, Carrie. It was the same book that launched him as a full-time writer.

He likens the craft of writing as a toolbox – with all the necessary accessible tools. First on the top shelf is vocabulary. And he says, “one of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.” Next tool is grammar. Bad grammar produces bad sentences. So true, I am not a perfectionist (because no one is perfect) but I cringe every time I read  bad sentence construction. He says further, “one who does grasp the rudiments of grammar finds a comforting simplicity at its heart, where there need be only nouns, the words that name, and verbs, the words that act.” He is funny at times. I was laughing out loud when he said that anyone using the phrases “That’s so cool” or “at this point in time” and “at the end of the day” should be made to stand in one corner and should be sent to bed without supper. Haha! He abhors the use of passive tense and adverbs. On the layer beneath this tool box are  the  three elements of  a story – narration, description, and dialogue .

To sum it  up, he has these to say, “good writing consist of mastering the fundamentals – vocabulary, grammar, the elements of style and then filling the third level of the toolbox with the right instruments.  While it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, and while it is equally impossible to make a greater writer out of a good one, it is possible with lots of hard work, dedication and timely help, to make a good writer out f merely a competent one.”

“Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.”

This is a remarkable book from Stephen King. Would love to read it again if I can find a copy of my own.

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