Writing

All The Things A Writer Wants For Christmas

Happy December! As a writer, there are many things I want for Christmas.

  • A finished manuscript. I seriously need to stop abandoning stories.
  • Some new ideas. Sometimes I have too many. Sometimes I don’t have any.
  • More time. 25 hours in a day would be nice.
  • Small acts of kindness. Is that too much to ask for?
  • Peace and quiet. A baby crying nonstop is the complete opposite.
  • Someone to retrieve my sanity and bring it back to me. I don’t have any monetary reward, but I’ll dedicate my first book to you.
  • More money in my bank account. So I can buy stuff I don’t need.
  • A lifetime supply of books. I’m running out of space so…
  • Another bookshelf. Too bad my room is too small for that.
  • A house with a library in it. And on office.
  • The imposter syndrome to go away. Does it ever?
  • I’d love for my muse to come back to me. I’m not sure where it’s gone. Probably somewhere nicer and warmer.
  • Procrastination can leave me alone. The door is that way. I hope it bites you in the head, you big pest.
  • A strong dose of inspiration. The stronger the better.
  • I need motivation. Desperately.
  • Good sleep. Restful nights where I don’t wake up at an ungodly hour and start to contemplate all of my life choices.
  • A better sense of humour. Or someone who gets my sarcasm.
  • To see people I want to see and not see people I don’t want to. Knowing my luck however, the exact opposite will happen. I see someone who is a stranger to me more than I see my best friend. The universe clearly enjoys toying with my emotions.
  • Patience. Current status: non-existent. I have no idea how people keep calm and collected all the time. I can’t control myself. I’m out of control. Send help.
  • I really want to get over my fear of operating a motor vehicle, so I can drive myself far, far away and write for days. That’s my goal in life.
Writing

30 Things This Writer Will Never Understand

  1. Why people don’t bring me cake after I finish writing a chapter.
  2. Why most of my chapters are short.
  3. Why I’m so short and bookshelves so tall.
  4. Why I can’t reach the top shelf even if I stand on my toes.
  5. Why my toes are always cold.
  6. Why my fingers are cold too.
  7. Why my fingers are big.
  8. Why my fingers like to hit the wrong keys.
  9. Why my phone’s autocorrect doesn’t understand I hit the wrong key, resulting in many typos.
  10. Why my friends feel the need to laugh at my typos.
  11. Why I even have friends when I don’t ever leave the house.
  12. Why fictional characters can’t be real friends.
  13. Why my characters are selfish and whether that’s a reflection of myself.
  14. Why I don’t get an idea every time I look at my reflection in the mirror.
  15. Why I can’t describe facial expressions well even while staring at a mirror.
  16. Why describing facial expressions is difficult.
  17. Why writing is difficult.
  18. Why I almost always tackle the most difficult idea rather than an easier one.
  19. Why I can’t remember the ideas I don’t write down.
  20. Why ideas pop into my head at the most inconvenient moments.
  21. Why I don’t write more often.
  22. Why I don’t always like what I write.
  23. Why I occasionally like what I write and get too attached.
  24. Why I always have to kill what I’m attached to.
  25. Why killing my darlings isn’t as easy as it sounds.
  26. Why dialogue sounds better in my head than it does on the page.
  27. Why notebooks don’t have an infinite number of pages in them.
  28. Why I fill up the pages without being aware of it.
  29. Why I’m not aware of my surroundings at any given time.
  30. Why I’m too aware and start staring at someone with the intention of writing him or her into my story.
Writing

Reasons Why Writers Abandon Stories

I apologize to all the stories I’ve abandoned. Here’s why.

A new, shiny idea comes along. Then I proceed to follow the glittery trail of a new idea. It’s hard coming back to old stories, especially when I fall in love with another one. Or even when I fall out of love with old projects.

I don’t know what happens next. Thanks to my non-existent outlines. Worse, my characters are lost too. Maybe I’d also benefit from doing character sketches.

I just need a break. Stories can get too real, too fast. Some distance is called for. Certain stories exhaust me.

I get bored. I love the honeymoon phase when I start a novel and everything’s novel. Pun very much intended. But once the novelty wears off, I jump ship.

I’m overwhelmed. Fortunately or perhaps unfortunately, I endeavour to write great, epic works.

I prioritize something else. I love writing. But at times, other things take precedence. And even though it’s important to me, my well-being is too.

I move on. There’s nothing wrong with that. I learn all I can from one specific story and go forth into the world to do bigger, better things. Let go. Move on. I rather not stay in one spot forever.

Writing

25 Signs You Might Be A Writer

  1. You go on Twitter when you shouldn’t.
  2. You cheat on your current work in progress with shiny new story ideas.
  3. You bribe yourself to write using cake as a reward.
  4. You start eating while working.
  5. You make a mess.
  6. You watch crumbs fall into the crevices of your keyboard.
  7. You talk to yourself.
  8. You imagine your manuscripts being turned into movies.
  9. You realize that would require you to finish writing your novels first.
  10. You love your story but you hate it too.
  11. You also have a love-hate relationship with your characters.
  12. You want to cuddle your characters, but you need them to suffer too.
  13. You enjoy watching people suffer.
  14. You roll your eyes when your characters don’t follow your outlines.
  15. You wonder if you should even bother outlining in the first place.
  16. You don’t listen to other people’s advice.
  17. You liking giving advice about writing.
  18. You almost never practice what you preach.
  19. You stare at people all the time.
  20. You consider inserting yourself into a story before thinking better of it.
  21. You daydream more than you dream.
  22. You know weird facts about random topics.
  23. You can procrastinate like a professional.
  24. You work way too hard and you’re paid way too little.
  25. You write.
Blogging

You Know You Are A Blogger When

You think about your blog all the time. Even more so if you’re a daily blogger. You love blogging too much to do it once in a blue moon. Besides, life would be boring if you did.

You read articles and books and posts about blogging. Learning by osmosis is a strategy you’ve all but perfected by now.

You can work anywhere, anytime. Even at the dentist’s office right before getting your wisdom teeth removed.

You spend so much time on small details. Like choosing the right font or picking the perfect word.

You have some of your best ideas at the worst times. While you’re driving. When you’re in the shower. So you make a mental note to remember. Inevitably, one too many escape from your memory.

You procrastinate hitting the publish button. Until you realize you’ve been procrastinating for far too long.

You feel a sense of accomplishment whenever you publish a post. Afterwards, you reward yourself by repeating the procrastination cycle.

You don’t know how to talk about your blog to people in real life. What’s your blog called? You stumble and stutter. What’s your blog about? You try to change the subject.

You love your blog. And everything about it. You also love your readers. They won’t judge you, which is all you could ever ask for.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like You Know You Are A Writer When and You Know You Are A Reader When.

School · Writing

How To Write And Win Essay Based Scholarships

I'm not an expert by any means, but I've written my share of essays for school and scholarships.

These are my tips to increase your chances of standing out and possibly winning a scholarship.

Apply for them.

You can't win if you don't apply. Was it Einstein who said, "common sense isn't always common practice" or was it another intelligent human being? Either way, the point stands.

Brainstorm ideas.

You need to write about something. So having a couple topics to explore can't hurt. Obviously, you'll want to pick the best one and run with it.

Cut the unoriginal.

Be different, interesting. After all, sometimes you're judged on creativity or originality.

Don't repeat the essay prompt.

I'm not keen on telling people what not to do, but imagine reading 999 entries that started off by restating the prompt.

Easy reading means hard editing.

Give yourself enough time to edit your essay. At the very least, put it aside for a few days, so when you come back to your work, you see the words with fresher eyes. Even several hours between writing and editing can do wonders.

Follow the rules.

Do what's asked. Provide any necessary documentation. You might be disqualified otherwise.

Grind through it.

At times, you may feel tempted to give up. Keep going. You'll better than you think.

Help yourself.

You want to avoid sabotaging your own entry in any way. Never overlook a small detail or do something that's the opposite of smart. Answer what's asked. Fill out your contact information accurately. Review your submission for grammar and spelling mistakes.

I'm realizing this post isn't all that helpful. Go figure.

Maybe one day Herminia Chow will create useful content that isn't just spewing common sense. Today is not that day.

Blogging

Publishing 1,458 Posts

April 2, 2013: I published my first blog post.

April 2, 2017: I’m publishing my one thousand four hundred fifty eighth post.

That’s a lot of posts.

I know many of them are bad, imperfect, etc.

They’re short.

They aren’t life-changing or mind-blowing.

But that’s okay.

I still remember the days I had zero posts to my name. At one point, I had no followers and no views on this blog. Even though numbers don’t matter, I still can’t wrap my head around any of this.

It feels like I just started blogging yesterday but also like I’ve been blogging ever since I was born.

It’s insane to think I’ve had so many ideas. What’s even more insane is the fact that I’ve published a great number of them.

As for those 500+ drafts I have lying around, some will never see the light of day. Others, with a lot of tinkering, just might.

I can’t say it enough—thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing. I hope you continue to.

Writing

When I Get My Best Ideas

I edit while I write. I can’t help it. Especially when I’m writing an essay and don’t know what to say next. I’ll just start editing what I’ve already written in hopes that inspiration will strike. That an idea will fall from the sky and land in my lap. That some magical solution will solve all my problems.

It doesn’t always. So when I’m stuck, I take a break from writing. And do something else instead. Like reading. Or dancing. Even just eating.

Funny how those moments when I’m not thinking about writing tend to lead to some of my best ideas.