BATANG MINDANAW: Kid on the block

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/02 February) — Writing is not easy. Others think it’s just putting words together to form coherent sentences, but it’s more than that. Some people take what they read for granted without knowing its “behind the scenes.”

I’m fourteen and I still have so much to learn and improve when it comes to writing. But despite my age I have already experienced some things older and more experienced writers may have experienced. As far as I can remember I’ve always had a thing for writing. I think it’s because since young I’ve been exposed to words. My father is a writer and we have a lot of books at home.

I wrote my first composition in Grade One which was a poem about nature for my Science homework. When I was in Grade Four, I started writing stories whose plot was inspired by the animes I have watched. English and Filipino teachers give a lot of writing activities and I always do my best to get a good score. I used to have a journal too.

So attached I’ve been to writing that sometimes when someone talks to me I wouldn’t answer because I don’t feel comfortable talking. I’m still talkative though. But the thing is that my words sound better coming from my hands than from my mouth. Writing has become some kind of refuge to me. They say actions speak louder than words but sometimes gestures aren’t enough. Sometimes you have to use words.

But as I was saying earlier, writing is not easy. Sometimes you experience setbacks that prevent you from finishing a certain piece. You know that moment when you want to write but nothing comes to your mind? Sometimes you spend the entire day thinking what to write or how to properly word the idea that’s on your mind and fail. Dozens of crumpled papers and erasures after and you still haven’t come up with anything satisfying. Yes, I’m talking about writer’s block.

Aside from their work being plagiarized I think having writer’s block is the worst thing that someone could experience in his or her life as a writer. Albeit I recover from it quickly I have experienced writer’s block many times, and it really sucks. I just sit there and stare at the blank paper or monitor, like a painter having a picture in her head but couldn’t quite get started.

Sometimes it’s worse because I don’t have any idea what to write at all. It’s just blank. It can be very stressful at times but I have learned how to cope with it, and I would like to share it. This is only based from my experience so it might not be effective to others but there’s nothing wrong with giving it a try, right?

1. Chill. Don’t force it or you might explode. Breathe and take your time. Perhaps you need a nap or a snack.

2. Do something else. Watch a movie or go for a walk or take a dump. I don’t know about you but sometimes ideas come to my mind at the most random moments. If something does come to your mind don’t hesitate to write it down even if it’s just a set of phrases and keywords. You might forget it and you’re going to regret it. Ideas don’t come back in the exact same way.

3.  Talk to someone. It can be your friend, your sibling, your boyfriend or girlfriend (if you have one lol. But if you’re single like me then just talk to your friend MUHAHAHA), your internet friend, your pet (don’t expect them to give you a verbal response of course) or even a complete stranger (just make sure he’s not a serial killer). Having someone who you can rant to is stress-relieving and they might even give you suggestions.

4. Spend time with loved ones. Do I even have to explain this?

5. Read. I don’t think I have to explain this either.

6. Listen to music that you love. Music massages the heart and the brain. It has this certain effect on people. It gives you inspiration too. Some successful writers had their works inspired by a song.

7. Write when everyone else is asleep. I write more efficiently at midnight. The words come out easily. I think it’s because it’s very quiet and no one will be able to interrupt me. Also, midnight has this kind of peacefulness that I like: The only thing that I could hear are the occasional sounds from outside, the sound of my pen against paper or the sound of the keyboard as I type and the low and barely audible “breathing” sound of the laptop if I’m using it. Sometimes I become so engrossed with what I’m writing I don’t notice that it’s already 3 a.m.

8. Be simple; keep it natural. Just enjoy what you’re writing and don’t focus on using big words and impressing your readers. This is the reason why I don’t join a lot of essay writing contests. Aside from the time limit, there’s also the pressure of having to win. It’s better if I just write what I want to, and my brain will thank me for it.

9. Do your research. You can find a lot of things to write about on the internet that can help you get started. Or if you already have a topic in mind then you can look it up to have different perspectives.

(Batang Mindanaw is MindaNews’ youth section. Alexandria M. Mordeno, 14, is a third year science curriculum student at the Bukidnon National High School in Malaybalay City.)