Travel the Write Way with Writer’s Block Philippines
The last time I attended a workshop with Writer’s Block Philippines was when I was in third year college—it was held in Quantum Cafe in Makati, and at that time, the workshop focused on Feature Writing. I was even with good friends and Creative Writing block mates, Hannah Bernabe and Belle Rodolfo. Hannah is now my colleague in a digital marketing company, while Belle is in her dream career as an Editorial Assistant for Preview Magazine.
ADMU Batch 2012 Creative Writing Block
L-R: Belle, Hannah, Me, Dani, Sir Martin, Sam, AJ and Mavi
I think it’s safe to say that the workshop helped the three of us hone our skills, build our portfolio, and get to where we are now.
Over the summer, the Cupcake and I were thinking about signing up for a class or workshop together—something to help us learn and grow more as individuals. So I researched on what we could do—cooking, baking, photography, etc. And then I stumbled upon the website of Writer’s Block Philippines—which showed the schedule of their workshops this 2014.
Travel the Write Way stood out the most, because it has always been my dream to travel and write about the places I’ve been to. Coincidentally, the Cupcake (who is a really good writer!) felt the same way. And so we signed up, and last May 25, we attended the workshop held in Fully Booked, High Street.
It was a lot of fun! I gained so many new insights and tips on writing, especially ones that I know I can use for the blog.
Here are a few tips I’d like to share from Anna Santos and Nikka Sarthou of Writer’s Block Philippines, and their guest speaker, Kara Santos, of Travel Up.
1. Always have the mindset that you are a traveler, not a tourist!
Tourists like taking snapshots of a place, then moving on to the next. Travelers want to get to know and experience the place even more.
2. You are writing a story.
Whether thematically or chronologically, think of the destination as a person you want your readers to get to know about. Take them to that destination with your words.
3. Watch your language!
Always remember to be descriptive, imaginative, and metaphorical. Let the city’s personality shine through. And if it’s a place you’ve seen or read about so many times, try to see it in a different light then write it in that angle. Avoid cliches and copying other people’s writing styles. You have your own, so use it!
4. Don’t be negative nor underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary.
Always try to frame things positively. Describe how magical a place made you feel. Show. Don’t tell. (This was something our Creative Writing professors repeatedly reminded us. It applies in both fiction and non-fiction.)
5. Great travel writing engages and seduces the five senses.
There are also different ways to write about a place like:
- What and How to Prepare For It
- How to Get There
- Travel Shorts (where you focus on a particular element of your trip)
Is it the food? The shopping? Do you have hotel tips and advice? Do you know of any secret addresses?
Remember to give your own insights. Talk to the locals! Get quotes from them, or learn something new from them.
6. Writing is like a muscle you need to work out.
Just like any other skill, writing takes practice. So keep on practicing, and don’t overthink! Be an avid reader, too. What you read greatly influences how you write, and it helps to expand your vocabulary.
7. Know Your Audience
Learn your target market, and develop your voice or tone. Keep an open mind to constructive criticism.
8. Write details while they’re still fresh on your mind.
This is why I always have my handy dandy notebook with me. It helps me to see something in a new angle, and be more descriptive in my writing.
9. Write an effective headline, a catchy intro, and let photos help tell your story.
This way, your audience will be really glued to your piece.
10. Here are some common templates used in travel writing:
- By Category
- Dear Diary
- Listicle (Top Ten Things, etc.)
- Tips or How To’s
Hopefully, these tips will inspire you to start writing. The hardest part is always at the start, but once you get the hang of things, it becomes a lot easier. With these tips in mind, I’m ready to start writing my travel pieces!
L-R: Anna, Me, Nikka, Cayo, and Karen
If you want to sign up for a workshop with Writer’s Block Philippines, visit their website here.