Writers' Club, anyone? Together, each achieves more, TEAM!

clip_image002MANILA: With a little bit of imagination, it's easy to become a creative writer - it's not easy to be good, better, best.

I'm talking of Creative Writing, Nonfiction, especially PC-based writing of articles, essays, columns, book reviews, lectures, presentations, sharings, seminar papers, speeches, even sermons. And the writing of auto/biographies, manuals, textbooks, even coffee-table books. And writing in Sci Language (my coinage), that is, writing science in popular, people-friendly, even charming English.

If you ask me, creative nonfiction is more exciting than fiction. More challenging and, therefore, more fulfilling when you master it.

Knowing better, one of these days I'm going to visit the campus of UP Los Baños (I'm an alumnus), teach them a handful of secrets in Creative Writing, and with them found a club of writers and would-be-writers young and old. Yes, including the old. Don't forget I'm 72. As in any art, age doesn't matter, gray matter doesn't age - when it's creative.

Of course you can form a writers' club without me. A writers' club is a blessing without a disguise. With a club, you have a TEAM: together, each achieves more (not my coinage). Still, you can have me as adviser; since I'm freelance, among other things I'm always available for a half-day free seminar. But I wouldn't mind a free cup of coffee, or a free lunch. The one who said there is no such thing as a free lunch was either not a Catholic (who says, if you give, give freely), or not an Ilocano (who feels free of any obligation afterwards). I should know; I'm Catholic and Ilocano.

As a club, if you want a 2-day sleep-in workshop by me, you can easily look for sponsors for the event, including take care of lunch, dinner & breakfast.

Why me? Because I'm a self-taught creative writer and therefore practical, not theoretical. I probably have done all the uncreative things, like:
aiming too low
aiming too high
plagiarizing
not observing enough
not reading more than enough
not reviewing many times
not spell-checking
not grammar-checking
not consulting
not asking questions
not taking notes
not building my vocabulary
not learning from the best
not trying my own best
not opening my mind to many other possibilities.

I've learned my lessons, and if I want to multiply them, I have to share them. Don't count your blessings: Share them! and then when they multiply, you can't count them at all. I'm 72 and look at me: I'm still the most creative writer in the world online or offline - and this is nonfiction. If you don't believe me, visit my one-stop blog, The Creattitudes Encyclopedia (blogspot.com), or my very long author's page as an assiduous correspondent of the American Chronicle (americanchronicle.com). I have uploaded to the Internet about 2,000 essays of an average 1,000 words or totaling about 2 million words; at 100,000 words to a book, that is equivalent to 20 big books of 200 pages each, all text. In fact, I have published 5 books abroad. And, truth to tell, I started blogging only in 2006.

So? Any young brash fellow, or any old fool can learn from me!

All in English. Why English? Because I believe this: "The Filipino Advantage is not Filipino but English" (see my essay published last year, on 17 June 2012, The Creattitudes Encyclopedia, blogspot.com). As a people wanting themselves and their country to prosper, why should we write in Filipino when it is not to our advantage? If you aren't convinced, answer me this: "Why are our best-selling magazines and newspapers written in English?!"

In free seminars, I want to share some secrets of writing that you can learn easily, like how to brainstorm productively and alone even when you know next to zero about the subject matter. (Some other secrets you can't learn easily, like how to organize content for maximum impact.)

In fact, I want to found writers' clubs all over the country with English as the language of choice - because it's our competitive advantage over other countries, including Australia and India, perhaps even the United States. Here's a Reader's Digest joke I memorized 40 years ago to drive home the point:

Question: Do you know why they teach English in American schools?
Answer: To teach them a language other than their own.

The Americans speak bad English too, you know. From the worst American speakers, you will hear these (examples from Karen's Linguistic Issues (Karen Bond, telus.net):

He don't care about me anymore.
I never would of thought he'd behave like that.
I'm not speaking to nobody in this class.
He has took the train.
I should have went to school yesterday.
What's that? I can't remember it's name.

You're not alone!

What about spelling? The worst Americans would commit such blunders as these:
appearence
beacuse
can't of been
challange
deatils
embarass
frends
giveing
harnesing
immediatley
independant.

Yes, but grammar & spelling are the least of your worries in Creative Writing, believe you me! Find a good editor and be done with it. If the editor of a publication rejects you because of your grammar, he's a bad editor anyway. If an editor rejects you because of your bad spelling, you're a bad writer anyway - always use the Grammar & Spelling Checker!

Creative Writing is an unmapped territory, and I've been exploring it for more than 50 years already, and enjoying myself much of the time. I didn't enjoy those many years when newspapers and magazines rejected my articles. Either they didn't like my style, or didn't like my politics, or both. But when I discovered blogging in 2006, with the egging of my son Jomar, I discovered the paradise of writing, and wrote with much conviction: "Blogging is the revenge of the unpublished writer" (07 April 2006, americanchronicle.com)

If you aren't yet, you should be out there blogging yourself; I can teach you and create a blog for you free in 5 minutes. So, I'm going out there and give free 3-hour lecture-demos to any group of 20 people gathered in one place and with LCD projection show how anyone can become a creative writer, whether or not you're a manager, housewife, teacher, student, professional, or priest (fair warning to other preachers: I'm a Roman Catholic and will preach you Catholicism - creatively of course.) If you're interested in my seminar, email me: frankahilario@gmail.com.

If you're not a writer in English, why should you be one? If you already are, why should you learn from me? Because English is intelligent, impassioned, and inexhaustible. Because I'm very creative. Because I taught myself, you don't have to repeat the same mistakes I made.

Creativity is like this: I'm thinking of calling the Los Baños group Maquiling Writers' Club Los Baños, and here is the meaning of
M-A-Q-U-I-L-I-N-G:
Mastering the Art of Attaining Quick & Useful Insights with In-Stock Information & Lucubration, Ingeniously.

MAQUILING. If you attend my free seminar, then you will understand the language. If you attend my pay workshop, then you will learn how to do it yourself.

In any case, I will not insist on Maquiling, but on English I will. When we write in English, we can more easily sell the idea of development to our countrymen, whether they are Cebuanos, Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Ilonggos, or Muslims. To insist on developing the Filipino language is to reinvent the wheel; why don't we use English as the wheel instead?

When we write in English, we have the biggest library in the world: widest, longest, deepest, and highest. And, with the Internet, the mind becomes the real zone of competition. With the information superhighway we can travel at warp speed, the lack of a dictionary or library or personal knowledge or an expert to consult with is not a hindrance anymore. Lack of imagination is.

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