Write what you know. This is what they tell you. And so, for the most part, this is what I do. I write about my interests, my passions, events I’ve attended, people I meet, places I visit. This has served me well in my blogging life.
I envy fiction writers though because they don’t always write what they know. They use their imagination to write about and take their readers into other situations, other worlds.
An old cover of Entertainment Weekly featuring author Stephen King.
But perhaps it is because the advice to write what you know should not be taken at face value. Writing what you know doesn’t only refer to events, people, and places in your own personal life. It refers to emotions and feelings. Like Method actors who tap into their own experiences in order to portray a role.
Two-time Oscar award winner Daniel Day-Lewis is a method actor.
Yes, that’s it. Write what you know but don’t be limited by your own experiences. Explore the world. Whether you are writing a feature story, a blog or the next great American novel, do some research, experience, and experiment. If the topic is something you do not know about, then by all means, find out about it. You can talk to an expert, interview others who have experienced and work from there.
I tried. I really did. But after starting the 30 day challenge with gusto, life got in the way. Between working full time and managing my kids’ schedules, I just did not make the time to write. Yes, I’m not saying I could not make the time, I just did not. When given the choice between blogging and sleeping, I chose sleep.
I managed to write 13 new blog posts for this very blog you are reading – not even half way through the challenge. But if you count, posts I had written for other blogs, I made it to 20 or so.
Not bad, I guess. Still, I failed the challenge. However my unfinished challenge did bring about positive results.
The 30 days blogging challenge #30dbc brought me:
New blogging friends. With support from my buddy Oscar Gonzalez and his blogging accountability group, each blog post was met with cheers and comment love. We were in this together until I wasn’t. And for that I am sorry. But if it weren’t for the challenge, I would not have met and read the blog posts of Cliff Cardin, Chris Lema, Andrew Ledford and William Blumberg among many others.
Inspiration. I find that when I wrote about things I was truly passionate about, the words flowed freely.
….and received comments from friends across the globe.
Connections. I wrote about travel and received an inquiry from a website called Dwellable that features vacation rentals and reviews with photos, maps etc. So I am now a featured blogger on the site.
So, in the end, the 30 Day Blogging Challenge was a positive experience that provided that much needed kick in the rear to get into gear. It’s December now and a new challenge has been set. Dare I try again?
In my own mind, I am a cultural icon, but only so I can pretend that one day I will be featured in KCRW’s Guest DJ Project.
KCRW’s Guest DJ Project invites actors, authors, chefs, athletes,directors, tech entrepreneurs and more to share their musical passions. During the show the Guest DJ gives deep insight into their lives and their creative process through their musical choices. In the show, they share and discuss songs that have inspired and moved them.
Since today is Music Monday on the blog, I thought I’d share a random sampling of music that mark sdistinct periods in my life. They aren’t the best songs from those times but they take me back and they make me smile.
Ah yes, the British invasion. I was a young nerd who hardly listened to the radio and did anything considered cool, so when a friend shared this with me in a mixed tape (Remember those?), I thought, wow, this is cool. Whenever I hear Love Plus One now, I can’t help but feel happy it reminds me of simpler times.
And now for song number 2.
Confession time. I was so in-love with Depeche Mode, I even started a fan club in the Philippines. I produced a fanzine and everything. Totally DIY, photocopied and all.
I don’t know if this was ever popular in the U.S. but the video is in black and white. Back then videos at least tried to tell a story.
Stories of Old
Somewhere between the British bands I loved as a tween and my college years, I became so totally unhip and clueless. At that time, I didn’t care too much for music and listened to mainstream pop and whatever retro 70s songs the Manila cover bands were doing. It was a horrible time for me musically. So will skip that time.
Fortunately, by the 90s, I was getting my groove back, listening to alternative music including all the Grunge bands, like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. But what I was really into then was the Original Pilipino Music rock scene. These artists were my friends and it was such an exciting creative time. It also helped that I was working for the hottest modern rock station in the country then.
This song is obviously Beatle-esque and I chose this to share mainly because it is in English, albeit Filipino-English, so some word choices may be awkward to the American ear. The band is called “The Eraserheads.”
With a Smile
Cynthia Alexander was both an artist I admired and a friend. I was a bit of a groupie for a while and during my Lilith Faire phase, I even produced a concert featuring her band and other Filipino female-led acts. I think that if she came out in this age of YouTube, her songs would’ve gone viral.
I’m ending my Guest DJ set with this song, which actually pre-dates my Filipino Rock phase. I was in my 20s and totally identified with the characters in the movie “Reality Bites.” My favorite line was uttered by Winona Ryder’s character Lelaina. There are other cool lines in the movie, but this one resonated with me the most: “I was really going to be somebody by the time I was 23.”
The 1st Orange County Social Media Summit is taking place today, Friday, May 18th, 2012 at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. Nearly 600 people are expected to attend the day-long event focused on Social Media. Topics covered feature everything from blogging, to making videos to posting tweets and Facebook updates.
I caught up with one of the organizers of the event, Rochelle Veturis Coles @rochelleveturis and asked her a few questions:
MT: What made you decide to organize the Social Media Summit?
RVC: “We wanted to give some of our wonderful social media friends the opportunity to share their skills and talents with the community – because they do it so well, and so effortlessly. I learn a lot from the people on stage, and thought it was time to share them with the world.”
MT: Who are the people behind the OCSMS?
RVC: “My sister @HaleyVeturis and I are the volunteer co-producers of the event. Headliner @TedNguyen is not only speaking, but co-hosting and leading the social good and media relations efforts, as well. The Saddleback Church Communications team has been a huge help and support with the graphics, signage, multi-media components and production of the event. Irvine-based ProGroup donated printing of the programs and the Step and Repeat. Our wonderful keynotes have served as an advisory board – and all speakers, spotlights, and panelists, have been gracious enough to help promote. It’s been a team effort, and we appreciate and thank each and every individual who has contributed to making this occasion an all out success.”
MT: What ONE thing do you want attendees to leave knowing?
RVC: “They can do this. They are special, loved, and unique. There is no one like them and tapping into that uniqueness is going to set them free in the socialmediasphere. If they need help, they can contact anyone on stage – we love new media and are passionate about seeing others “get it,” and succeed.”
Follow along on Twitter hashtag #ocsms. Or catch the LIVE WEBCAST here.
Worlds collide. It seems to be the running theme in my life of late. Online meets offline. Jersey meets Cali. The Philippines meets America. It can’t be helped. Technology has brought us closer to each other for better or worse.
As a writer–slash-blogger-slash-social-media-person, my words and pictures are my currency in the world. It is how I am known, how I convey my thoughts, how I am perceived, how I perceive the world.
The OC Blogcrush/ Press Club meeting panel was composed of people I’d consider both friends and colleagues, most of whom had started out as online acquaintances. They were Marcy Massura (Blogcrush, Weber Shandwick), Kevin Sablan (OC Register), Michele Himmelberg (Disneyland), Chris Epting (HB Independent) and Steve Churm (Churm Media).
There were many ideas and opinions that came across that meeting — pet peeves about grammar, the differences between writing for a digital audience and writing for print, and general thoughts on the state of social media with regards to public relations and journalism. And although we hardly had time to directly address the elephant in the room: “Were bloggers replacing “traditional” journalists?” — I think there was a consensus that this was not the case.
According to magazine publisher Steve Churm, (whether blogging or writing for print) “The essence is that it has to be something of quality in short or long form.”
But perhaps one of the most important insights was conveyed by author and Huntington Beach Independent columnist Chris Epting, who said that ultimately, writers and bloggers did the same thing: “We tell stories. We write. The heart of it all is the story.”
I photograph what I eat.
It’s nothing new. Come to a BlogCrush gathering and see the camera flashes go off when a dish is served. It’s an unwritten rule – we all know not to start eating till we’ve taken pictures. My husband wonders why I can’t eat without first documenting my food.
I don’t do it all the time – I’m not keeping a photographic food diary but some really lovely dishes beg to be photographed – for posterity, for beauty…just because.
Cooking is an Art. And sometimes, depending on who you’re with, what the conversation’s about, where you are and what you are eating… well, that can be a fine art too.
Pandan Creme Brulee @Belacan Grill, dining solo
Portobello Mushroom Burger @Veggie Grill dining with @premiddleage and @rochelleveturis