Two “astig” Filipina writers you should meet


A few days after my Museum + Gallery hop with my friends from Italy, and just a day after arriving in Manila from Palawan, I found myself in a different adventure: that of the creative, intellectual kind, where dreams are rekindled and set free. This time, I was to play “creativity midwife,” together with my “sisters” from Writer’s Block Philippines, Ana Santos and Nikka Sarthou, and we were set to give a workshop called “Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career.” It’s WBP’s flagship workshop and bestseller course, and we were very fortunate to have been invited back by Powerbooks Greenbelt 4, one of our favorite event partners, for this event.

Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career 4.0 by Writer's Block Philippines
Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career 4.0 by Writer's Block Philippines

Ana, Nikka, and I were all set to teach, but today I very much felt like the student who needed to learn. Our featured guest speaker was Palanca Award-winning playwright, novelist, and writing coach, Tweet Sering, and her brief lecture about the 7 Steps in the Creative Process felt to me like another of those HUGE signposts giving me a glimpse of my next steps. (Thank you, Universe!) Here I’ll be sharing those seven steps very, very briefly; for most information, I suggest you visit Tweet’s website and inquire about her writing coach services. I know I will.

7 Steps in the Creative Process

(A lecture by Tweet Sering for Writer’s Block Philippines’s “Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career 4.0”)

Disclaimer: While the headings were taken verbatim from Tweet’s slides (and Ana Santos’s notes!), the descriptions are mine and are very rough shortcuts of her more elegantly stated lecture.

1. Know. What is your truth? What is it that you really know for sure? (For me, for instance, I know that I was REALLY born to write and communicate!)

2. Validate. Is that truth (or vision) truly attainable? Where do you need to be and what steps do you need to take for that to happen?

3. Attract. What do you need to get closer to your truth or vision? What mindset do you need to adopt to attract what you need? (This is the part I can relate to the most, I think. I’ve also been watching The Secret repeatedly for years now, and I personally can attest to the Law of Attraction.)

4. Commit. There’s no other way but to begin!

5. Practice. No other way to get better than to PRACTICE! For writers, this means developing a regular writing habit (such as what I’m doing with this blog :))

6. Be brave. Inject your personality into your goal. OWN IT and make it YOURS.

7. Let go. There comes a point when you have done everything possible to reach your goal and make the dream a reality, but when you have to step back and let nature take its course. Farmers wait patiently for harvest season to come, and even God rested on the seventh day, and so should we. (I was very much affected by Step 7, because I’m one who feels guilty during rest periods and need to be reminded that this is essential in the creative process.)

Astigirl: A Grown Girl Living on Her Own Terms by Tweet Sering (Available at Powerbooks in paperback and hardcover)
Astigirl: A Grown Girl Living on Her Own Terms by Tweet Sering (Available at Powerbooks in paperback and hardcover)

Tweet’s talk hit me hard, and a few minutes after her session, I found myself texting my husband and sharing, with a lot of joy, that I have discovered another sign along the path. This also encouraged me to buy Tweet’s latest book called Astigirl: A Grown Girl Living on Her Own Terms. Allow me to quote from the back cover:

In this memoir about “becoming an individual”, Tweet Sering risks the pain of scrupulous self-examination for an important prize: self-knowledge.

By turns sharply funny, intelligent, outspoken, but also pained and bewildered, Sering’s go-for-broke account of her journey reminds us of late-night chats with our favorite friend and shines with a desire to cheer us on into our own journeys of being an Astigirl.

To me, Astigirl sounded very much like Little Rich Girl’s grown-up, gung-ho sister, so I’ve made a commitment to myself to take Tweet’s writing coach program and bring myself closer to dreams of self-publishing and literally “owning” my dream.

* * *

In her talk, Tweet also credits another Filipina writer, Cecilia Beltran, whom Tweet had said that we all should look up. I did, and I found THIS video on her website,

What a cool video from a fellow writer and TEDxer! If given the opportunity, I would LOVE to meet her someday.

For additional background, here is Cecilia’s profile according to her website:

Cecilia Beltran discussed “Why we believe in myths?” at a TEDxEast event in New York. The talk was featured at the Joseph Campbell Foundation Website. Cecilia Beltran was a creative writer for J.Walter Thompson, McCann-Erickson and Basic Publicis for over a decade in Southeast Asia. She wrote extensively on material involving fetal brain development and children’s health for Nestle, Pfizer and United Laboratories.  Later on, she moved to Prague where she became a columnist for an English Newspaper. She now lives in New York with her husband and daughter, writing and lecturing about myths and their link to dreams, meta-psychology and human brain functions. She is a member of the Joseph Campbell Roundtable and conducts workshops on creativity. Also an accomplished photographer and artist, Cecilia Beltran believes that the various art forms of man are the way we bring out the collective stories of life on earth locked within our genes through the images we see in our imagination.

What great inspiration this all had been–and all jam-packed in just under an hour of a Writer’s Block Philippines workshop! I feel truly blessed to have had an encounter such as this, and privileged to have been given the opportunity to make it happen.

* * *

Indeed, this week could be described as nothing short of surreal and waaaay out-of-the-Universe. I couldn’t feel more authentic and abundant than I do now, and could only bow my head in eternal gratitude to the Universe and to the Creator of all creators.


Nina scribble


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