blogger whines

I am convinced more than ever that Facebook and Twitter have both conspired to fan the nasty flames of my blogging indolence. (And, yes, they’re also to blame for my heightened self-centeredness and paranoia.)

I woke up one dark morning and realized I could not write more than 140 characters at a time. Horrors!

Worse, any attempt at “long-distance” writing is frequently interrupted by the urge—nay, need—to check friends’ post so I can “like”, comment, retweet, or get lost following links to pictures, videos, articles, or what-not.

Don’t forget to punctuate with an apt emoticon: ๐Ÿ™‚ :/ ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜€ โค or “hehe”, “haha”, or “huhu.” I don’t use “LOL”.

I have never been a consistent blogger to begin with, but since my love affair with social media’s mini-posts, the inconsistency has intensified to an alarming level.

Believe me, I have not taken the matter sitting down.ย Well, maybe I have, but only literally: I’ve sat in front of my computer many times in the past month attempting to break the blogging dry spell.

Iย struggled, despaired, and self-pitied (more than usual), only to churn out half-a-dozen drafts, each never maturing to more than a few sentences.

I’ve read articles—yes, picked up from friends’ FB and Twitter links—that bemoan or celebrate the way social networking media is dramatically changing the way humans (at least the chunk of humanity that has a modem) are thinking, learning, and relating. And writing!

Oh I feel the change.

See, this blog post even looks like a patchwork of Facebook status messages and tweets.

Woe is @aleks_tan.

Then again, maybe that’s the way to win the battle to regain blogging and “long-distance” writing momentum.

Think of each sentence or two as an independent mini-post.

Assemble and then hope the end product resembles something readable, understandable, even “like”-able.


the question

“You don’t blog anymore, do you?”

The question was posed with a kind smile by Ate Grace last Thursday at the Book Fair. “Ate Grace” is actually Grace D. Chong, multiple Palanca award-winner and among our prized authors at OMF Lit. We were chatting during downtime at our booth where she was doing media interviews and graciously signing copies of her children’s books (much to the delight of awestruck young readers and their parents).

Ate Grace’s question lent voice to a feeling inside of me that has been silently bugging me these past months. I replied with a sheepish grin and mumbled something unremarkable about being too busy with work to blog.

Truth is, I feel guilty about neglecting personal creative pursuits, blogging included. I do enjoy my marketing work at the publishing house. It keeps me on my toes and presents enough creative and leadership challenges to keep middle-brained me engaged. Plus I am blessed with a great staff who work as hard as they laugh.

Without realizing it, or perhaps taking time to acknowledge it, I have let busyness with work take me away from the things that I love doing on my own. And that includes blogging. I have all but ignored the creative “itch” these past months with very sparse writing (it gets sparser if you discount writing status messages on Facebook).

I’m not making any promises with this post. No blog marathons to be launched here either. But it does feel good to be blogging again — just because. There is something invigorating when you submit to the call to create no matter how small the output is. I believe this is divine joy gifted by a loving Creator.

Now I wonder when I will start drawing again.


I sit here at a coffee shop corner, satisfied with my plate of pasta and water in a plastic cup—no more coffee for me; I had too much of it earlier today. Around me strangers talk and sip coffee. I wonder at the wealth of stories and lives being shared all around me at this moment…

I feel tired from negotiating two train lines from the Manila hospital where I visited an aunt who just had a hysterectomy. The LRT was not as crowded as I had expected, and the clean and airconditioned train car I hopped on was… nice. How long has it been since I last boarded the LRT line? For a moment during the ride, I thought I wasn’t in Manila, but in some foreign city. The trip was actually pleasant, including the part where I got lost for a moment but quickly regained my bearings, thanks to signage. (I know.)

Maybe this little snippet from my day will help resuscitate this blog?

remember me?

There were at least three instances the past week when I caught myself thinking, Hey, I should blog about this. Which I never did. And now I don’t remember those supposedly bloggable things.

I read that some people, creative folk mainly, keep a notebook and pen handy for capturing good ideas if and when they pop up in the course of the day. Nowadays, there’s the omnipresent cellphone for taking notes whether through texting or, if you’re weird enough, voice recording. I have a PDA phone and yet I’ve allowed many light-bulb thoughts, blog-related or otherwise, to fleet to oblivion. Silly me always believes what the lazy part of me (which is by no means a small part) whispers: Oh, you’ll remember it – if it’s any good, it should be memorable.

But! The issue isn’t whether or not an idea is memorable — the issue is my memory! My brain sometimes goes on auto-snooze mode (much more often now that I’m thirty), and I forget little things, like where I left my house key… whether or not I unplugged the flat iron (don’t tell my housemates!)… where my sign pen or USB thumb drive is… ย or, uhm, what is this post about?

Lame, I know. Sorry. Really, this is just me and my valiant attempt at breaking the blogging dryspell… again. But ’tis true: I’m forgetful.

Thanks for not forgetting me though ๐Ÿ™‚

caffeine boost

I can’t remember the last time I had coffee at this hour, almost 11PM. Grabbed a cup at Jollibee on my way home. Need the caffeine boost to finish a presentation for tomorrow’s sales conference. But I’m not complaining. I’m all-smiles, in fact ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a fun evening interacting with the folks at Beng’s group. Spoke to them about “new media” and blogging. I sure hope some of them will give blogging a shot ๐Ÿ˜‰ The blog evangelism continues!

I missed two days of my 30-day blog marathon. Hay. My internet connection was down yesterday, and so I couldn’t post. I know, I could have written something offline and then copy-pasted as soon as I could. But I didn’t, and I feel such a loser… The challenge continues though; the setbacks notwithstanding. This dude ain’t givin’ up just yet.

Monday is a holiday. Woohoo! Looking forward to sleeping in and catching up on some reading and DVD viewing. Monday will be hermit mode, the calm before the storm that is Tuesday with all its meetings.

Coffee’s half-done. I think I feel its perk-up effects. Awryt, it’s psychological, I know; caffeine takes effect three hours after intake. Or so they say. But I’ll settle for psychological caffeine boost for now. Off to the presentation… ‘Night, y’all!

new heads, anyone?

I have to do something about that Mac-ishly blue header. (Not that I have anything against Macs; I’d loooove to get my hands on a MacBook Air!) The creative in me is itching to spruce things up up there. But somehow the simplicity of this template is already strikingly attractive. And yet, I just know that I must, I must customize header! It’s almost like a compulsion. That space is definitely gonna change before my 30th birthday.

I think I can use a new head—above my shoulders, this time. Ever been frustrated about how sometimes your gray matter can’t seem to catch up with you? You need it to run full throttle, but it refuses to cooperate. You mind-map, squeeze a stress ball, pace back and forth, look at the ceiling, do push-ups (you, not scrawny me), make lists of all sorts–but the wheels just won’t turn! The end result is a headache and double vision. Maybe mine just needs some exercise.

Or maybe this is how thirty-year-old brains operate, and I should get used to it… *gasp*

And there I was, thinking to write something editorial and political. About the Jun Lozada expose… and the ZTE scam… and the systemic corruption in Philippine government.. and government officials’ pathetic attempts at covering up… and moderating greed and… my head, aaaagh!, my heeeead!

Before I go pop a paracetamol, you think we should get a new head? A new head of state, that is?


When I was nine or ten, my father would ask me to recite the poem, “Don’t Quit,” in front of our house guests. I would oblige, without needing to be asked twice, because I knew that after my bombastic recitation, I’d be a few pesos richer. It became my little fund-raiser, that long poem.

It took years before I started to understand the poem which I had so easily memorized one lazy afternoon (oh, the feats young, healthy brain cells can do!) To this day, I can still recite most of the poem from memory. I’ve had to use it to encourage myself and give me perspective during times when I feel like giving up. It hasn’t always worked though. I live with the memories of my share of quitting moments–some which, in hindsight, now seemed like a wise decision, while some I still regret to this day. Thank God we need not be defined by our poor decisions and moments of weakness. For even for quitters — especially for quitters! — God offers grace and hope to stick it out yet another day.

(Don’t worry, I’m not quitting this blog marathon… At least not just yet.)


It’s harder than I had expected, this blogging marathon of mine. Tonight, coming home from a coffee meet-up with friends, I was looking forward to jumping straight to bed. Then I remembered that I still had one thing left to do before the day ended: blog.

And so here I am, on the third day of my 30-post challenge, cramming because in less than half-an-hour this day will be over. I rack my brains for ideas. Most that pop up in my head require time to simmer before they could be written with any semblance of coherence.

My head is still spinning from hearing my friends’ stories and sharing some of my own. The laughter still rings in my ear. I won’t be surprised if my dreams tonight are a montage of mispronouncing college professors, an alleged transvestite named Jean, a badly written novel that could give you a heart attack laughing, Pinoy bloopers abroad, tear-jerker movies and favorite movie lines…

Now I just need to wait for the effects of caffeine to wane so I can start snoozing my way to these crazy dreams.

(One minute to midnight. Whew.)

the psychology behind changing templates

I’ve swapped templates too many times and so impulsively I fear I may have induced migraine in some of you. I’m feeling a bit dizzy myself, so let’s call it even.

What’s with the blog template schizophrenia? I guess it’s how I cope when I know I should be posting but am stuck in a rut. Changing the template disturbs the dust and downplays the lack of new material. Good thing is sometimes the new look does inspire a post or two, in much the same way as redecorating your cubicle or bedroom naturally stimulates new ideas.

It’s curious that I can’t seem to stick with one template for too long. Maybe I have commitment issues? Oh dear.

talk about blogging

When LJ popped me a YM message to guest on her radio show’s episode on blogging, I was a bit hesitant. Although I’ve been blogging (sporadically) since 2004, I am nowhere near being an expert on the subject! But LJ’s charms (ahem!) and our organizations’ long-standing partnership (ahem! ahem!) prevailed in the end.

So there I was, in the radio studio this morning, trying to sound coherent, taking pains not to mispronounce, translating my thoughts to Filipino as fast as I could — all while ignoring the urge to clear my throat (since I wasn’t sure whether to press the yellow or the red button to mute my mic!) The interaction went pretty well, I think. LJ and co-host Kuya Lem asked very good (and easy!) questions, which I hoped I answered satisfactorily. Before I knew it, our time was up and we had to wind down.

Last night, in anticipation of additional traffic on this site as a result of the radio guesting, I felt the urge to review three years’ worth of posts and start deleting those that seem too telling or mushy! The thought of being read by more strangers made me squirm a little inside. Then I remembered one of my earliest posts, titled “Stripping,” about why I decided to blog despite the awkwardness of baring heart and soul in a public blog. That jolted me back to my senses. So don’t worry, every post before the radio thing is still here. Uncensored — except for the one about… never mind ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks, LJ, for having me on your show! (And for giving me something to blog about, thus ending my nearly month-long blogging dry spell.)

As for you, new reader, welcome to my sillyserious soliloquies. May I have the pleasure of eavesdropping on your blog, too? What?! You don’t have a blog yet? Why, start one now! Blog, blog, blog! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Meet Aleks, a blogging advocate. Not bad, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰