27 Sep

People with strong writing skills get paid more. Now isn’t that a good reason to sign up for FEATURE WRITING 101?

Feature Writing 101 2.0

People with strong writing skills get paid more.

That’s not according to us – although we certainly believe so – but according to writing website Grammarly who surveyed the work and personal profiles and saw that there is a “strong correlation” between writing skills and pay.

That’s great news for aspiring writers who dream of a career as a creative entrepreneur or those who work in the field of communications. It’s also another reason to sign up for Feature Writing 101, one of the bestselling workshops of Writer’s Block Philippines, “Feature Writing 101”, which is now on its second run for the year. The event will happen on October 11 (Saturday), 1pm-6pm in Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City.

Writer’s Block Philippines founders Ana P. Santos and Nikka Sarthou-Lainez, who have been doing workshops since 2010, and have been freelancing even longer than that, will facilitate the event. “It has always been our goal to help aspiring writers find their writing voice and uncover their writing style. There will be lectures on the different kinds of feature stories and we’ll be sharing tips on how to put oomph into your story,” shared Santos, an independent journalist and foreign correspondent who is also the 2014 Persephone Miel fellow by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

“Aside from divulging our own writing techniques and rituals, we’ll have a writing exercise that will be followed by a critique portion where we will give constructive criticism about their written works,” disclosed Sarthou-Lainez who is also a Contributing Editor in Smile, the in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific Air.

The workshop is especially ideal for aspiring freelance writers who want to write for a living, business communicators and even those who look at writing as a hobby but want to polish their writing skills.

No professional writing experience required; just an open mind and a story idea. Oh, and you have to be 18 and above to attend.

Registration is now open and there are only limited slots available! For inquiries and reservations, email [email protected] or contact 0917.397.9927.

Visit www.writersblockphilippines.com for more details.

This event is made possible by Fully Booked, ClicktheCity.com, WheninManila.com, and Dong-A.

20 Sep

Guide to Frequently Asked Questions: Feature Writing 101 2.0

Feature Writing 101 2.0 

What are the details of the workshop?

What: Feature Writing 101 2.0
(FW101)

When: October 11, 2014 (Saturday), 1PM to 5PM

Where: Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City

 

 

How will this workshop benefit me if I am –

An aspiring writer who has not yet been published

 

“FW101” aims to help you find your writer’s voice and uncover your writing style. The discussions will tackle common writing mistakes and common do’s and don’ts.  The different feature stories and the effective ways of developing and writing a lead and storyline will also be discussed.

 

Already working as a freelance or full-time writer

We have had many participants who are already freelance or full-time writers. They welcome the chance to polish their writing techniques and uncover new ones. They also mostly enjoy and benefit from the group session where is each person’s work is critiqued.

 

What does the workshop cover?

 

Introduction: Writer’s Block Founders

The founders of Writer’s Block Philippines collectively have close to two decades of experience in freelance writing. Together, their works on lifestyle, travel, arts & culture, advocacy, sex & relationships, and women’s issues have been extensively published both locally and internationally.

 

Now that they have made freelance writing their full-time job, they will answer the questions they are most commonly asked: why freelance? And how do you make money from writing?

 

News vs. Features

What is feature writing and what kind of story does it tell? We’ll take a look at what feature writing by comparing it to something more familiar: news.

 

Different Kinds of Feature Stories

From the personality feature to the travel and food feature, we will take you through the kinds of feature articles, what each should have, and how to make each one compelling, moving and relevant. There’s a full range of ways to tell your story from listicles to essays.

 

Finding a Story Angle

They say that there are many ways to skin a cat and in this exercise-led discussion, you will find out that there are many ways to tell a story. Just how many? That’s what this exercise aims to find out.

 

Putting the Oomph into Your Story

Effective storytelling enthralls your reader. It is a moment of connection, of magic between the reader and the writer. We’ll see how to achieve that moment with words.

 

Writing Techniques and Rituals

Intimidated by that blank piece of paper or that blinking cursor? We’ll talk about the different ways to get those creative juices flowing and some books that might help.

 

Writing a Lead

The lead is the first thing you will read in a story and, depending on how well it is written, can make you decide whether or not you want to go on reading.  In this part of the workshop, we will talk about writing a good lead and its main function in storytelling.

 

Exercise: Writing Your Story

We’ve gotten our story angles, our story material, and our lead. Now, let’s write the rest of the story. Participants will be given time to write a short feature. The group will break into small groups and discuss the piece for constructive feedback and critique.

 

 

How much is the workshop fee?

There is a P1,800 fee per head, which simply covers the course fee. We’ll take care of the substance, but you take care of your sustenance, that okay?

How can I reserve a slot and settle the workshop fee?

To reserve a slot, enter your name and contact information in our form and then settle the payment via bank deposit. Bank details as follows.

 

Bank: BPI

Account name: Writer’s Block Training Services

Account number: Savings account 1759 0377 11

 

Once you’ve made the deposit, please email us a copy of the deposit slip so we can send you an Acknowledgment Receipt. Please note that fee is non-refundable.

 

Is there a deadline for signing up?

There is no deadline but please note that we will close the registration once all the slots have been filled up. Walk-in participants will only be accommodated if there are still available slots.

 

Who is conducting the workshop?

The workshop will be conducted by Writer’s Block Philippines, a duo of editors and communicators who have collectively had more than 20 years of experience in freelance lifestyle and corporate writing.

 

Ana P. Santos: reproductive health rights and women’s issues

Ana has had over 12 years experience in advertising and marketing communications. Her last position was Assistant Vice President of a financial institution.

 

As an independent journalist and foreign correspondent covering sexual health rights and women in armed conflict, Ana has received media grants from Newsbreak, Probe Media Foundation and the Philippine Press Institute to cover population and development issues.

 

Most recently, she was awarded the 2014 Persephone Miel Fellow by Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

 

 

Nikka Sarthou-Lainez: lifestyle / travel

Nikka has over 10 years of experience in writing for various online and print publications, as well as developing content for corporate clients. Her last corporate post was Associate Lifestyle Editor at a major publishing company.

 

Currently, Nikka is a full-time freelance writer handling independent projects and corporate accounts. She is a Contributing Editor in Smile, the in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific Air.

 

 

What do I need to bring to the workshop?

We’re encouraging everyone to take notes so please bring whatever writing materials you’ll need. Laptops are not recommended though as power outlets will be limited. As a provision, you may also want to bring a sweater or light jacket.

 

Who do I contact for more information about the workshop?

You can call us through this number (0917) 397.9927 or email [email protected] You can also check out our website: www.writersblockphilippines.com.

11 Aug

Join our workshop on Writing for the Web & Social Media

Writing for the Web & Social Media

Your sources of news updates is Twitter, you can’t let a day go by without checking Facebook and your favorite “programs” involve a hashtag like #tbt or #flashbackfriday.

Everything–and everyone—is now online and writers should be, too. Writers and business communicators need to be a step ahead of this fast-paced digital age. Writer’s Block Philippines will have an upcoming workshop called “Writing for the Web & Social Media” on September 6 (Saturday), 1pm-6pm in Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City.

The organization’s founders, Ana P. Santos and Nikka Sarthou-Lainez, who have been doing workshops since 2010 will facilitate the event. “In this particular workshop, we will talk about how the transition from print to online affects the way we receive and consume information and its impact on writers,” disclosed Santos, an independent journalist and foreign correspondent who is also the 2014 Persephone Miel fellow by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

“There are various opportunities for writers who want to write for online publications or specialize in social media and we plan to share information and tips during the workshop,” revealed Sarthou-Lainez who is also a Contributing Editor in Smile, the in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific Air.

The workshop will feature guest speakers who are experts in their respective fields. Ros Juan, a digital strategist specializing in social media integration, will discuss writing opportunities in social media. Stacy De Jesus of Rappler will discuss multi-media storytelling and how to use crowd sourcing, inforgraphics, instaquotes to engage your audience and get your message across.

The workshop is ideal for writers who want to tell their stories better and business communicators who are looking for ways to maximize customer engagement through the different online platforms available.

Registration is now open and there are only limited slots available! For inquiries and reservations, email writersblock.ph@gmail.com or contact 0917.397.9927. Visit www.writersblockphilippines.com for more details.

07 Aug

FAQs: WRITING FOR THE WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA

Writing for the Web & Social Media

GUIDE TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)

What are the details of the workshop?

What: Writing for the Web & Social Media

When: September 6, 2014 (Saturday),
 1PM to 6PM

Where: U-View at the basement of Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Who is this workshop for?

Everything now is on-line. If you think about how and where you get your information, chances are you get it online. Whether you’re checking your Twitter feed or your Facebook timeline or a news app, you most likely get your information on a screen. The transition of information from print to online has made it imperative for writers and communicators to keep up.

“Writing for the Web & Social Media” is a fantastic way for aspiring writers and business communicators who want to break through and understand the on-line space. In this workshop, on-line experts – let’s call them digital natives – will buddy up with writers so participants can better understand how to make their stories  rise above the on-line clutter using through crowdsourcing, by harnessing multi-media channels and writing a punchy irresistibly clickable Twitter headline.

Participants are required to be at least 18 years of age.

How much is the workshop fee?

There is a P1,800 fee per head, which simply covers the course fee. We’ll take care of the substance, but you take care of your sustenance, that ok?

What is the course outline?

The founders of Writer’s Block Philippines, Ana P. Santos and Nikka Sarthou-Lainez, started out as print and on-line writers.  They are digital converts who are continuously learning new ways to tell their stories.  More and more, this means being it front the camera instead of just behind it.

I. The evolution of writing: How did we get online?

Butlers used to iron the newspaper daily to prevent their masters from getting ink-stained fingers. Now, butlers can cross that task off their list as ink-stained fingers are a thing of the past, thanks to clicking and swiping.

We’ll look at how shrinking information screens (from the TV, desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone) influences the way we receive, consume and retain information.

Smaller screens have made for shorter attention spans and ushered in multi-media as the new normal.

II. Multimedia is the new normal

The Internet is a multi-dimensional platform where you can mix a multitude of elements to tell your story.  Audiences expect to read, hear and watch your story all at the same time. Our multi-media expert will show us how to use different on-line tools like crowdsourcing, infographics and short documentaries to make a bombastic story package.

III. Writing for social media

Communication is now, and forever will be, two-way. It presents a great opportunity to interact with your readers, build a following and even get a social dipstick reading on public perception.

One of our Scribes & Scribblers, Ros Juan, who is also our resident social media guru, will take us through the different social media channels and show us how social media can be used to engage audiences and build between a relationship between you and your reader.

IV. Writing Exercise and Critique

Participants would be given sufficient time to write and get critiqued.

How can I reserve a slot and settle the workshop fee?

To reserve a slot, enter your name and contact information in our form and then settle the payment via bank deposit. Bank details as follows.

Bank: BPI

Account name: Writer’s Block Training Services

Account number: Savings account 1759 0377 11

Once you’ve made the deposit, please email us a copy of the deposit slip so we can send you an Acknowledgment Receipt. Please note that fee is non-refundable.

Is there a deadline for signing up?

There is no deadline but please note that we will close the registration once all the slots have been filled up. Walk-in participants will only be accommodated if there are still available slots.

Who is conducting the workshop?

The workshop will be conducted by Writer’s Block Philippines, a duo of editors and communicators who have collectively had more than 20 years of experience in freelance lifestyle and corporate writing.

Ana P. Santos: reproductive health rights and women’s issues

Ana has had over 12 years experience in advertising and marketing communications. Her last position was Assistant Vice President of a financial institution.

As an independent journalist and foreign correspondent covering sexual health rights and women in armed conflict, Ana has received media grants from Newsbreak, Probe Media Foundation and the Philippine Press Institute to cover population and development issues. She is also the Associate Editor of Illustrado, a Dubai-based lifestyle magazine for Filipinos.

Most recently, she was awarded the 2014 Persephone Miel Fellow by Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Nikka Sarthou-Lainez: lifestyle / travel

Nikka has over 10 years of experience in writing for various online and print publications, as well as developing content for corporate clients. Her last corporate post was Associate Lifestyle Editor at a major publishing company.

Currently, Nikka is a full-time freelance writer handling independent projects and corporate accounts. She is a Contributing Editor in Smile, the in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific Air.

What do I need to bring to the workshop?

We’re encouraging everyone to take notes so please bring whatever writing materials you’ll need. Laptops are not recommended though as power outlets will be limited. If you’re the type to get chilly easily, bring a light jacket to keep you warm (and awake!)

Who do I contact for more information about the workshop?

You can call us through this number (0917) 397.9927 or email [email protected]. You can also check out our website: www.writersblockphilippines.com.

17 Jun

Fellowships open for the 18th Lopez Jaena Community Journalism Workshop on Reporting Corruption in October

The University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) will hold the 8th Graciano Lopez Jaena Community Journalism Workshop from October 3 to 8 at the UP College of Mass Communication, Diliman, Quezon City.

Fellowship slots are available for this workshop. Applications are open to full-time print, broadcast and online journalists, as well as selected journalism educators and students.

This year’s workshop theme is “Huwag Kumorap: Investigating Corruption in Media and Government.”

Resource persons from the academe, government and non-government organizations will speak on issues like investigative reporting, corruption-related laws, ethics and freedom of information.

Since its first workshop in 1985, the Lopez Jaena Community Journalism Workshop has trained hundreds of community journalists. Among the past fellows are Cong Corrales, Raymund Villanueva, Dino Balabo, Froilan Gallardo, Frank Cimatu, Ilang-ilang Quijano, Jo Clemente, Diosa Labiste, Danny Calleja, Flor Abanto and Maurice Malanes.

Applicants should be currently engaged in the journalism profession with at least two years’ working experience. They should also be below 45 years old. They must submit an application letter; resume; two published/broadcast news reports; a story plan for an investigative report on corruption in media or government; and an endorsement from their editor, local press club president or a Lopez Jaena Community Journalism Workshop alumnus.

Limited slots may be given to senior journalism students. Student applicants are required to submit an application letter, resume, sample works and an endorsement from their professor, department chair or dean.

The fellowship will cover board and lodging. Participants will be billeted inside the UP Diliman campus.

Interested journalists, journalism educators and students may send their application papers to The Project Director, 18th Lopez Jaena Community Journalism Workshop on Reporting Corruption, College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

The deadline for applications is on August 1.

For more details, please call the Office of Extension and External Relations (OEER) at 920-6864 or 981-8500 local 2668 or email at [email protected]#

11 Jun

Five Things You Should Know Before Starting a Freelance Writing Career

Thinking about starting a freelance writing career, but not sure where to start or worried that it won’t work? Here is a list of five things you should know and do before venturing out on your own. Just remember that the most important thing is to think of yourself as a creative entrepreneur and not just someone waiting for the next gig.

1. You’re going to need some start-up capital

Sure, you’re going to have to spend for the usual:  laptop, printer (get the multi-purpose one so you save space and money), business cards and so on, but like any business you’re going to need some start-up capital.

Your start-up capital will cover the operating expenses of you starting out, getting assignments, building a network and waiting to get paid.

Have at least six months to cover your monthly expenses of rent, transportation and communication and groceries. This start-up capital will also serve one very important purpose: it will prevent you from resenting the initial stages of writing where the jobs and the pay come in trickles.

2. Expect ROI after a minimum of two years

Rome wasn’t built in a day. So don’t expect your freelance writing career to be any different. Like any business, give yourself two to three years to break even before you throw in the towel or say that a freelance writing career is not sustainable.

3. You need to make a business plan

You are not simply a freelance writer, you are a creative corporation and your byline is the brand that you want to be known for. Make a business plan for market and expand this brand. Try dividing the business plan into the different departments in a company and don’t limit yourself to a Word or Excel document.You are a creative enterprise so make your own rules and go ahead and make a business plan out of a dream board, a collage or a mind map.

Executive Department:

-Long-term vision

-Key strategy to achieve that vision

Sales and Marketing

-Services and products you can sell or produce

-Marketing strategy

Finance

-Revenue streams

-Investment of future income

HR

-Skills training

-Conferences and networking activities

CSR

- Pro-bono work

-Lecturing or speaking at a university or school organization

4. Set monthly sales targets

Set a monthly target for yourself and the work backwards. What will it take for you to meet your target? Having this goal will help you price services and prioritize projects.

Always keep track of how far off you are from your target and monitor cash flow by tracking the projects that are in progress and when you expect payment.

5. Protect your main asset: yourself

One of the main trade-offs of freelancing is if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. (Until you can set up a passive income revenue stream, that is). Your main revenue-generating asset is yourself. Protect and cover yourself with necessary insurance: medical insurance and car insurance at the minimum. If you get sick for whatever reason or get into a car accident, you won’t have to worry about the unexpected expense throwing a monkey wrench into your budget.

Writer’s Block Philippines will be holding a one-day writing and business planning workshop entitled, “Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career” on 19 July, Saturday at Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City. Reserve a slot by logging on to www.writersblockphilippines.com.

09 Jun

FAQs: Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career 2014

writers-block-05-horizontal

GUIDE TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

What are the details of the workshop?

What: Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career

When: July 19, 2014 (Saturday), 11AM to 5PM

Where: The Forum, 4th floor, Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

How will this workshop benefit me if I am –

An aspiring writer who has not yet been published

“Jumpstart Your Freelance Writing Career” (JYFWC) has very practical tips on how to get published, finding stories, and living a sustainable life as a creative entrepreneur. It also aims to dispel the myths—and highlight the realities of freelance writing and help the participant start out with the proper mind frame needed to start a career as a writer.

Already working as a freelance or full-time writer

JYFWC is all about creating a career as a writer. If you are already working as a freelance or full-time writer, this workshop can help you learn about the other different writing opportunities that are available, to help diversify your income.

You will also learn how to market and brand yourself as a writer.

Who can join the workshop?

You don’t have to be a published writer to join the workshop. As long as you have an interest in pursuing writing as a career—and are 18 years old or above—you can sign up for the event.

What does the P1,800 fee cover?

The P1,800 per head simply covers the course fee. Kindly note that expenses for food and drinks are for the account of the participants. 

What is the course outline?

The founders of Writer’s Block Philippines will discuss the following topics:

I. Why freelance?

Why should you freelance? It is about having more free time or just doing what you want? While both may be true, we will look at the pros and cons and the myths and realities of freelance writing as a career.

II. Opportunities

Freelancing is and can be a viable and sustainable career. We will look at the various writing opportunities, how to capitalize on them and maximize them as diversified earning potentials.

III. Marketing Yourself

Your byline is your brand. Just like any brand you need to market yourself, create your portfolio, and create a positive image for yourself as a writer.

IV. Practical Side of the Business

We will discuss the practical side of becoming a creative entrepreneur and how to achieve a sustainable lifestyle as a freelance writer.

V. Getting Published

How do you start a freelance writing career? How do you get published? First, you have to know how to write a pitch. A pitch to a writer is what an audition is to an actor—it’s a potential job that can lead to other potential jobs. Our pitching session—which has nothing to do with baseball—will clue you in on what editors are looking for and how to pique their interest.

VI. Writing Exercise and Critique

Participants would be given sufficient time to write a pitch and get critiqued.

How can I reserve a slot and settle the workshop fee?

To reserve a slot, enter your name and contact information in our form and then pay for the workshop fee via bank deposit. Details as follows.

Bank: BPI

Account name: Writer’s Block Training Services

Account number: Savings account 1759 0377 11

Once you’ve made the deposit, please email us a copy of the deposit slip so we can send you an Acknowledgment Receipt. Please note that fee is non-refundable.

Who is conducting the workshop?

The workshop will be conducted by Writer’s Block Philippines, a duo of editors and communicators who have collectively had more than 20 years of experience in freelance lifestyle and corporate writing.

Ana P. Santos: reproductive health rights and women’s issues

Ana has had over 12 years experience in advertising and marketing communications. Her last position was Assistant Vice President of a financial institution.

As an independent journalist and foreign correspondent covering sexual health rights and women in armed conflict, Ana has received media grants from Newsbreak, Probe Media Foundation and the Philippine Press Institute to cover population and development issues. In 2014, she was named the Persephone Miel Fellow by Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

She is also the Associate Editor of Illustrado, a Dubai-based lifestyle magazine for Filipinos.

Nikka Sarthou-Lainez: lifestyle / travel

Nikka has over 10 years of experience in writing for various online and print publications, as well as developing content for corporate clients. Her last corporate post was Associate Lifestyle Editor at a major publishing company.

Currently, Nikka is a full-time freelance writer handling independent projects and corporate accounts. She is a Contributing Editor in Smile, the in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific Air.

Writer’s Block Philippines is also pleased to announce that Candice Lopez-Quimpo, one of our Scribes and Scribblers, will be our guest speaker at this workshop. Candice is an editor and writer and will share her insights about collaborating with editors and what it is that they look for when commissioning a freelance writer.

What do I need to bring to the workshop?

We’re encouraging everyone to take notes so please bring whatever writing materials you’ll need. Laptops are not recommended though as power outlets will be limited. As a provision, you may also want to bring a sweater or light jacket.

Who do I contact for more information about the workshop?

You can call us through this number (0917) 397.9927 or email [email protected] You can also check the www.writersblockphilippines.com.

12 May

Guess who will be “traveling up” with us on our upcoming workshop?

photo - kara santos

We’ve got news for those who have signed up for “Travel the Write Way: A Travel Writing Workshop” on May 25.  Writer’s Block Philippines will be joined by a special guest speaker who will share her experiences on how to successfully put up a travel blog.
Kara Santos is a freelance writer, photographer and the blogger behind Travel Up. Her travels have taken her from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi, from the abandoned desert city of Petra in Jordan to the still vibrant temples of Bali in Indonesia. When she’s not on a plane, boat or bus somewhere far away from Metro Manila on assignment, she can be found motorcycling off for the weekend or leveling up her experience points in the latest PlayStation RPG.
She graduated from Ateneo de Manila with a BA Psychology degree. Years later she got a scholarship to take up Photojournalism in the Asian Center for Journalism still in the Loyola campus.
After working at Reuters shooting rallies, slums, politicians and the occasional quirky news, she became a correspondent for the Inter Press Service and a freelance writer for various publications. Her work has appeared in Sunday Inquirer Magazine, Smile, Leisure + Adventure Travel, Illustrado, and Motorcycle Magazine, to name a few.
It was during an assignment in 2011 for the Inquirer that she got the idea to start a travel blog. She was then covering a media tour of several provinces in Northern Luzon with other journalists and travel bloggers. With just one article output expected from the magazine, the new blog became a platform for photos and other stories that didn’t see print.
After her first post, she became addicted to the idea of writing about her travels. She loved the fact that she could write with more freedom in this new medium. And now more than half a million page views later, her blog is still going strong.
The name of the blog “Travel Up” was inspired by the video gaming concept of leveling up, “gaining higher levels of completing tasks and challenges.”
Another blogger has described her writing as “easy to digest, relatable and allergic to empty adjectives, while still managing to take the reader on a ride to the edge through the experiences themselves”. — The Poor Traveler.
Besides traveling and motorcycling, she also enjoys taking care of her cat Kitness even though the feline sometimes gets in the way of marathon gaming sessions on the PS3 and article deadlines.
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