Brewed Thoughts: The #buqoYA Experience

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The #buqoYA Experience

Photo from #buqoYA classmate Justine Tajonera
To say that the start of 2015 has been busy is the biggest understatement. I know I still have to detail what I've been doing for the past 2 months, but I just want to get this down into writing while I'm still on a high. In December of last year, I signed up to join one of Mina V. Esguerra's classes yet again, this time for a Young Adult writing session sponsored by Buqo, the premier Filipino digital book store. Two things got me so excited to join:

  • Writing for YA. I've never done YA before and to be honest, it's such an exciting thing. I still remember my favorite YA books during my teen years, and though I still read YA to this day, I want to read more well-written Pinoy YA. Not to sound condescending, but how else could I read more of this if I don't write about it, right? Right.
  • We had the option to write in English, Filipino, or Taglish. I missed writing in Filipino and I wanted to try it out just for kicks. I had an almost-finished manuscript that I wrote during the 2013 Camp NaNoWriMo event—it was YA and in Filipino. I seriously thought I wouldn't be able to use this story any time soon since I had other WIPs as priority. The timing was perfect and it was time for me to flex my Filipino writing skills yet again. 
For the more-than-a-month writing class, we worked on the tropes assigned to us (I got Out of My League), wreaked havoc on Twitter, and enjoyed both first and last face-to-face class meetings. Yesterday we celebrated the conclusion of a successful workshop and it was like a graduation of sorts. There was an endless supply of discussions, jokes, and insight sharing that left everyone smiling at the end of the day.

There were a lot of things I discovered and enjoyed in this class:

  • Writing with a group with a specific deadline in mind works best for me. The kind of support and encouragement I get from a group of writers is still the best way for me to produce a decent output. Being the professional procrastinator that I am, it helps that I get both pressure and inspiration to up my game. I could never accomplish that on my own.
  • I write best in Filipino. I mentioned in class to write in the language that's most comfortable to you, and for me it was writing in my native language. It was relatively easy for me to communicate my thoughts that way, and my characters' dialogues sound more genuine and real to me. Granted that I'll be limiting my audience to Filipinos or to those who know and appreciate the language, the writing journey was more pleasant. I admit that I still have a lot of things to improve on in terms of writing in English, but that's a challenge I plan on working on (as I have a couple more WIPs that need to see the light of day). I'm glad Buqo presented this opportunity as well.
  • We have so many amazing Filipino authors. Seriously. These writers have yet to be read by more people, but I am already excited for my fellow classmates to release their stories into the wild. With classes like these, more people are being inspired to realize their dream of becoming writers, and not just to be famous. 
  • New friends! Because I was so into the support group thing, I was mostly trading tweets with my classmates. It was fun to get to chat with them in person during the last meeting session. Beta reading each other's stories also gave me insights to their writing style and helped me review my own work in a different perspective. 
But the class isn't over over. We still have three weeks to polish our work to its best possible form for publishing. I've got my own work cut out for me, now that the feedback is in (thanks, beta readers). I'm so excited to get my story out soon! I'd like to thank Mina once again for having fun and inspiring classes like these, and to Buqo for being such a gracious sponsor. I'm still thinking of signing up for the April #SparkNA one, but we'll see how things go. :)


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  1. Congrats, Anne! I liked how you chose to write in Filipino. :-) Limited audience, yes, but totally from the heart.

    1. Congrats to you, too, Justine! I'm excited to read your story!