You Can Be a Great Writer Even Though Your English Sucks

Photo: stoneassociatessearch.com

WARNING: You would hate reading the first paragraph.


When it comes to writing, it’s always substance over form, a concept whereby transactions and other events and conditions should be accounted for and presented in accordance with their substance and not merely their legal form. This enhances…

Huwaaat???!!! STOP. STOP. STOP.

Okay, sorry. An accounting nerd possessed me. But seriously, what if I write like that? What if I use jargons or any of those alienic words I learned from my undergrad or masteral so I could impress you a bit? Or what if I write so seriously? Would you still be interested in reading my blog?

I actually considered titling this post “When It Comes to Writing, It’s Always Substance Over Form.” But then I realized it’s not something catchy, not because of the choice of words but because it’s not something that can connect to the readers.

The other day, a close friend and I were talking about the challenges we were currently going through. One of her replies struck me to the core. I was so impressed by the depth of it (or in Filipino, may hugot; in gay lingo, may “who goat”) that I told her she could be a writer. She said she would consider but I should help with editing because she’s not that confident with her english.

My student AC has the same problem. Her first language is english but her English teacher commented that she doesn’t write well. She was wondering why since her compositions were just the same as that of her classmates who got excellent grades — except that her choice of words was simple. And honestly, I disagree with the teacher. I don’t know what her criteria of a good essay are, and I’m giving her credit for being an English teacher, but I see a promising writer in my student.

© Husni Bramantyo

As a voracious reader who can even read a 300-page english novel in one sitting, I’ve seen almost all kinds of writers. Before, I used to read books or articles word per word. Now, since I can already tell right away if the author is good just by the first few paragraphs, I would just usually skim through most of them. I would just get the gyst. HOWEVER, there are exceptional writers who can make me read the whole material without my awareness. They have this writing style that can make you finish reading what they wrote no matter how long it was. What’s the adjective nga? Compelling? Wow. What magic do they have?

That’s the kind of writer I’ve seen in my student and my friend. They have the power to appeal to the emotions. And I think that’s the kind of writer any aspiring writer should aim for (including me). What’s the use of being able to use big words when the readers wouldn’t even go past beyond the first few paragraphs? What’s the use of writing when you cannot even move your readers? What’s the use of having a flawless grammar when your message wouldn’t even stay in your readers’ mind for even just a few minutes? 

Grammar is important. Coherence is important. But once you have made a touch down in the hearts or minds of your readers, these things barely matter anymore. And if you’re really not confident, ask someone to edit your material. But still… it’s the message that counts.

Substance over form.

Aim high,

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* IFRS definition


P. S. You know what? I’ve found out, most writers eventually become speakers. You can become a successful speaker, too! Find out how by clicking this link. 


Photo Credits:

1st: stoneassociatessearch.com; 2nd: © Husni Bramantyo

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GUEST POST: 12 Life Lessons I Learned From 2014

NOTE: This post was from a friend’s year-end reflections. While we may already be halfway done with the year 2015 and the posting may be untimely, the lessons imparted herein are timeless nonetheless so I still think it is still worth sharing. ❤


Photo: dawatmedia.com

Every year, instead of doing a New Year’s resolution list I, find it more interesting to reflect on the things I’ve learned, experienced, and realized over the past year. I do this as a reminder to myself on how blessed I am every year and to make it more meaningful. I thought sharing it through a blog would be great. I do not expect that everyone would be pleased but, I believe some of you would be able to relate some of these thoughts to your own life. If you do, then we can fairly say that we’ve both been there, done that! So here we go. 


Feel free to comment =)


1. Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart.
Quitting should never be an option. Let yourself go through the hardship so you can be at your best. Always remember that Life is tough, but you can be tougher. Find the strength to laugh every day. Find it in your heart to make others smile too. Don’t stress over things you can’t change. Live simply. Love generously. Speak truthfully. Work diligently. And even if you fall short, keep going. Keep growing.


2. Prove yourself to yourself, not to others.
The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday. The RIGHT people for you will love you for doing so, and they will appreciate all the things about you that the WRONG people are intimidated by. Bottom line: Don’t change so people will like you. Be patient, keep being your amazing self, and pretty soon the RIGHT people will love the REAL you.

3. Create your life by making things happen.
Continue to make the choices that allow your life to be purposeful and fulfilling. Most people go through life letting things happen. You are different.


4. There’s no such thing as a self-made person. 
Someone believed, encouraged, and invested in you. Be grateful and be that someone for others too.

5. There’s always another level. Get There!
Believe that you can keep getting better and if you keep getting better you can be whatever you want to be.

6. Let your dreams be bigger than your fears, your actions louder than your words, and your faith stronger than your feelings.


7. It takes some courage to stand up and speak; it takes even more courage to open your mind and listen. 
Pay attention and be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble. The people in your life often need a listening ear more than they need a rambling voice. And don’t listen with the intent to reply; hear what is being said with the intent to understand. You are as beautiful as the love you give, and you are as wise as the silence you leave behind.


8. Don’t prioritize someone who has made us just an option. 
It’s definitely OK to make ourselves available in front of the line this time. Make ourselves #1 for a change. Because whenever we say “yes” to someone else, we automatically say “no” to ourselves. Practice the skills of actively creating what we want, protecting what we value and acting decisively to change what is not working in our life.

9. I can’t brag about my love to God because I fail Him daily, but I can brag about His love for me because it NEVER FAILS!!!

10. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have and how you can bless others with it. 
Being able to give is a Divine gift in itself. Share your blessings.


11. You cannot be good enough for everybody, but you will always be the best for the one who deserves you. 
There’s someone special out there for all of us.


12. Refuse to complain. 
Complaining is just a way of not taking responsibility, justifying doing nothing, and programming yourself to fail. Complaining creates the illusion that you have done something. Instead, pour your energy into improving your situation. When you find ways to be productive and maintain a sense of optimism, you demonstrate that you are in control of your own life.

Self reflection is a good way of unlocking yourself and I say, the world needs the fullness of who you are, and it is through your experiences in life, lessons you’ve learned, places you’ve been, people you’ve met and things you’ve realized that you unfold into that fullness.

Live life to the fullest,

Emman Simbahan


Photo Credits:

1st: dawatmedia.com; 2nd: chrisfendya.com

A Message to My Readers

I made this blog mainly out of love. Through my own learnings and discoveries from being a private tutor, I want to help hands-on parents improve their teaching strategies. I want to give an ego boost to the students who may be having difficulties in school. I want to remind my fellow educators how important their profession is. I want to inspire and uplift everyone through my personal setbacks and triumphs.

Being a website born out of love and obedience to God’s call, I would like my site to be a source of positivity, inspiration, hope and of course… love. I do appreciate constructive feedbacks and I would love to hear from you. However, when commenting on my posts or on other readers’ comments, I encourage everyone to choose your words carefully and be mindful of others’ feelings. While I would still have to approve your comments, I hope you would give me an easy job — where I would just keep on clicking the approve button.

Trolls… Fantards…  Body shamers… The world of internet is already filled with negativities that giving butthurt comments seems to have been the norm. When reading blogs, I have learned to avoid the comments section as it is so rare not to see netizens fighting with each other. It’s sickening. At least, for my blog, let us refuse to take part in it.

Return hate with love. Return a nasty comment with a soft reply.

Let us make this blog a part of the rarity. ❤

Aim high,

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Photo Credit: Carrie Norton

My First Ever Job in the Education Profession

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Most of the time, I would mention in my post that I worked in a tutorial center. I think it would be nice if I give you a little background about it since it was a turning point and has made a gargantuan change in my life. (Okay. I’m exaggerating. It’s just gigantic. 😛 )

My previous work as an auditor really sucked all the energy out of me. I resigned because I thought I really needed a breather. However, while I was on that “vacation,” reality hit me that I’m done with the accounting profession and that God was leading me to another one. What profession? I didn’t know yet so I prayed and even fasted to discern His will. One thing I knew, I didn’t want a full-time job yet (I got sick and tired working overtime), I hate waking up early to go to work (I’m nocturnal), I want a job I would enjoy and of course, a job that would give me a decent pay since I still have to share in our family’s expenses.

But does a job like that even exist?

One day, I received a text from my high school classmate (let’s call him RA) asking me if I would like to work as a tutor. He was then working as a private nurse. His client runs a tutorial center and was in need of a tutor. I immediately said yes. Why?

Not a full-time job? – Check. I just have to work 4 to 5 hours a day.

Won’t make me rise early? – Check. Work is from 3pm onwards.

Pays decently? – Check. It’s just a part-time job but it pays thousands above the minimum wage.

Something I would enjoy? – Mmm… We’ll see. But working with kids seems fun enough.

Twenty-twelve, my mom’s birthday. It was when I was asked to come for an interview. I would never forget that fateful day. Everything fell into place. Everything was easy and I felt God supporting me. I felt as if I was being pushed by the wind to go. My feet had wings and I wasn’t walking at all. Everything around me seemed more vibrant. What a wonderful day! I was excited and my heart was filled with joy. (Maybe, deep inside I knew something good was bound to happen.)

The interview, exam and trial tutoring were a brisk. Everything happened so fast! One day I was depressed not knowing what to do with my life then one day I woke up with my dream job already in front of me. And did I enjoy the job? You bet. Time was ticking away and next thing I knew, it was already time to go. So this is how it feels like to do something you love pala?

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The perks didn’t end there. The center is inside a posh subdivision. Given its location, it caters to the kids from families of the highest socio-economic echelon (which is good because that enables the center to pay the teachers well). Stupid me, I didn’t know it that time. I was shocked when I found out a week later that my lady boss, Teacher N, who dresses so simply — is a daughter of a mall owner and that she, herself, owns a well-known appliance store. (Of course, she didn’t tell us these. Just learned it from the kids and helpers. It’s some kind of an open secret.) My jaws dropped too when I found out who our tutees are — the richest in the country???!!! (Now I’m not exaggerating. Take it as it is.) However, I’m glad I didn’t know these things prior to the interview or else I would have felt the pressure. If I had known who my interviewer was, I might have blown the interview.

Now, why am I telling you these?

Because I didn’t expect working with them would be such a bliss. It gave me a different perspective in life. It opened my eyes to a completely different world — a world of possibilities. I learned a lot of things. I found out they work hard, even the kids, and they are very much disciplined. They are wise with money and they are matipid pala. I thought I was already wise with money, but compared to them, I felt so magastos. Shame on me. They can even work without air con. Haha! And they are simple and humble. Yes, so different from what we see in soap operas.

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I had wonderful students. Aside from the cuteness overload (with pink cheeks that look like they are wearing permanent blush), they are so sweet and so smart! Most parents send their kids to tutor not because the kids need help but simply because they want their kids to excel more. Our studes are expected to get perfect scores in their exams. (Hay, pressure!) The usual trend:  preschoolers get 100% average in their report cards; the first or second graders, 99%; higher levels, 90+. They don’t settle for mediocrity. And I realized I should also do the same if I want to get ahead in life.

And another great thing I got from the job? My employer, Teacher N. Although she’s not popular with the students and other tutors, I really appreciate her as a boss. I’ve been through different kinds of  superiors in the past so I know she’s different. Having worked with bosses who were mostly doing nothing and who merely depended on their subs to do everything (even their own tasks) — I love the fact that while we were busy teaching, Teacher N was busy with her own students too! Though she gets mad at times, that just makes her real. If she dislikes what you’re doing, she would tell you right away… Bluntly… No nonsense… This immediate feedback makes you improve your work. She’s not the kind who would keep mum when she dislikes what she sees and you’d just be surprised that she told another superior of her long list of complaints about you. No, Teacher N isn’t like that. Why complain when you can do something about it? And friend, she knows how to compromise. She wouldn’t just simply impose what she wants. She listens to your side and would think of a win-win solution. She’s open to feedbacks, too. When she’s not busy, she would also make me kuwento about my life. She’s a lola to me.

And that’s it. A background on my first job as a tutor. I know this post has gone quite long but I can’t help my self from gushing on how grateful I am that I landed on that job — to the point that I should consider revising the title to, “Why I’m Grateful for My Job at the Tutorial Center.”

Much to my sadness, I’m no longer connected to them. After 2 joyful years, though I still loved the work, I once again felt God asking me to go somewhere else. But in my heart, I would always be forever grateful for that job. My students, Teacher N and all the memories would always stay with me.

I love you, guys. You’ll be in my heart forever. ❤

Aim high,

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Photo Credits:

1st & 2nd: © Lorelyn Medina; 3rd: masterfile.com