“Do you hear the people sing?

Singing a song of angry men?

It is the music of a people

Who will not be slaves again!”

-Les Miserables

Out of all the writing tips to improve your handwriting, this is the easiest: get lines from a song you like, lyrics that speak best to your mood, and scribble away.

Now this next tip, we think, is both hard and easy. It takes a lot of honesty and a little bit of courage. Some witty writing can get you far. A little lyricism can help that cynicism. But this can take you out of your sheltered cave, where there are no echoes to drown out whatever fear you may have.

This is a call to action: write for the right side of history to come true.

For sure, we get lost in warm-lit flat lays and ink shimmer in cursives, and covet stacked nibs and pens in urushi finishes. But beyond aesthetics that understandably enticed all of us in the hobby, what we actually write down and why we write them matter just as much. Or rather, matter much more.

Our writing is personal at first. We note random stuff. We express our love, and maybe, hate, on paper. We record our present to help our future selves remember how we made sense of the world at different points in our lives.

Right after building enough confidence, we can write for others. We either document events as they happen for other people to know about, or try to analyze them ourselves before sharing them with those we know. Then to the public. Or at least the part of it that we can reach

Great ideas, for one, wouldn’t reach us if they were not written in the first place.

Eventually, we find ourselves writing for those who may not be at arm’s length. Those whose faces we could not even imagine that when we write for them, it feels like we’re speaking to the aether. But when we write to those we’ll never see, of the things that wound us and build us, we get to draw from the deepest, innermost parts of our being. We surprise ourselves as we connect with strangers — our peers — and find that we have so much in common.

These could be lines of triumphs. Of desires. About needs and aspirations. We all feed one another’s curiosity and fuel a collective passion. These questions, answers, and narratives grow into novels, theories, and movements. And you find that your ideas have snowballed far beyond that first word you’ve written in cursive on fine, unruled paper.


Note how we were moulded by words. We can similarly shape our future history if we can help write it out.

Express your thoughts. State your fear of climate change. Declare your disdain for thieves and dishonest crooks who try to cling to power. And strengthen your argument with words penned by people before us, by those who were silenced by what they have written.

Vote with your pen. The nib remains a freedom symbol because when critical writing is suppressed, there is no freedom. It has been visually overused in sketches about media, expression, and oppression. Even now when real ones are less used. Yet the pen held by a clenched fist, a cliche as timeless as two hands cupping a blue and green globe, reminds us that writing is a battle.

Even as shimmers and bulletproof pigments excite us, and the touch of our grail pen gives us a thrill, may we let truth and justice drive our pen across the pages.

Right now, there would be slow days with not much to write but simple entries on your planner. It will be business as usual, perhaps with an ink swatch to match your note-taking.

Also, there will be days when issues call for us to make a clear stand, and draw the line beyond paper. On such days, when the truth is being challenged, and social justice is put aside; when so much hangs on the balance and your only weapon and tool are words, we urge you: WRITE.

Getting your thoughts out can be scary. Speaking out can be intimidating. But journalists need readers who share grave untruths, blatant lies, and duplicity that they uncover. Similarly, write for what is true.

At times when impunity rises, the weak are tread upon, and corruption abounds, write for what is just.

In the times of shifts and decisions, like what our country is in right now, write. Write for what is right.

Now, pen those words.







View this post on Instagram













A post shared by pennoob.com (@thepennoob)

–by David Sta. Maria and Ronin Bautista