5 Good Reasons Why You Should Attend POWER OF PEN 4, a Food, Travel, and Lifestyle Writing Workshop

May 03, 2014
So recently I heard a good news that Power of Pen 4 will be staged this year, on May 8-9 at the Top Shelf of Fully Booked, The Fort BGC. For those who don’t have any idea what Power of Pen is, it is a workshop which started way back 2009 that aims to provide learning opportunities for new writers. Initially, it focuses on basic tools needed for food writing but as time passed, it now taps related topics which are closely related to the aforementioned subject such as travel and lifestyle writing.

Power of Pen is known to have seasoned writers and esteemed speakers under its helm. These people are all generous in sharing their knowledge and expertise which can greatly help new writers to be equipped with necessary knowledge in the world of writing.

Power of Pen 4, Food, Travel, and Lifestyle Writing Workshop. May 8-9, 2014 at Top Shelf of Fully Booked The Fort, Bonifacio Global City.
Last 2011, I was lucky enough to be one of the workshop attendees during the 3rd staging of Power of Pen. Fresh out of the corporate world, I deemed that taking Power of Pen workshop can help me decide whether to take food writing seriously or just leave it as a hobby and go back to my day job.

Currently, I am writing about food and contributing to different publications. I am also into food styling, recipe development, and food photography (Work with me!) I am blessed to be knowledgeable in the kitchen although I do not have a culinary degree, so everything is just perfect. Yes, I am doing all of this for a living.

I didn’t go back to the corporate world. Not yet, at least. It was not a walk-in-the-park-kind-of-decision. But the day I attended the Power of Pen workshop was the day I decided that hey, I can do it.

Powewr of Pen 4, Food, Travel, and Lifestyle Writing Workshop
Don’t get me wrong though, I am still a work in progress. But my point is, Power of Pen helped me jump start whatever it is that triggered me to celebrate my passion while making a living out of it.

So with the Power of Pen 4 already on its way, I figured I should write some reasons why it can be a big help to newbie writers. I have been receiving a lot of emails from readers who are asking for some tips on how to start or how to be a good food blogger. While I am not yet confident that I can dish out a fool-proof way to become one, I am confident that a workshops like Power of Pen can be a big help.

Power of Pen 3 last 2011
Power of Pen 3, last July 2011.
5 Good Reasons Why You Should Attend Power of Pen 4

1.) You will be handled by seasoned writers and esteemed speakers.

Power of Pen 4 boasts of a great line-up of speakers for its two-day event; Michaela Fenix, Nancy Reyes-Lumen, Joseph Cortes, Felice Sta. Maria, Corazon Alvina, Spanky Enriquez, Ige Ramos, and Marilen Fontanilla.

During our time at Power of Pen 3, one of the many reasons why I was so stoked in attending the workshop was because of the speakers. I swear I was in a fan girl mode, albeit the silent zoning out type, all the freaking time! I was so elated that I get to see them in person and ecstatic, even more so, that I get to learn a lot of things from them. 

I remember I was personally introduced to Michaela Fenix and Claude Tayag and I was THIS close to collapsing. When Claude Tayag told me that he reads my blog I wanted to burst into tears. When renowned food photographer Mark Floro asked why I submitted the photo I submitted instead of the one he was checking on my camera that time, I wanted to punch myself on the face until I bleed to my sorry death. When YedyLicious was included on Spanky Enriquez’s list of highly recommended readings ( no, he wasn't aware I was one of the participants), I did a happy chicken dance… on my way home, while walking under the rain, along Ortigas Center. True Story.

Ms. Tetta Tirona, Michaela Fenix, and Felice Sta. Maria during the Power of Pen 3, July 2011
Ms. Tetta Tirona, Michaela Fenix, and Felice Sta. Maria during the Power of Pen 3, July 2011

I don’t get usually starstruck by my favorite artists, but when it comes to chefs, food writers, and everyone else I look up to in this industry, it’s a different story, I tell you. My friends could attest to that.

Of course having them in the same room, breathing the same air I was breathing was just an icing on the proverbial cake. What were truly worth celebrating for were the gems of wisdom and knowledge I learned from these people.

Claude Tayag
Claude Tayag

2.) You will learn. A LOT.

Having knowledgeable and effective people as speakers could only mean one thing ~ gazillion octane of unadulterated knowledge.

That is if you do your part as a good student. 

You will be given materials for the workshop so all you need to do is to listen, remember, and learn from the speakers.

Nana Ozaeta
Nana Ozaeta

During the POP 3, Nana Ozaeta gave her thoughts about an effective restaurant reviews. Michaela Fenix taught us how to write a recipe and gave us some points about food writing. Felice Sta. Maria tackled about food literacy. Claude Tayag gave us glimpse and shed a light on us about food and travel writing. JJ Yulo told us that in blogging or online food writing, there is no hard and fast rules, you just need to be a better writer. Ines Cabarus talked about the wonderful world of drinks, while Spanky Enriquez entertained and taught us how to write in a compelling way. These are just some of the important things shared and taught to us. 

Now for Power of Pen 4 the subject matter line up includes Travel and Regional Food Writing, Promoting Culinary Tourism via Live Events, Travel Writing, Empowering Culinary Writing to Promote Tourism, The Sm Community Project, How Social Media Can Boost Tourism, Capturing Food in Print, and Getting that Article Published.

Spanky Enriquez
Spanky Enriquez

3. You will have fun.

Contrary to popular belief that writing workshops can bore you to death, Power of Pen is way exciting than most writing workshops I have attended. During our time, there were raffles where some of the sponsors gave away exciting prices such as writing goodies, food (I won a cake!), books, and free cooking workshops from CCA among many others.

There were also hands-on activities during our time since we covered food styling and food photography. Some speakers were also downright entertaining so it really was impossible for me to doze off while laughing my ass off.

Linda Floro on Food Styling Technique
Linda Floro on Food Styling

4. You will meet interesting people, a chance to expand your network.

It’s as if meeting the icons of food writing industry isn’t enough, you will also meet other interesting participants who may end up being your friend for all eternity. You may also meet inspiration which can drive you further into pursuing your passion. The possibilities are endless, really.

5. The outcome will be worth it.

Now I am not saying that the reason why I am already a published writer and making a living out of food styling and photography was solely because of Power of Pen. It wasn’t the only reason but I am certain that the POP workshop played a big role because it was a good start. It helped me realized what is for me and what’s not. It helped me developed my own style, especially when it comes to food photography.

I remember when Mark Floro asked us to grab any food, style it, take photo of it, and submit it to him for evaluation. 

I did what he instructed us to do. And during that time, I was so proud of my work. 


Food Shot, Power of Pen 3
My horrible food shot and styling way back 2011

Seeing this now, I feel very stupid for showing THE Mark Floro this kind of work. He should punch me in the gut and I wouldn’t really mind. 

But he is a nice guy. He walked into my station because he probably saw the million dollar serious look in my face and told me why not submit the other photo instead. That, after explaining to me patiently what it takes to have a good photo and the importance of developing your own style.

It was a long journey after that workshop, but slowly I was able to develop that so-called style he was talking about. Now, I am more confident in showing people my food styling and photography.

This photo showing below is one of the outtakes of the photo shoot I did for a previous food article for a lifestyle magazine. Recipe and styling also by yours truly.  Yes, I am now confident to have my photos published other than my blog.

Still has a room for improvement but decent enough, eh?

After the workshop, I also became confident enough to write and contribute for magazines. I am also part of the book EATS 2014 that got published late last year and still crossing my fingers for other projects to push through in the future while praying for more to come. 

Like what I have said, it’s not a walk in the park, but having the confidence that you were trained by good people in this industry plays a big role in taking a leap every chance you get.

So, there you go. The five good reasons why I think you should attend Power of Pen 4 on May 8-9, 2014. I am sure there are more reasons to, so, I suggest you do not miss this.

Registration fee for two-day workshop is Php5,500 per head and a special price of Php2,500 per head for students. The fee is inclusive of workshop materials from the speakers (in CD format) with lunch and snacks for 2 days

Should you be interested to attend, you may request for a registration form at STRAM Events through contact numbers 352-3187 and/or 0927-7208, email address spo.stram@yahoo.com.ph

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