Writing For A Column

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 Stef dela Cruz 6 Comments

I was stuck at home yesterday because it was raining hard and I thought, “Maybe I should write about how I came to write for a column.” It seemed like a good idea, ergo this blog post. But if you told me five years ago that I would become a columnist, I would have laughed in disbelief.

I set out to become a hospital physician after I got my doctor’s license. But things change. Dreams change. People change.

Whenever I told my parents about a new opinion piece I was working on for my health column, they would look at me with a weird look on their faces. You see, becoming a writer-columnist was something they did not want for me. I initially set out to become a hospital doctor after I got my doctor’s license. But things change. Dreams change. People change.

Writing Roots

I have to admit, I’ve always loved writing since I was little. I remember joining the Secondary Schools Press Conference during high school. I was so excited to even be qualified to join.

All contestants were asked to write a feature article on policemen. Everyone wrote feature articles on cops who became heroes, rescued children from a fire, got injured in the line of duty – you get the idea. I, on the other hand, started my piece with this central question:

“If a cop knocked on your door, would you welcome him to  your home?”

When I found out that my article was the only one that went against the grain, the color drained from my face. I remember thinking how dumb I was for not “getting” what they wanted us to write about.

You can then imagine my surprise when they called out my name during the awarding ceremony.

Dr. Stef dela Cruz wins writing awardI was lucky to have won first prize during the
Secondary Schools Press Conference in my high school years.

Oh, and pardon the bad hair and oily skin – I want to think of myself as a late bloomer, ha ha! Anyway, nerdy look aside, I never thought I would have my very own column years later.

I can’t announce the name of the newspaper where my column is published – at least not yet, as the board has decided to formally launch it at a later date. (Stay tuned for that!) But I can say this much: the health column appears in a national newspaper soon to be found in all Starbucks outlets nationwide, hopefully starting this month. Yippee!

In the next blog post, I share a bullet-point summary of how to write for a column. And yes, it’s not all flowers and cotton candy. But I hope that my bittersweet story shall inspire others to stick to their dreams. In the meantime, feel free to read the Writer’s Manifesto that I follow. How about you, do have your own manifesto? What standards do you follow? Share them via a comment, please!

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!


  1. What a very inspiring post, Stef!

  2. Thank you, Carlo! That was what I was aiming for. I'm glad it inspired at least one person. :)

  3. I'm betting marami pang na inspire sa post na ito. Nahihiya lang silang mag comment. LOLz

  4. Haha! I hope they're not too shy. What a coincidence, I'm about to write about this gene related to shyness in the next issue of the newspaper! But I digress. Going back to the topic, I hope people don't hesitate to comment. I love reading comments - it feels like I'm sucking on a chocolate truffle whenever there's a new comment here. :)

  5. Hello Stef! Congratulations! That's a really interesting story. I guess great writers are those who think outside the box. Sometimes creative people are made to feel guilty for being different, but that shouldn't be. I also want to be a columnist someday. I hope my dreams will come true too.

  6. Thank you! Oh, I've always been a little afraid of being "different". All I wanted before was to fit in! I'm kinda thankful now that I didn't. Hehehe. :)