Why Try? (Nothing’s Happening Anyway)


You have big dreams that came from your big heart and your big visions. Your heart was on fire when you first began, and everything was wonderful and you’re looking forward to finally taking those steps that would lead you closer to your destiny. To your purpose. To your dream.

You felt like you were on the summit of a mountain, enjoying the view of the promised land of your dreams, and everything is so, so awesome and you can’t wait for the rest of your life to begin.

Your heart was full when you first signed up for this. But now it’s just barely beating from all the battering it’s been going through.

It’s tiring sometimes. Exhausting, really, when you’ve been working so hard for the longest time, putting out every ounce of your heart and soul into something you believe in, and yet… nothing’s happening.

Have you ever worked so hard for something, for so long, and get nothing in return? No result. No affirmation. No progress. No victory.

You work so hard, you try so hard, you hustle so hard, but you have nothing to show for it.

It’s easy to just give up then, to just drop the fight. Maybe you’re fighting a wrong battle, you’d begin to think. Maybe you should count this as a loss. Maybe you should throw in the towel. Maybe you should just drop the sword.

Maybe you should just quit.

I mean… why try when nothing’s happening anyway? Why try, when day by the best you can do is to sit by as you watch your dreams die? Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? You wonder. Because it’s been dark and dead and dreary for the longest time and you just want to finally let go. Give up. Give in.

But you can’t. We can’t. We have to go on. We can’t give up, because if we do, then what kind of life will we live?

I don’t ever want to have to look back on my life and be filled with so many regrets. I don’t ever want to feel like I’ve wasted my life just getting by, just because I was too afraid

Here are a few words I’d like to keep in mind when I feel like giving up.

1. Soldier on

So you find yourself in a long, dark tunnel, and you don’t know where it’ll end. Every step loses its purpose, and every breath loses its meaning. You don’t know where you’re going, and you can’t see what you’re doing, and you can’t, for the life of you, see the light.

But hold on, my friend. Keep walking. Keep at it. Because I’ve heard it said that true winners are made and molded in that dark place, where they are forced to take every step towards the light they have yet to see. This dark place is where courage is forged. This is where the heart develops the muscle to endure, and where the soul manufactures the strength to survive.

Victory, they said, belongs to those who refuse to quit, those stubborn men and women who refuse to believe that darkness is all there is.

When nothing’s happening and when you’re going nowhere, keep at it anyway. One step at a time. One after another.

Believe me, every step you take, no matter how small, brings you one step closer to the finish line.

Even if it doesn’t seem like it.

Even if you don’t see it.

That is why we need to have faith.

2. Have faith

Faith is believing in things you’ve yet to see. Faith is knowing that things will work out for your good. Faith, for me, is believing and knowing and trusting that God’s promises will come to pass.

Faith is knowing that there is a God who will not, who does not disappoint.

Faith is knowing that there is still something good that will come out of this darkness.

Faith is knowing and trusting that you will reach the end, that you will find the light, and you will claim that victory.

Hold on. Have faith. And just do what you do.

And when at times it gets so hard, so difficult, so downright trying… remember why you began in the first place.

3. Just love

Wasn’t it because of love that you began that thing?

Wasn’t it because you loved doing it, you loved yourself, and you loved the people who will benefit from it?

Wasn’t that project a surplus of the love that overflowed from your heart and soul?

Wasn’t it because, once, not long ago, your heart beat furiously at the very thought of bringing that dream to life?

It was love that started it. It was love that fueled it. And it is love that will keep those flames burning.

Quietly. Steadily. Constantly.

You work because you love.
You fight because you love.
You hustle because you love.
You try because you love.
You do because you love.

Because you? You are loved.

You are love.

So why try?

You keep trying, you keep working, you keep going, because of love.

One Last Story

It was late. I’ve been working for hours, but I’ve yet to finish the story I was writing. I’ve poured over my notes, and I’ve spent so many hours researching about the material, but for the life of me, I couldn’t even finish one single story.

I was getting frustrated. And angry. And hopeless.

More than 10 years of training and study. A handful of workshops. Generous mentors.

I had everything I needed, everything I could ever want.

But I couldn’t finish my story.

Ayoko na, I said as I threw my pen down, and slammed my laptop shut. Marami namang mas magaling sa akin, bakit ko pa itutuloy ‘to?

I was losing hope. I couldn’t write one single story.

Ayoko na.

I wanted to cry. And the thoughts I’ve imprisoned in the darkest chambers of my mind suddenly broke free.

There are millions of books published every year. What makes you think yours can make it?
There are thousand of writers who are better than you. What makes you think you’ll get a break?
Who would read your story?
You can’t even write a story.
You can’t finish this because you’re not good enough.
You lack training. You lack technique. You lack tools.
You have to work a thousand times harder because competition is so much tougher.

Have you ever been trapped inside the darkest part of your mind? It’s like drowning. It’s like being submerged in dark waters, surrounding you, covering you, stifling you, choking you, and you can’t breathe, and no matter how hard you try to kick and swim, you can’t get up.

jacob-walti-447-karren-renz-senaYou can’t even scream for help, because the terror has paralyzed you.

Help, I remember screaming in my mind. Help. Lord, help.

You know how in the movies, when someone is drowning and you feel as if it’s the end of the line for that character, you suddenly see  a hand breaking through the dark waters to pull that person up?

It was like that for me. I don’t know know how it happened, exactly, but out of the dark that covered me, I suddenly saw a hand reach out to me. I was out of the dark waters and into the light of the sun.

Karren, I didn’t bring you this far just to let you go. The promise will come to pass. You don’t have to try so hard to get there. I will bring you there. I am bringing you there. Trust.


All this time, I’ve been working so, so hard to be a good writer, but I forgot that I wasn’t alone in my journey.

God was with me all along. He was the one that brought me here in the first place.

I also realized this: I’ve been so bent on writing the best stories, the best articles, the best posts, using this technique and that theory, that I forgot what writing truly meant to me.

I’ve been focusing so hard to write for various purposes:
for a contest,
for a workshop,
for a magazine,
for a submission,
for a book that would propel me to international stardom…

But I forgot that sometimes, there doesn’t have to be a purpose for writing. Sometimes, the purpose is to write.

Writing is joy.
Writing is life.
Writing is love.

I forgot what it truly meant to write just because I enjoyed doing so.

I forgot how I started.

I wrote because it brought me joy. Words bring me joy. Stories bring me joy.

I wrote because my stories could bring joy to other people.

I wrote because I love to write.

And I wrote because I love to share what I wrote.

And I forgot all of that, because I tried so hard. I fought so hard. And I worked so hard.

Today, I still have those goals and purposes behind everything I write.

But I try to never lose sight of the most important thing:

I write, because I love.

And it is because I love, that I realize, that somewhere, somehow, something is happening.

Maybe I’m moving hearts.

Maybe I’m inspiring someone.

Maybe I’m changing lives.

Or maybe, for every word I write, it gets me closer to the heart of another story, of another character.

Something’s happening… for as long as I keep writing, something’s happening. I have to believe that.

I hope, dear friend, that you too will find your heart again. Believe that something is happening to you too.

Keep doing it.
Keep trying.

One day, it will happen.

Write beautiful words,

Why Try? (Nothing’s Happening Anyway) was originally published on PROJECT: BEAUTIFUL WORDS

Write That Right Now Batch 3: The Creative Writing Seminar That Transformed Dreamers into Writers





Last July 25, 2015 and January 9, 2016, two huge groups of dreamers walked into Balay Kalinaw, expecting to attend “just another creative writing workshop.” They didn’t know that their souls will be bared open, and that their hearts will be set on fire. They didn’t know that they would walk out of that venue as real writers, with the actual training and heart to finally wield words and use them as weapons that will help change this world.


We all experience bumping into the wall that separates us from our dream to writing down that book, article, story, blog post, or poem.

It may be a wall of fear, feelings of inadequacy, over busy-ness, doubts, or insecurities.

Some people bulldoze their way through that wall. Others dig beneath to get to the other side. Some others would walk its entire length to see a small space wherein which they could pass through. These people live to see their works in print or on the screen.

But sadly, others drop the pen. And the dream will forever remain a dream.

Sounds familiar? Of course it does. You’re probably nodding your head as you read this now, because if you weren’t then you wouldn’t even be reading this in the first place (because you’ll have been writing your masterpiece).

But worry no more. We can help each other break through that wall. This April, we are launching YET another set, another batch, another cycle of dreamers-turned-real-writers.


Why do it again? Because we realized that THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE who are just desperate and hungry to write something. They have messages that they want to share, wounds they want to lay bare, but they couldn’t. This workshop heals. This workshop frees. This workshop empowers. Take it from the people who already took it:

“I came here for an escape. I didn’t know I would find freedom instead.”
— Kris Torres, UST AMV College of Accountancy graduate

“I just want to thank you po for deciding to conduct this workshop! The workshop encouraged me to become aggressive in reaching my dreams as a writer. Apparently, you are an anointed writer/speaker/teacher; you’re blessing so many lives! You are a writer with a strong mind and passionate heart. Whenever you speak about writing, your passion spills over that it reaches my heart too. I’m always close to crying whenever you speak, Ate Karren. ”
— Elaine Factor, contributor, Didache Youth

“Thank you, Ms. Karen. You helped me realize that my passion for writing runs deeper than I thought. It is something that keeps getting a hold on me no matter what path I choose, and I believe God gave me this power for a reason. I can’t wait to share it to the world. Thank you. <3″
— Anngeli Ong, writer

These people are now WRITERS. They have found their words. They have found their voices. Most of all, they have found themselves.

Do you want your own moment? We will do this together, as one group, we will make sure that these dreams won’t just remain dreams.



Write That Right Now! Stop Dreaming and Start Writing used to be a 5-hour jam-packed seminar-workshop… But now, we’ve turned it into a whole-day workshop that will bring out that fermenting story from the depths of your creative soul and into the open arena of not only published, but well-loved works. (Because OF COURSE you can’t just write a book. It has to be a good one; otherwise people won’t bother with it!)

Here’s what you will get from the workshop:

  • Hold It! Basics Before Book! (Stuff You Need to Know If You Want to be the Next Bestseller)
    • Internalize the 5 Pillars of Writing and become a writer at heart
    • Utilize the basic, but most powerful tools that will help you jumpstart your writing career (The Cardinal Rules of Writing)
  • Onwards, Slave of the Word! (Getting Down to the Art of Writing)
    • The Beginning Is Always the Hardest (Beating the Myth of the Writers’ Block)
    • #DigDeep (How to Get into the Heart of Writing)
      • Cutting Scars Open
      • Beating Demons Dead
      • Picking Pieces of Broken Dreams
    • “We’ll Never Go Out of Style” (How to Find Your Style)
    • Spunk, Sass, Sarcastic, Sober, Solemn… Whatever Works (How to Find Your Voice)
    • Who Do I Write For? (How to Find and Reach Your Target Readers)
    • How Do I Get Published? (Publishing Tips from a Professional Editor / Marketing Officer)
  • Sensational Closing (Bringing Home the Fat Bacon)
    • Really, Why Are You Here? (Finding Your Emotional, Soulful “Why?”)
    • What Do You Really Want to Write? (How to Discover the Topic You Want to Write About)
  • AND MANY MORE! I promise!
  • BONUS (Usually an exclusive 3-hour seminar) — Soul Pages: Writing That Heals

Wondering who will be conducting the workshop? I will. I hold no credentials other than 10,000++ hours of practice, more than 10 years of education in Literature and Creative Writing, 3 years of experience in editing, a published book that has ranked in Wattpad and rated 5 Stars in Goodreads, the mentorship of the best and brightest names in Philippine Literature, and years in the publishing industry: 

  • Ricky Lee
  • Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo
  • Nerisa Del Carmen Guevara
  • Eros Atalia
  • J. Neil C. Garcia
  • Ralph Semino Galan
  • John Jack Wigley
  • Charlson Ong
  • and many more!

My most important credential, however, is that like you, I struggle. Like you, I troll around. Like you, I get afraid, I don’t know how to start, I don’t know how to finish, and I am scrap-scared of breaking through that wall. But I did, because look. I am here. My book is published. My articles are published. My blog is growing. My IG is full of writings. I have overcome. Sometimes I still get defeated, sometimes I still get tired, sometimes I still think of quitting. But I’m still here. I didn’t stop. I didn’t quit. And I want to share to you how I did it.

*blows nose*

NOW, are you reading to stop thinking about writing and to actually write… right now? Whatever it is that’s in your head… Write that right now! Join us and we’ll make that happen!


But wait! I bring sad news: I can only accept a limited number of participants.

I want to be able to interact with all of you, and for all of you to get chummy with each other, so a big crowd isn’t ideal. I want us to be able to create a support group so we can help each other turn that dream book/blog/article/whatchamacallit into a reality.


Date: April 9, 2016
Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM (Registration starts at 8:00. We will start EXACTLY at 9:00AM to make the most out of our time).
Location: Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman
Workshop Investment: P2,499.00   —>  P1,999.00
EARLY BIRD RATE (Until March 20, 2016): P1,4,99.00
Mode of Payment: Bank Deposit (BDO, BPI, Metrobank — details are available in the online registration form)

Important notice: Our seminar-workshop only has limited slots. To reserve yours, you must pay the workshop fee in full via bank deposits until April 8, 2016 and send the payment to projectbeautifulwords@gmail.com with the Subject Heading: YOU ARE P*WND! I SHALL SEE YOU IN APRIL 9! Walk-in participants are welcome, but will not be guaranteed slots.


  • Check your email regularly for updates. You might want to check your spam or promotions folder to make sure you read my emails.
  • Do your pre-workshop assignments. YES, YOU HAVE THEM. Because what’s the workshop for if you’re not going to work? Again, check your email regularly to keep abreast with the happenings.
  • Reserve your slots by paying early. Remember, I can only entertain a limited number of participants. I want this to be as intimate, yet productive as possible. This is an in-demand workshop, so you better grab your spot. :)
  • More reminders will be sent to you via email.
  • For questions, clarifications, violent reactions, or plain inquiries, email me at projectbeautifulwords@gmail.com.



Write That Right Now Batch 3: The Creative Writing Seminar That Transformed Dreamers into Writers was originally published on PROJECT: BEAUTIFUL WORDS

On Courage

I was sorting through the files and folders of my laptop when I came across this question I asked the kids a few years ago. I remember saying and asking this out of the blue while we were discussing courage, then I typed down the lecture/question after class so I wouldn’t forget.

“When we were kids, we’d be the bravest people on the planet. We’d jump from the highest step in the staircase, climb the highest bars, swing from one branch to another; we were never afraid to get our hands dirty and discover. We were never afraid to tell what we feel. We were never afraid to believe– in Peter Pan, in Neverneverland, in Narnia, in magic. When we were kids, it was always so very easy to say the truth, and so very easy to say ‘I love you’, and ‘I hate you’. Then we grew up, and suddenly we start being scared. We develop all these phobias that were never really there when we were children: heights, darkness, water, elevators, enclosed spaces, bugs, and cockroaches… truth and love and commitment and honesty. We start to doubt, and question, and second-guess. We lose hope and faith. Why is it that when we grow older, instead of being braver, we become more afraid?”

And then a few months ago, I came across a(n) (e)book and saw this. I never got to share this with my kids:

“He’d never laid claim to being a brave man and he’d only got more cowardly with age. Strange thing, that — the fewer years you have to lose the more you fear the losing of ’em. Maybe a man just gets a stock of courage when he’s born, and wears it down with each scrape he gets into.”

The Heroes, Joe Abercrombie

I stopped reading after I saw that passage.

But only because I had other work to finish.

Featured image credit: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/qjd_Els_mSo/hqdefault.jpg

On Courage was originally published on PROJECT: BEAUTIFUL WORDS


The beginning is always the hardest. That moment when you are standing on the brink, on the edge, at the boundaries of what you want to do, what you can do, what you’re afraid to do, and you don’t know when or how you’re going to take that next step. You’re ready, you know you are, you feel it in your heart in your gut in your soul in your very soul, but then you look at that vast ocean of possibilities and opportunities and suddenly you start to feel small. Can I do it? you ask. Will I sink or will I float? And you have a thousand other questions and not a single answer. You can just stand there, on the brink, on the edge, at the boundaries, and ask questions forever. Or you can just take that first leap—take it afraid, take it doubtful, take it fearful, or terrified even—and find the answers as you go along.

Karren Renz Seña


Featured Photo Credit: https://nousnet.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/trailtracks.jpg


Beginnings was originally published on BECOMING CHAMPIONS

Some Days: A Memo to the Tired, the Weary, the Exhausted

Some days, you just want to give up, yeah?

Some days, you’re all fired up and ready to take on the world, and some days you just want to curl up in your bed and just be.

Some days, you’re the hero, while some days you just want to stand still and not give a damn as you watch the whole world burn.

There are days like that, when the wait is long and the spirit is weak; when the heart yearns and the body aches and the mind just wants to shut down. It happens when you look at your dreams and you see that long stretch of road ahead of you, and you’re out of breath and so, so tired — so very tired — but there’s still no sign of the finish line. You look on ahead and you wonder if you’re even getting anywhere, because one step you take after another just leads you nowhere.

And then you see them. All those people running past you, all glowing and happy and energetic and on fire, on brilliant, blinding fire, and you look at yourself and you wonder when it was exactly that your own fire started to flicker, and why hadn’t you noticed it? You didn’t even know that you got dimmer and dimmer until it was too late, until you’ve all but died down.

It’s not cool. Some days, you’re just not cool at all.

Those days, those times when you’re most uncool, those are the times you’d feel like giving up. It’s easiest to give up on those days, when hope is but a flickering flame ready to die at the slightest whisper of the wind, and your body is one push away from keeling over. Oh, how sweet it would be to just stop running, to stop fighting, to stop chasing an impossible, impossible dream.

But then, if you quit, then that’s the end of it. If you quit, then that’s it. It’s over. You’re done.

And that sucks all the more. That’s even sadder. So, very sad.

So I guess, on the days that you are tired and nothing seems to be working anymore — not your dreams, not your plans, not your goals, not even your freaking body weight — stop.

Stop and breathe. Take a minute, or two, or five, or an entire day if it helps you sleep at night, to just rest.

Just rest. And remember. Remember your dreams. Remember who you are. Remember what you’re doing this for.

And if you still see that long stretch of road ahead of you, try not to despair. Look back instead and marvel at the long stretch of road behind you, and give yourself a pat on the back for getting as far as where you are right now.

Because on days you feel like crap, your dreams are crap, your efforts are crap, realize that it’s not really about how far you still have to go. It’s about how far you’ve already come.

Then maybe, just maybe, you realize that it’s not such a bad day, after all.


Karren Renz Seña
11 March 2015
Photo credit: http://kurtbubna.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Give-up-dark-street.jpg

Some Days: A Memo to the Tired, the Weary, the Exhausted was originally published on BECOMING CHAMPIONS