People love to romanticize the process of writing, but in reality, it is hard work. It takes a lot of discipline and determination. Sometimes, writers even have to squeeze the words out–contrary to what other people think that words always come out like water from a faucet. Don’t get me wrong, there is a delicious joy in writing, and part of it is when words are hard to find. I have a favorite trick whenever this happens to me, and I’d like to share it with you.
Xiao Chua and I have been Facebook friends for almost a year, but we never had the chance to meet in person, that’s until he thought of the perfect idea. Mr. Chua is one of the most popular historians in the country, and he knew about my fascination with Jose Rizal, my literary idol. So, he organized a private tour of Intramuros, the National Museum, and the National Library of the Philippines. It would be my first time to visit the National Library, and I was very excited because I knew that the original manuscripts of the Noli and El Fili are kept there. They’re Jose Rizal’s most important works of literature which changed the course of my country’s history.
It’s a quiet Friday night. I’m in bed, reading the book that inspired me to become a writer. I also just finished the word count needed for the day. I have nothing more to do now but enjoy the book in my hand. Then I realized how lucky I am… I feel lucky to do the things that I love–and get paid for it.
I grew up painfully shy. I hated people. I hated strangers. I developed an idea that strangers are nasty. In return, I hated school. It was a pain to go to school every day and see hundreds of students I didn’t know. Some may find that unimaginable, but that is the truth. I was also bullied in school. Bullies are like sharks, they can smell fear from a mile away. And no matter how hard I tried to hide, they always managed to find me.
I watched a film about a struggling writer who stumbled upon a way to travel back in time. Lucky for him, he was able to meet his literary idols, like Hemingway. The movie got me thinking. If I could travel back in time and meet my own literary idols, I would choose Jose Rizal. He is one of the people who inspired me to write. Rizal wrote “Noli Me Tangere,” the novel that sparked a revolution in the Philippines, which led to the end of the Spanish colonization in the country. His ability to transport his readers to a world so different from ours is outstanding. The sincerity in his writings is something that only a few writers can sustain. The “truth” in his books is timeless and still relevant today. Read more