THE LACK of inspiration has always been an excuse of indolent writers to justify their inability to create great pieces of writing. I won’t wash my hands like Pilate because I myself am guilty of once or twice repeating the same proclamation with deep regret—writer’s block, we call it.

Of course the most difficult part of doing anything in particular is to start. As how American novelist Donald Barthelme would put it, “Endings are elusive, middles are nowhere to be found, but worst of all is to begin, to begin, to begin.”

Having taken some time to mull things over, I reckoned that it is the lack of reinforcement which is the bigger issue here and not the lack of inspiration, which is just an excuse to lack of productivity.

I can fairly say, and I’m sure many would agree that the loss of the University’s then writer-in-residence Dr. Ophelia Alcantara Dimalanta, or simply Ma’am Ophie has paralyzed the Center for Creative Writing and Studies (CCWS). She is, of course, sorely missed, especially since it is only she who can give one the boost in the most motherly fashion, or so many how her students would speak (since I never got to speak to her heart-to-heart).

Pardon my shift from the previous thought; but perhaps I am wrong for saying it is support we lack. Our University has an abundance of literary writers and scholars to boot. Young Thomasian writers even have the opportunity to spend time with them, seek personal advice and even befriend them on Facebook. We still have literary workshops organized by the Varsitarian and the Thomasian Writers Guild (TWG) but maybe it takes more than just a day’s or weeks’ worth of clinic-ing to deem a piece of work worthy of praise.

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Earlier this September, Rosmon Tuazon, a Thomasian Legal Management graduate in 2003, once more granted the University its honor. He placed second under the Tula category in the 61st Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for his winning entry, “Mga Nakaw na Linya.”

While it is true that winning a Palanca, being the equivalent of the Pulitzer prize in the U.S., would definitely give us honor, recognition, not to mention incentives, it has been said many times before, that it should not be the end of our identity as writers. In fact, it serves more like a strain to do better or else almost immediately lose the esteemed privilege already ingrained in the critics’ and readers’ minds.

Having an award does not mean we can ease up on writing—it actually adds to the pressure. It makes us feel like we have to keep doing better. What happens when we feel like we’ve squeezed out almost all the creative juices we have until we feel like our brains start experiencing a period of creative drought? That’s fine. Take a couple of days off then after, try again.

“No one is born a writer,” said UP professor and UST alumna Francezka Kwe. “You only become a writer if you keep doing it. You only become good when you put in a certain number of hours.”

The number of hours spent should be used not just to express inner sentiments. There are other feats of literature, one of which is its ability to speak for and to a new moment. Literature is able to express things as they takes place. This shows a great amount of effort to achieve something.

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“Although writing does not get easier, it feels great when you’ve taken up a notch,” said UST and TWG alumnus, Eric Melendez.

Because bright literary ideas are not recognized immediately, these concepts are meant to be conveyed—sometimes there is even a need to shove it down people’s throats. What was written in the past is considered great literary achievement, but that is not to say what we have now is worthless. New literature should even be better placed than classical literature because modern writers have had the opportunity of reading what came before us. We should take it from them to write what has not yet been written.

We ought to know life and the world before facing a computer and typing. “Life and the world is a complex thing”, said English poet, Matthew Arnold. We are not psychics and we can’t tell what literary gems have yet to be created or what will be appreciated by the generations to come. There are several ideas thought out by great writers and writers-to be, but some of them have not started writing their works (sign: brain reserved for future use).

It’s about time we to stop thinking we have writer’s block and start doing the actual craft. There is no such thing as creative drought, there is but an abundance of creativity in each one of us. So go fish.

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