Can I Resign As A Writer?

Recently I sheepishly put “writer” on my info profile on facebook although I haven’t felt confidence enough to think myself as a writer. If being a writer as an occupation means you gain material reward from it, beside work recognition of course, then sadly I shouldn’t have put it on my profile since all I have written lately are just some grocery lists and e-mails, but then again if lots of people can write grocery list and e-mails, it means they can too claim as a writer, can’t they?

Sometimes I jokingly think a writer is also a professional liar too. They just make things up and they tell it to the people who believe them enough to think that it’s true.

But I must tell you, being a writer is NOT a glamorous occupation at all. You still have to line in front of some restaurants to get your table ready, you still have to catch a bus if you don’t drive, and yes you’re not free from tax either. And popular notion that a writer must have an interesting life is not so very true, at least in my case. They just act as if their lives are full with adventures and in my case; I spice it up with my own “lebay-ness” so that something ordinary would look extraordinary. Sometimes I jokingly think a writer is also a professional liar too. They just make things up and they tell it to the people who believe them enough to think that it’s true.

Manhattan For Two--my first and my last novel published

Couple months ago I met Niken, a friend of mine who is also a successful writer and she asked me if I have written anything. Regretfully I said I have resigned as a writer. I said, I think I want to be just like any ordinary people who can daydream without having to write it or else you will go crazy. No more restless nights with so many things whirling inside my head waiting to be written. No more migraine because of lack of sleep caused by thinking too much about many things the night before. And to be honest I was glad I could be normal (again). And then when you thought you were safe enough, it attacked you from unexpected angles.

That started when Isabella found me in Facebook and she, like my other friends who have read my first novel, asked me if I have written the sequel. I thought as a writer I had given a freedom to my readers to make their very own ending and I found that it seemed they didn’t like it. Although I was tickled to think about the sequel, I was still happy with my normal life and I was glad nothing was haunting me in the middle of the night, nagging to be written, so I told Isabella that I didn’t have time to write anymore (so I guess).

And then I realized things that I have been avoiding all this time. When you have to write something to please the editors, when you have to write to reach certain amount of characters in certain days to meet the deadline (ohh shoot, I still have xxxxx characters to go or shoot, I have exceeded xxxxx characters), in good Bahasa or English, NOT in gado-gado language where you mix bad both Bahasa and English, that’s when writing has become a torture.

Actually I have been an “inside the closet writer”, so to speak, since I can write. And when you have to come out and see your name on the shelf, you never felt so vulnerable instead of feeling proud of it. What have you been writing for yourself now has been exposed to any body’s criticism. That’s not because I don’t want to be criticized or praised. It’s just being on the spotlight is too overwhelming to me.

But then I must say thank you to my current organization. Maybe because of the aura from the building (yeah, right), maybe because you have to write a mission report after you went to a mission so that the obligation arouses my creativity to make my very own mission reports to my friends so that I don’t have to repeat the same story over and over again just like a broken record since they keep asking me after the mission what I have done and who else my victims are. This time, I don’t have to bother to think that I should write in British English, American English, English English whatever English or Bahasa. I don’t have to be limited to write in certain amount of characters or in certain language styles in certain days. In fact, I don’t care if those editors are pleased or not since these writings are not for them. These are for me. For myself. For my own pleasure and entertainment. And I was surprised too that I could write something shorter because I always thought I could never do it. And if some friends wrote some funny remarks about it, that’s like a cherry on the top of the ice cream. Complimentary but not necessary.

After I came back from my last mission, again I faced the same old question. Rahma asked me if she would see my name somewhere in some publications (she and Mira cleverly spotted my name). Once more I said no. Even though one can’t make sure everything that would happen in the future, but at this time dear friends, allow me to wander freely and enjoy my new outlet of creativity.

*Appeared on http://www.facebook.com/mauvi3?ref=name#/note.php?note_id=114648627006

on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 4:27pm

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