The Most Expensive Book I’ve Ever Written

January 4, 2010

Writing is always something that I love doing for one reason or another, but mostly because it’s through writing that I can get all the demons inside my head out and invite new demons in. When I say demons, it’s my personal word for whatever things are swirling in between my ears and get me moving.

Anyway, today I want to talk about writing the third book a little bit. For me personally, Divortiare – my second book – is the one book that I really put my heart and soul into whilst writing it. Each word was carefully picked, the metaphors and paragraphs cut-offs were written and rewritten that it took me a total of 6 months before I had the guts to send the manuscript to my editor.

Then immediately after I returned from this trip watching the first F-1 night race in Singapore, I had an idea to write a story that revolves around the race. This was in September 2008. I spent almost a year working on the first page alone, honestly. I revisited Divortiare from time to time during that period and wondered how could I came up with sentences so easily when I wrote it (believe me or not, I came up with the phrase “commitment is like getting a tattoo” in just minutes. This was – of course – during the period that I could write 10 to 15 pages a day). And now that I’m working on the third book – still untitled, by the way – even deciding where I wanted to start telling the story from was really really really difficult. Have I lost my mojo or something? There was a point where I honestly believed that Divortiare was the best that I could have written. Ever. So imagine my predicament.

So guess what I did. I came back to Singapore in September 2009, this time to actually see the whole race from start to end, even the practice session and the after-party and the concerts. My goal was one: to absorb as many experience as I can and to actually relive the whole thing that there’s no reason that I won’t be able to describe everything in detail when continuing writing the third book (that I have abandoned for probably 6 months by then). Which then would make this the most expensive book I’ve ever written.

You see, writing is something that continuously evolves as you – the writer – live through the day. I could never write like I wrote Divortiare because it is literally impossible for me to return to the state of mind that I was currently in when I wrote it. I could try to sit in the same room, turn on the same music, and even wear the same clothes, but I could never relive the whole thing fully. So to try writing like Divortiare would be a useless effort. What I should do is just to write. Period. So as soon as I flew back from Singapore 3 months ago, I tossed the previous draft and rewrite the whole thing all over again.

With my impossible schedule at the office in the last 8 months that left me no time and energy left to write as I get out of the office at ninish and tenish almost every night, the writing schedule has also changed. The only time available now is only the weekends, and even then, I’m always being presented with offers to do other things that I can’t refuse. Then there’s also the new hobby: photography. So since a month ago, I decided to recruit three of my best friends as my so-called editors. What I do is sending them draft after draft as soon as I finish it, even if it is only one page at a time. What they do – besides commenting on the drafts – is demanding more and more draft from me on a daily basis, not allowing me to ‘slack off’, if I may say. What I do is also sworn them to never let the draft be seen by anyone else. It was strictly ‘for your eyes only.’

Another thing that I started doing differently whilst writing this third one is to use social media to communicate more with my readers. Twitter, for example, has proven to be a very effective thesaurus. Well you know how suck my bahasa Indonesia is – what I did when I wrote most of the time is to write sometimes a whole paragraph in English first then rewrite them in again in bahasa. Such a hassle, right? So what I do now – besides using the standard-issue bahasa Indonesia thesaurus – is usually just to ask tweeps who read – I call them tweaders – to help me out with a word or a sentence. I just shouted ‘what’s the proper Indonesian word for keukeuh?’ and dozens and dozens of replies arrived within minutes.

What I’ve learned from the last 2 years since I’ve become a published author is one: writing is an experience. It’s the way you package everything that you’ve seen, heard, smelled, and imagined into strings of words that would create meanings to everyone who reads it. And when I said ‘seen, heard, smelled, and imagined,’ I’m also talking about what I’ve learned from the readers’ mixed responses to everything that I’ve written before.

If I may say one thing, I have high hopes for this third book. And I surely hope I’m not gonna disappoint you when it finally arrives in your hands.


11 Responses to “The Most Expensive Book I’ve Ever Written”

  1. Iramiro Says:

    Can’t help to have it!

    Mba ika, di buku 3 ini bener2 ttg all-F1 atau gmn? Gw suka F1 jg sih, tp gw lebih suka banker’s successful life..

  2. inda Says:

    I really love your books ika and i can’t wait to read your 3rd book

  3. t.w. Says:

    as long as you keep the constancy of your own style for the third book, surely your book readers will still love it,ka ! 😀
    can’t wait to read it ! 😀

  4. neriva Says:

    as tweaders, i know i’m waiting future best seller. hurry, i want that untitled book! 🙂

  5. ari Says:

    having read these long paragraph i knew u’re back on track wak:)
    welcome back!

  6. denta Says:

    ayo ika..semangat terus sampe buku ketiganya nongol 🙂 ditunggu yaaa..! Percaya deh, pasti sebagus dan bahkan lebih bagus dari buku pertama dan kedua…. Chiayooo!

  7. ibunegara Says:

    you’re back on track 🙂
    tho i cant really wait for your 3rd baby, but surely i understand why it takes long paused for you to release the next one. because you will give your best on this one.
    indeed, i ❤ divortiare more than AVYW. but i love it all. keep up the good work ^___^

  8. P. Dinar Says:

    Greeting Mbak Ikka 🙂
    I’m not even sure that what I’m about to write has anything to do with your 3rd book, but I just need to get something off my mind.
    I just read Divortiare 2 days ago, I know I’m a bit behind. You see, I’m the kind of person that think about every character in a story, sometime too deeply. Specially if I felt sorry for them. Example (hope you had time for my nonsense), when I watched a war movie, I tend to think about all the poor people all night long, and wondering how they were doing.
    In the case of Divortiare, I felt sorry for Denny. So naturally, I kept thinking about him. So here’s my question: Did you ever considered to write about him? Maybe in the very back in your mind?

    Oh yeah, I love your writing, very entertaining 🙂


  9. i cant wait to have it…
    well, gudluck for ur 3rd book 😀

  10. Marcia Agata Says:


    Can’t wait to read your third book.
    I just finished reading your books again, Divortiare and A very yuppy wedding. Always like it tough. hehe..
    Goodluck and do your best, I’ll definitely buy your third book. ^^

  11. michelle harend Says:

    I really love your books!
    I mean, I was randomly picking one when I noticed Divortiare.
    And I finished it in like two hours and since then I’d been looking for avyw.
    Finally got it yesterday, and I have to say, they were really good!
    Can’t wait for the third!
    Anyway, have you ever considered writing your book in english perhaps? 🙂

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