It’s been a (long) while since the last time I blogged. I know there should be no excuse for taking a hiatus this long, but I’ve been occupied with so many exciting things that require much of my attention, including: graduating from university, running a culinary business with my best friends, and having a full-time job… So many things to share! But, most of all, I had been writing a new book.
With all of my activities, writing has required a constant, substantial struggle. It had been knackering for me to juggle a full-time job and an aspiration to become a writer. I joined a multinational company that sells fast-moving consumer goods, which naturally makes our ways of working fast-paced, dynamic, and particularly challenging. The dynamics at work usually leave no time for me to write in the middle of the week. But, for a writer who had been used to writing every single day, it could be difficult for me to “restart the creative engine” to a certain extent whenever I have to take a one-day break (or even worse, longer breaks) from writing.
My typical day goes like this: wake up at 6 am – catch a train that leaves at 8 am – arrive work at 9 am – leaves the office at 7:30 pm – catch the 8 pm bus – arrive home at 10 pm. I tried my best to plug myself away to write before bed, but it has always brought complications to my job (waking up late, being unproductive, losing focus at work, etc.). In short, with a full-time job like this, squeezing an hour or two to write before I go to bed could be back-breaking.
Nevertheless, after months and months of being sleep deprived, having a reduced portion of social life as well as exceptionally endless PMS symptoms, I finally got my hands on my new book’s final manuscript. :) It’s currently being illustrated and designed, but I’ll be sure to share some sneak peek photos once I have them!
I have been having a full-time job for one year now. Because of the experience, I have realised that I might not be the only person stretching themselves to work in a job that requires full, 5 days x 9 hours (minimum!) of commitment per week; while at the same time, still protect their dreams and find ways to reach them. In terms of managing these activities, I am still very far from Ika Natassa – one of the writers that I adore because of her capability to climb the corporate leader until now she becomes a senior manager in Bank Mandiri, yet at the same time fulfils her ambitions to be a prolific author. However, it might be helpful for me to share my writing gears that have supported me in the past two years to (finally) deliver a new book after “Dream Catcher“.
MacBook Pro 13″
If fashion designers and photographers often have other people as their muse, I believe my Mac is my muse! I bought my first MacBook when I was in high school. After an incident that involved coffee-spilling-onto-the-screen, I had to replace it with a new one. I have been owning my current laptop for three years now and it has been my writing best friend. MacBooks could be quite expensive, I know. I chose MacBook because of its durability and resistance against “mainstream viruses”, but I only bought one after I had my own income. My writing life before MacBook was a Pentium II-powered computer with Windows 98 OS. I also spent much of my time in warnet. So yeah, it’s just a medium for you to write, and it does not have to be “fancy”, actually.
I used to own an iPad and sold it right away because I thought it was kind of useless as I still spent way more time with my laptop. A few months ago, I ended up buying an iPad mini because I have an office computer that needs to be carried everywhere during weekdays. I obviously is not allowed to work on my manuscript using my office laptop – but carrying two laptops would not be wise either. So then, I bought this gadget – solely to work on my creative writing work whenever I can’t bring my MacBook along with me.
Here are the apps that I had been using to work on my manuscript:
- Scrivener – an app that allows me to work on different chapters simultaneously. When I am finished, it compiles all my work into one file that could be exported to a .doc. It also tells me how far I am from reaching my daily word count target. I use it to write my whole manuscript.
- Evernote – I swear by this app. Sometimes, when ideas come into my mind, I only have my phone or tablet in my hands. I just directly type my ideas in my Evernote, which then is automatically synced to the one in my laptop.
- Pocket – writing books require an extensive research. I save the pages that I would like to read later using this app.
Writing, writing, writing
Although I mentioned quite a lot of gadgets above, I also spend much of my time writing on paper. Sketching, drawing, taking notes in an “analog” way allows me to ponder and wonder, which at times could give a packed bucket full of inspirations. If you see me on a daily basis, you will be surprised on how many Post-It Notes I could use to structure my writing, remind me of things-to-do and deadlines, rewrite scenes, and map my mind. I usually pair them with Sharpie markers, which are very comfortable to be used and give bold fonts (tremendously important benefit because I use it to remind myself of manuscript submission due dates!). I also have a Moleskine weekly planner that I carry everywhere (Star Wars-themed planner, obviously), and I swear by Uniball Jetstream pens (I have all 0.5, 0.7, and 1.0).
How about you? Are you stretching yourself to have “different kinds of jobs” in weekdays and weekends? How do you manage your time? How do you manage both? I’m interested to read your experience.