These days it takes something quite extraordinary to bring myself to post to this blog. As always I promised myself to write more often. But, something always came up…
But today…that extraordinary thing came in the form of inspiration from a famous writer.
It all happened without any planning whatsoever.
This Sunday morning, just like many other Saturday or Sunday I accompanied Ratih my eldest daughter take part in story telling competition. It was held by students from University of Airlangga. Though I am not totally fit (just recovering from a bad cough), I found myself actually having a good time listening to these kids tell stories from Indonesian heros including Sukarno, Bung Tomo, and Raden Ajeng Kartini. Ratih chose to tell about Dr. Sutomo. She performs really well considering that she only have 1 week to prepare for it…and in the end she got third place! Yay, I so am happy for her. But, the organizer said that the awarding ceremony will be done 2.30 in the afternoon after a seminar. So, we went back home first…
Later, as instructed we came back at 2.30 sharp. We joined many other participants in a big auditorium. Apparently the seminar is about encouraging literacy culture. Ha! It was spot on. The audience were all listening to a man, who is a famous writer in Indonesia, Tere Liye. I have never read his books. Well, I hardly give any time to read books these days…But, I came across his name several times because someone that I follow retweet his tweets :”>
The first thing that I heard from him are several facts about Indonesian literacy culture. He said that Indonesia literacy is far behind developed countries like America and Singapore. Singapore, a country with a population of a little over 5Millions, but its national library recorded far more visits compared to Indonesian national library in Jakarta (I could not remember the exact number). He then asked the audience…how many books have we read in the last couple of weeks, months or years? “There is no way that you can be a good writer if you do not read,” he said.
From there, he moves on to writing.
He shared another facts…China published over 400 thousand books in 2013. Indonesia only published around 24thousands..so there is only 1 writer among 10.000 Indonesian 😦 Interestingly, Indonesia scores highly in terms of number of Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram posts. Does this mean that Indonesian spend more times tweeting, chatting and posting on Facebook?? Well, can reading Facebook posts considered as reading? He said, yes, but of lower quality than reading books.
He asked how many in the audience have written a report, an article in mass media or write a blog. Just like many in the audience, I answered yes to the first and the last 🙂 But, to my dismay, he continued ,”how many of you wrote regularly on your blog? did you write only one or twice a year?” HA, you got me there Mr. Liye :((
He said that during his talks many people ask him, how to be a good writer, how to score a book deals and how to make money from writing. He said that with this kind of attitude you are not going to be a good writer.
He then tell a story about one of his acquaintance, “a high school students from a broken home family. His parents are divorced, and he was so angry about his situation. Mr. Liye convinced him to write all his feelings in a blog. In the beginning, it was hard for him…but then he gave it a try…at first his writings are all about anger…then after a while his writing improve until he finally write about hope and inspirations. He never get a lot of likes on his posts. But, little did he know that in another part of Indonesia, another high school kid who is also having the same problem, broken home, and even considering suicide…at one of his lowest point, came across the blog…the kid feel that he is not alone in this world and finally got inspired to pick himself from misery”
Mr. Liye concluded “A good writer is a productive one…you must write because you enjoy writing…getting a lot of readers, money and fame are bonuses. The point is to write because your writing may inspire others”
Thank you so much Mr. Tere Liye…I am taking one baby step today, by sharing your inspirations 🙂