Thursday, October 4, 2018

I Am a Writer

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Let's talk about... my...

Writing Career.

See, I haven't talked much about it I don't even have a proper label for it in this blog! Well okay, my day to day job is a copywriter which consists of, of course, writing. And the other side of me is a book author which, again, writes a lot. So what the hell did I mean by "writing career"?

Well it's something else, that involves me and my ambition to write articles. Not short copies for ads, not long passages lengthy enough to be books—not all that, no. Articles. In which I'll be wearing my mask as a


I dreamed of becoming a copywriter at an agency, then I became one. I used to dream of becoming an author and have my own books, then I became one too, many times. Being a journalist had always been a dream to me as well. To see my name printed on magazines, or linked in web articles, create a piece good enough it is accepted by professional editor, to be a part of the journalistic world!

Well honestly, I've already had some achievements in this. I've written several travel guide articles in some printed magazines, but then, it's not so much different with the ones I wrote in my books.

The ultra-ambitious guy inside me had been thirsty for more opportunities, more acknowledgements, and more names put in more media and by media of course, BIG, media.

From there on, the journey to win the hearts of big magazines had been going on ever since I graduated from college. Dozens of topics and ideas were sent to editorial teams, starting from the biggest names all the way to, when hopes went thin, mediocre ones.

And I've always had my eyes to this super prestigious travel magazine, in which had rejected my earlier pitches many times, but the fact that the editor-in-chief responded to my proposals even with a subtle "no" made me think that,

"Well, at least he's got concerns in meit's just the matter of picking the right theme."

So whenever I returned from a trip, and had some brilliant ideas I'm sure would be worth to tell in an article, I turn to this editor, over and over again, with yet another rejections, that would soon turn to more suggestions, and more rejections, until finally, I made a jackpot.

I'm finally writing for DestinAsian Magazine.

The topic was about Macao, in which I got full access and sources and pics and many more, from my amazing trip with the government board. Easy start, yes, but the process afterwards wasn't. To be honest, it was a bit stressful because this was my ACTUAL first time writing for such big name, so I NEVER want to show bad qualities.

But you know what, I enjoyed every bit of it. Following the editor's brief, recontacting sources to get more infos, reaching out to hotels and restaurants officials as if I'm a real journalist—well you know what, hell yeah I am! Then comes the writing part, self-editing it to meet the required maximum words, sending it to the editor, then him returning the piece for I need more infos to fill, back and forth, with pics and words, super long and draining but again, I. ENJOYED. EVERY. BIT. OF. IT.

Then the magazine came to public. Holding the copy in my hands seemed unbelievable. Looking at my face on the line-up of the contributors and my name on top of the article felt surreal, yet amazingly satisfying. Reading those words which several times ago were on my laptop, whoa, so this is how it's like to be a journalist!? I couldn't get enough of the rewarding sensation!

Crazy, huh?

Five years ago, back when I was so fresh from the uni, I once had this super big dilemma of picking which path to dive into: copywriting, or travel writing. I was so clueless I claimed to myself "I don't even have strong bases on both fields it's like, I only commit to fifty fifty in each".

Who would have thought that today, I commit to one hundred fifty in each?

And you know what makes it even better? I am an author of actual books as well, on top of those two paths I was unsure to choose in 2014.

The cover of glory. DestinAsian Indonesia, Oct-Dec'18 Issue.

Short copies for ads, check.
Long passages for books, check.
Decent writing for articles, check!

I've done all other wordsmiths do,
I really am a writer.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Young, and Spiky

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Remember how I've always been complaining about work lately? And remember how, when you read me complaining, you might have this question deeeeep inside your tiny little heart: "enough talking, you wuzz, stand up and quit already!?"

Well. The answer is simple: I feel like I still need to prove myself.

Yea, it's about me and my own ambition. C'mon, spare me a little, I'm young, and I want to sharpen my spikes! I want to make my brands matter -lol bullshyt?- I want to win more pitch so I can decorate my portfolio with even prettier stuff -well now it's a genuine one- and, I want awards.

So this year, after making it to Top 10 last year in Daun Muda, I got into another award competition. This time it's a bit more international.

Young Spikes Award.

Well, alright alright, it's my boss again. He dragged me into this, once again. It wasn't my intention at the first place but after some considerations, I felt like I had to redeem for not making it into Top 3 last year so there I was, once again 'trapped' in the rollercoaster advertising award ride.

The process was basically the same. We worked in a group of two, received the brief, spent weekend at the office to crack the idea, and just wait in vein. Only this time, the deadline was only 24 hours -which oh for God's sake, was much better than 48 hours because SPENDING THE WHOLE WEEKEND AT THE OFFICE IS SO STRESSFUL! and, I had a new partner.

Remember about my old squad at the office? Well yea most of them are gone now, but as time went by and I moved on -lol wth- I found myself in yet another awesome circle. The boss is still the same, but my playmates are new. A girl and a guy, and let's call them Masha and The Bear. And all three of us, Masha, The Bear, and me, we were kinda forced by our boss to join Young Spikes.

I was partnered with The Bear. Oh God. Lol did I make it sound like I can't stand The Bear? Nooo, we're good. Too good in fact, that we tend to mock each other and jape a lot. Way too lot.

But then the 24 hours we spent at the office was quiet effective and fruitful, though the new big boss kinda questioned our idea, but then, just the next day, when we were expected to wait for a phone call should our idea proceeded to the presentation stage, well,


I couldn't believe it. AT. ALL. Two years in a row, in two different, but equally prestigious advertising award event, I made it into the shortlist! This time was Top 7, a slightly much MUCH better result, which it alone got me all proud of myself already!

We got to present our idea the next day. God, I don't need to explain how nervous we were for that. Plus, this was The Bear's first time making it through as a finalist after joining the competitions for some years so, it's a big thing for us!

The presentation went smooth, though we were the last one to present. The idea was clever, the slides were on-point and not full of words, the speaking was clear, the answers to the unexpected questions were unexpectedly delivered in a very very satisfying quality. So then came the announcement and
We lost.
Lol do you expect this to turn out to be a super sweet dreams-do-come-true blog post where I won the award and that's why I posted it? No, I lost. They said that our presentation was top notch, and the judges were having a difficulty in deciding whether it should be us or the other team to win, so yea they claimed that if there were a second place, it should be us, but no. No second place, and no, we weren't the winner no matter what.

Still I'm writing about this as a token of appreciation to myself, and, most importantly, as a reminder that I could do anything and go as far as I wish if I want.

I started working at this industry knowing nothing -but stories from our lecturers back at the university, lacking of skills, having no experiences, needing times and times to grow and up my level, even several weeks prior me doing the competition, a stupid Malay expat at my office made fun of me and told me that I couldn't go far -well she was drunk, so she probably didn't mean it but wait, alcohol usually make someone talk what they really think of, no? and look at me now: it took me only 24 hours to show that I am worthy of a brilliant ad man, for the second consecutive year.

No, of course I'm not doing this award to show that woman that I can achieve something. She's not worth the back of my mind.

This is totally my way to show that I'm capable of doing anything I want.

I'm young, full of spikes
Ready to pop your balloon

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Fed Up

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It's getting crazy.

I'm talking about work. I know it's not my nature to complain and whine and talk shit about work because I always have the option to leave, but I just want to say it here that I'm fed up.

It's getting toxic.

Working hours are such a mess. Overtime nights seem to be normal. Good works are rewarded with more works. Well I'm expected to deliver stuff with expected quality so I do. But it only came back to me as something like "oh, you're good so we want to trust you with more responsibilities" and BOOM, more works are coming my way.

It's getting nonsense.

With all those burdens on my shoulder, I don't get what I expected. Yes, I'm talking about money. I don't care man, it's nothing else to hide. I once heard some talks that an ex-coworker of mine earned almost twice as much as I earn. And she was a rubbish. Her works were not even close to half my quality, but how did she get paid more? It made me start questioning about the logic of this company I mean, what the hell??? Of course I never bring it up to my bosses, but still I asked for raise and guess what I get til now? None.

It's enough.

I know the young me once said, "I wouldn't leave this company unless I'm continuing my study abroad." well screw your plan young man, let's get real. You're fed up. Most of your friends left already, so there's no other reason for you to stay.

If it's pity and guilt for those you'll leave that hold you back from actually leaving, well, then just stay. And enjoy the craze, smell the toxic, live the nonsense life, and see if you can get enough of all that.

And don't come back here
To complain and whine that
You're fed up

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Romantic Tale of Me and My Country, Part Three: "When Love Resolves"

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Sunday, September 2nd 2018
I swear I never shed tears this much for my country.

Asian Games akhirnya mencapai penghujung acara. Setelah dua minggu jadi pemersatu bangsa lewat segala cabor dan pertandingannya yang greget dan seru, acara yang udah dibuka dengan super megah itu akan ditutup dengan acara yang, mereka udah bilang sih, gak bakal semegah opening-nya, tapi tetep megah untuk merayakan keberhasilan dan kesuksesan acara ini.

Dan sebagai warga negara yang menyesal karena melewatkan openingnya yang fenomenal itu, gue pun beli. Meski gue tau akan gak seseru tanggal 18 Agustus dan kemungkinan bakal lebih garing nan kentang karena pembandingnya adalah sang opening, gue tetep beli.

Tadinya buat bokap nyokap, tapi karena satu dan lain hal dua-duanya bail -sedih sumpah!- hingga akhirnya yang pergi gue dan adek gue. Kita parkir di Sarinah karena tau Senayan ramenya bakal naujubilah -oh it rhymes!- dan bener aja! Gausah jalan rayanya, halte buswaynya pun MACET!

Gila sih gak pernah gue liat HALTE BUSWAY, yang lorongnya panjang dan kadang gue bertanya-tanya ini apa gunanya sih dibikin panjang-panjang dan mengular kayak gini gak efektif dan straightforward mengingat gak semua orang naik busway, kini lorong panjang itu bener-bener penuh terisi manusia, yang gerakannya itu gak padat merayap yang meski ramai tapi tetep jalan, NGGAK! Bener-bener yang stuck saking penuhnya dan mampetnya!

Dan gak pernah gue liat antusiasme masyarakat Indonesia sebesar ini. Gue tau gak semua yang lagi desek-desekan sama gue ini bakal ketemu gue lagi di stadion utama. Pasti ada juga yang dateng buat ngerasain rame-ramenya dari festival yang selama ini gue udah datengin 3 kali itu -wkwk rakus apa doyan dah??- ngeliat keseruan di dalem lewat layar nobar sambil secara langsung ngedengerin semuanya dari luar stadion.

Tapi semuanya dateng.
Serame itu, seantusias itu.

Dan seakan Tuhan menguji kesungguhan kita semua untuk ngedukung Indonesia dalam menyelesaikan apa yang udah kita mulai dengan megah ini, ujan turun. Sederes itu, memaksa gue dan adek gue dan semua orang harus neduh dulu sekitar setengah jam di tenda yang tadinya dipake buat security checking. Btw di sini gue bersyukur karena jadinya gue sama adek gue yang pergi, bukan bonyok gue karena fix gue akan merasa bersalah di rumah kalo tau mereka harus neduh dan melewati apa yang gue lewati wkwk.

Gak lama hujan reda, meski masih turun, tapi gue sama adek gue bela-belain nerobos karena perjalanan dari pintu Senayan yang deket halte busway itu masih jauh banget ke stadion utama. Dari tenda neduh masih terang, sampe pintu masuk stadion utama udah gelap aja dong wkwk.

Dari situ udah kerasa banget aura nasionalismenya. Yang masih tinggi, tapi kerasa lebih lesu aja karena ini adalah akhir dari Asian Games 2018. Abis ini gak ada lagi pertandingan seru yang bisa ditunggu tiap hari, gak ada lagi seru-seruan di Senayan.

Masuk, duduk, dan masih nunggu sedikit hingga akhirnya acara dimulai. Bener sih, kalo dibandingin dengan opening, jauh banget euforia serunya. Pak Jokowi gak dateng, gak ada stunt-stunt seru nan gak penting, dekorasi gak seheboh opening, pentas-pentas yang berbau Indonesia banget lebih sedikit karena sekarang juga masukin budaya-budaya negara Asia lain, atlet-atlet udah banyak yang pulang, jadi yang ngisi kekosongan kebanyakan para volunteer.

Tapi ya gapapa sih, gue masih tetep bangga dan bahagia, karena Indonesia bener-bener bisa nyelesain ini semua. Gue nyesel udah pesimis di awal, tapi gue seneng karena justru ada perubahan rasa dari yang tadinya gak peduli, sampe bisa sebangga ini sama Indonesia. Terharu banget.

Cuman ada satu hal yang paling bikin gue mewek. Well, dua sih, tapi yang satunya lagi terjadi pas di tengah acara, yang gue yakin ini cuma gue doang lebay pake mewek segala, orang-orang pasti biasa aja.

Ketika Pak Anies sebagai perwakilan Jakarta-Palembang menyerahkan tonggak Asian Games buat host berikutnya, yakni Hangzhou, China -ah taee ngetiknya aja bikin merinding wkwkwk. Seketika GBK jadi berasa banget China-nya, dengan alunan musik dan elemen-elemen khas Tiongkok. Lalu maskot mereka jadi tampak mendominasi, sedangkan Bhin-Bhin, Atung sama Kaka gak keliatan. Gila gue nangis sih, dan untungnya tuh musik segede-gede dunia jadi ya gada yang denger juga.

Ini bukti nyata bahwa Asian Games 2018 udah bener-bener berakhir sih, dan setelah ini semuanya bakal balik normal lagi, nasionalisme bakal balik ke batas sewajarnya lagi, politik bakal mulai membara lagi, ah, gak seru deh...

Tapi ya mau gimana lagi, Asian Games 2018 pasti bakalan selesai lah ya masa iya jalan terus, ini pasar apa acara olahraga? Wkwk.

Setelah segala pentas berbau internasional yang super menghibur itu selesai, sebagaimana acara pentas olahraga pada umumnya, closing ceremony Asian Games 2018 ditutup dengan kembang api. Dan di sinilah gue nangis lagi HAHA CENGENG ANJING!?

Yah pembelaan gue adalah, lo gak nasionalis sih kalo ngeliat pemandangan semacem ini gak bikin hati lo bergetar.

[will insert the pic of the fireworks]

Sunday, September 2nd 2018
I swear I never shed tears this much for my country.

But I swear these tears of joy and pride,
Indonesia deserves it

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Romantic Tale of Me and My Country, Part Two: "When Love Takes Action"

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Duh gamungkin sih,
Asian Games 2018 ini...

Feel-nya sama persis kayak World Cup, di mana GUE UDAH SUPER KECANTOL. Gue udah mulai sotoy seakan-akan yang paling tahu betul dengan segala update acaranya, jadwal pertandingan, cabor-cabor apa aja yang udah main, la la la li li li, ya lo tau lah gimana cotnya gue kalo udah ngomongin soal World Cup? Wkwkwk...

Tapi ya gimana dong, gue beneran cinta sama vibe ini!

Satu negeri, bos! Tiba-tiba jadi kompak. Jadi penuh dukungan dan segala hal yang berbau positif, jadi lupa sama politik yang kayak tai itu, beneran menggambarkan lirik "sambung menyambung menjadi satu" yang selama ini cuma bisa gue dendangkan doang.

Gue gak pernah ngerasa sebangga ini sih sama Indonesia, suwer. Dan menurut gue ini Indonesia yang gak pernah gue kenal sebelumnya. Gue pun merasa kalo hal ini gak boleh disia-siakan dan dilewatkan begitu aja, jadi sebisa mungkin kalo ada yang berbau Asian Games, gue akan ikutan.

Nobar udah pasti lah. Di kantor yang paling sering, karena jadwalnya pasti selalu bentrok dengan jam kerja. Tapi gapapa, justru gue jadi makin akrab dengan orang-orang kantor yang gak gue kenal atau deket sebelumnya wkwk what a blessing in disguise, Asian Games!

Trus tiap pulang kantor, berubung gue kerjanya di Senayan nih ya, dan sebagian besar pertandingan Asian Games diadainnya di kompleks GBK yang sekarang udah maha bagus itu, gue selalu ngerasa iri sama mereka para volunteer atau orang-orang yang bisa nonton langsung di sana buat dukung Indonesia. Tapi ya mau gimana, pekerjaan menghantui...

Akhirnya yang bisa gue lakukan hanyalah mampir ke festivalnya, yang mana biaya masuknya cuma 10rb, tapi vibe-nya langsung kerasa kalo ini adalah venue olahraga di mana Indonesia masih berjuang di dalamnya. Isinya sih emang kebanyakan tempat makan dan tempat jualan para sponsor ya, tapi gatau kenapa sih, aura-aura ngedukung Indonesianya kentel banget. Plus ada beberapa tempat nobar yang bakal rame banget menjelang pertandingan-pertandingan penting, terutama bulutangkis.

Gue ngerasain itu beberapa kali. Suatu Sabtu gue mampir ke festival ini buat yang kedua kalinya -yang pertama sama temen-temen kantor, tapi karena cuma dateng pas pulang kantor which waktunya gak banyak, dan plus saat itu gak ada pertandingan seru, gue masih ngerasa kurang nampol. Waktu itu emang kebetulan ada pertandingan bultang yang emang partai gede, jadi ramenya... SUBHANALLAH ALLAHUAKBAR!

Cuman serunya bukan main sih. GAK. NGERTI. LAGI. GUE! Orang-orang pada teriak-teriak, nyaut-nyautin nama-nama atlet, meringis, terperangah, baik karena kesal maupun bahagia, orang-orang gak kenal jadi ngobrol dan ketawa bareng, orang-orang yang emang udah kenal saling teriak-teriak gemas, parah sih...

Dan dari kunjungan-kunjungan ini jugalah gue mulai merasakan cinta yang berkembang terhadap tiga maskot kesayangan Asian Games: Bhin Bhin si burung cendrawasih, Atung si rusa bawean, dan Kaka si badak bercula satu. Ketiganya hadir di mana-mana di seluruh area GBK, dan ketiganya LUCU AHELAH... lagi, karena gue udah terlalu pesimis dari awal, gue gak akan expect maskotnya pun bisa jadi sebagus dan sefilosofis ini.

Bukan cuma gue doang, satu Indonesia pun sayang sama mereka. Bonekanya selalu abis, antrean masuk ke toko resmi merchandise-nya gak pernah gak ngantre -dan antreannya sepanjang-panjang dunia. Gue pun gak kebagian boneka, tapi at least gue beli banyak hal yang ada merekanya!

Meski gue udah berkali-kali mampir ke festival itu, gue masih ngerasa belum puas kalo belum beneran nonton olahraganya dan ngedukung langsung Indonesia iya gak sih???

Cuman nih ya, again, karena gue terlalu pesimis pada awalnya, sedangkan orang lain udah begitu antusias bahkan dari berbulan-bulan sebelum acara dimulai, ya tentu saja semua tiket cabor penting nan populer udah abis dari kapan tau. Berkali-kali gue coba cari tiket di segala partner Asian Games, tapi berkali-kali juga gue gagal.

Turunlah gue dari angan-angan palsu mau nonton bulutangkis, voli, basket, atau renang -sepakbola udah pasti off the option karena jauh mainnya di Bekesyong wkwk- menjadi cabor-cabor tier dua: panahan, polo, dll yang masih sekitaran Senayan.

Tapi ya tentu aja gue telat. Apa pula mau nonton pertandingan tapi baru nyarinya setelah acaranya setengah jalan??? Ya iyalah udah abis semua tuh yang gak terlalu populer sekalipun. Udah sampe lah gue ke tahap di mana gue beneran turun ke GBK, nyamperin booth-boothnya dengan harapan bisa dapet basian-basian, tapi nihil.

Cuman gue masih gamau nyerah.

Hari ini, hari Sabtu terakhir pagelaran Asian Games, bener-bener sehari sebelum closing ceremony di mana semua jadwal pertandingan akan dihabiskan hari itu juga, gue balik lagi ke GBK. Sendirian, tanpa kepastian bahwa gue akan bisa nonton sesuatu.

Gue samperin lagi tuh booth-booth dan gue telusurin satu-satu, kari ini gak pake filter mau khusus nonton apa, bener-bener cari yang masih ada tiketnya, dan tentu aja masih ada Indonesia-nya. Dan ternyata ada satu cabang yang memenuhi persyaratan itu.

Namanya Sambo.

Boleh jujur? Gue gatau apa itu Sambo. Gimana cara mainnya, siapa aja atletnya, GUE BAHKAN GATAU ADA OLAHRAGA NAMANYA SAMBO!? Tapi gue udah cek website-nya, dan ternyata masih ada atlet Indonesia yang main untuk cabor ini.

Bodo amat, gue beli. Gue beli langsung tanpa berpikir panjang, lantas masuk dan berhamburan ke JCC karena pertandingannya udah mulai dari tadi.

Dan ternyata rame...

Gangerti lagi gimana senengnya gue waktu itu. Bisa berkumpul dengan orang-orang yang gagal dapet tiket olahraga penting, hingga akhirnya bernasib sama dengan gue dan beli si sambo yang gajelas juntrungannya ini -yang ternyata adalah sejenis olahraga gulat. Tapi kayaknya kita semua sama-sama gak peduli karena yang penting bisa masuk ke venue beneran, ngeliat atlet Indonesia beraksi beneran, dan, ini dia yang paling penting, bisa ngedukung Indonesia dengan yel-yel yang selama ini cuma bisa didenger lewat TV atau dari luar venue.

Merinding sih ketika ini terjadi, karena akhirnya, AKHIRNYA, gue bisa melakukan itu, di pentas Asian Games, bersama supporter Indonesia lainnya yang sama-sama fanatiknya dengan segala pernak-pernik merah putih.

Cuma itu sih yang pengen gue rasain. Mau bagaimanapun hasilnya, menang atau kalah -which, kita kalah, karena atlet Sambo kita mana badannya jauh lebih kecil dibandingkan negara lain, yang penting gue udah beneran datang dan dukung, ngerasain euforia betulan sebagai supporter Indonesia tulen.

Duh gamungkin sih,
Asian Games 2018 ini...

Gak pernah seumur-umur,
Gue serela ini ngelakuin sesuatu
Buat Indonesia Raya