The Hardship of Being A Writer

By: Novira Andraena

Isla banged her head against her desk. Nothing came out of her mind into written words. She had been writing for as long as she could remember, but at times like this, near onto her deadline, her mind would not cooperate with her. Cups of coffee scattered all around her room, waiting to be cleaned. “I should have just given up on writing,” she sighed. The writer’s block was always a problem for every writer, but Isla’s writer’s block had been staying with her for almost two years now, and giving up was all she could think of.

The following days were blurry for her, as she kept trying her best on writing. Still, nothing came out. Nothing was typed on her laptop. So, she tried to come out of her room, her apartment, to breath a fresh air. She walked to the nearest park alone, her hoodie was zipped, and she put her hands into the hoodie’s pockets. Waiting for an inspiration to came, as she walked, she was thinking of one of her oldest characters. The first character she ever wrote,Raegan.It was funny how every time she was feeling bad, or simply when she could not write anything, she always thinking about Raegan.

When Isla finally gave up on walking to breath a fresh air, she headed back to only found her mother in the middle of her messy room.

“You know, I wouldn’t be surprised to find you under that pile of dirty clothes and empty cups,” her mother said, looking straight at Isla’s eyes. “I told you to quit writing, aren’t I?”

Isla rolled her eyes, “aren’t I told you that writing is everything for me, too?”

Isla’s mother glared at her only daughter, put a lunchbox on Isla’s messy worktable, “whatever, just do not starve yourself to death.”

And she left.

A thought of stop writing always occurred to her, honestly, but her love in writing never let her away from her journal and laptop. Everyone kept saying that she should have just quit writing, but her heart said no. But… maybe, just maybe, quit in writing is the right choice?

“So… you want to give up on us?” a guy’s voice startled her from her chair, she almost fell. “You know it too well that we all in togetherness since the beginning, don’t you?

Isla felt chills down her spine, she got goosebumps all over her body. Whose voice was that? she thought, but could not bring herself to turn her head. Rumor had it that her house is haunted, but she never believed that. Who would believe such nonsense?

“I’m not a ghost, Isla, for heaven’s sake. Can you please look at me?” said that one voice again.

When Isla finally found the courage to turn her head, she saw a guy sat on the edge of her bed, looking breathtakingly good. His hair is short with undercuts, he wore a black jacket—that motorcycle riders always wore, with a grey turtleneck underneath, and a black ripped jean. Isla’s attention immediately turned to the guy’s eyes. She would have hadnever mistaken those eyes, how she described as wide-spread-aquamarine eyes.

Raegan.

Isla would have had never ever mistaken Raegan,if only Raegan is a real person. One thing that bothered her the most is, Raegan is a fictional character she ever wrote. Then Isla swore that the fact Raegan was sitting on her bed bothered her that much. Had she going crazy? Did the stress that came from a writer’s block made her hallucinated things?

“I’m here, Isla. I am really here, you see?” Raegan got up and trampled his feet on the floor. “I have my feet on the floor, Isla, I’m not a ghost.” The ways Raegan said her name echoed in her ears, why did her name sound so beautiful when he said it?

“You—you are real?” she stumbled on her words, making Raegan chuckled.

“I am,” he smiled with that very charming smile of his. “And I’m here to encourage you to keep writing, Isla.”

Isla opened her mouth to speak but closed it again. She rubbed her eyes, still could not believe that one of her fictional characters is in front of her. “You cannot be real, you just cannot.” She rushed to get out from her room, walking fast to one of her neighbors’ room. Isla brutally knocked on her neighbor’s door while occasionally looking back, afraid she would see Raegan again.

“Are you insane?” Lola said lazily when she opened her door. “It’s nine a.m. and you brutally knocked on my door. Really, Isla?”

Isla bit her lower lip, “can I sleep over here tonight?”

Lola laughed sarcastically. “You wish,” and slammed shut her door on Isla’s face. Isla sighed desperately, having no choice but to come back to her own room, where Raegan still waiting for her.

When she finally had the courage to enter her room, she could not see Raegan anywhere. It might be only my hallucination, she thought. So, she tried at least to have a sleep she didn’t have these past days. People said that your brain could function to the fullest when you have enough sleep, so… why didn’t she try?

When Isla thought that Raegan would really disappear, she was wrong. Raegan would suddenly show up at the immeasurably times. One time, when Isla was out for grocery shopping, Raegan showed up and poked her. “Aren’t you going to continue your writing, Isla?” he made her startled for the countless times, making her like a weirdo for responding to a nonexistent person. “What are you doing here?” Isla would answer him with a low voice so no one would hear her. Raegan would smile with his usual charming smile, “to prevent you on continuing your story, of course?”

Then the other time, like this, Raegan showed up when she was alone in the street, walking back from the library.

“You know, you cannot forget about us just like that, right? We are all with you sever since you start your very first story, which is me,” he chuckled. “I still remember that boy on your junior year, who looks exactly like me. Do you still remember him? Oh, I bet you do.”

Isla turned her head right and left before answer Raegan, “can you please, shhhhh?” she put her forefinger into her lips, “why are you here? You want everyone to look at me like I’m an idiot? Talking with an empty air?”

Just like how she feared, everyone started to take one or two glances at her. “See? I need you to go right now!”

When Isla was finally in her room, she searched for the photograph of the guy Raegan mentioned earlier. Hoping that when she saw it, she would see something odds with Raegan. She saw in a movie that when you started to see a nonexistent person, you should find the odd thing about them in order to get rid of them. Worth to try, isn’t it? But the photograph she was searching is nowhere to be found.

“Just finish your story, Isla, and I promise I would be gone after that.” Like always, Raegan suddenly popped out. “Don’t try too hard to get rid of me, I’m still a part of your memories your life, you know.”

She turned her head to see Raegan, who was sitting on the edge of her bed again, wearing the exact same clothes he always wore since the first time he showed up. “Try to make a warm tea, don’t force your body to swallows all those coffee,” said Raegan again.

Isla sighed, walking to her small kitchen and poured herself a nice warm water into her favorite cup then added a tea bag. She brought the cup and put it near her laptop so she could reach for it everytime she wanted to. Glaring at the fictional Raegan, she crossed her arms, “satisfied?”

“Very,” his laugh floated through the air like a melody, bewitched her. “Now, try to open your laptop and continue your story. I promised you I would be gone after you finish it, right?”

So, Isla tried her best to write anything—even if it doesn’t make any senses, she wrote. In order to made herself sane again, Isla did everything Raegan told her. Like, when he told her to meet the guy Raegan mentioned earlier. “Once in your lifetime, Isla, do something out of your comfort zone,” he said.

“I don’t want to go, Raegan—”

“Be quiet, I need to see if you have any decent clothes to wear.”

“I have decent clothes.” Isla could see the corner of his lips quirked up.

“I know,” he said. “Go get change, you need a new atmosphere.”

Then, here is Isla, sitting on the corner at the café, stealing glance to a guy behind the cashier machine. The guy who made the fictional Raegan exist in her story. The guy with silk black hair, quirky smile, and his spread-wide-aquamarine eyes which always took her breath away.

Raegan chuckled beside her, “really, Isla? After all this time?”

“Always.”

He smiled warmly at her, “now shoo, I’ll go for awhile and you go talk to him. It will help you to write, believe me.”

And with that, he was gone. Leaving Isla alone. She stood up and walked slowly to order a drink—to talk to that guy too.

“Hi, I… uh…”

“Yes?” he looked up at her. “Oh? I know you!”

“You—you know me?”

He smiled, “of course! We were in the same school right? What’s your name, sorry? I’m not good at remembering names.”

“Isla.”

“Ah, right. You are the one who always writes short stories for our school’s board, right?” the corner of his eyes crinkled.

Isla bemused. He remembered? It was a long time ago, the first time she discovered her love towards writing—and someone remembers it? It feels nice, to know that someone remembers things like this for Isla.

“Ah, sorry, you want to order a drink, right? What do you want?” he asked.

Isla smiled, she was smiling for the first time in a while. Because someone remembers that she used to write for their school’s board. It wasn’t much, really, but it made her day. She should thank Raegan afterwards.

“Uhm, can I have ice raspberry tea, please?”

“Sure,” he winked at her. When she took out money from her purse, he declined. “No, it’s on me, don’t worry. We haven’t met in a while, it’s my treat.”

Isla smiled again, “thank you.”

He gave her the drink, and smiled at her again. “It’s ok, come again anytime.”

With light steps and a wide smile on her face, she walked out from the café, looking for Raegan. She should be really thanked him for giving her the courage to meet that guy. It helped, a lot. It helped her to know that someone acknowledge her writing. It also helped to remove a little heaviness on her heart.

“Let’s go somewhere else.”

Isla stopped, she startled. “Can you please stop making me startled? It’s not health for my heart, you know?”

Raegan smirked, “sorry. Let’s go, there is one place you need to go.”

“Where?”

“You will see.”

Across where Isla and Raegan stood now was Isla’s old school. Place where she started her dream to become a writer. Place where she first discovered her love towards writing. It brought back the memories, those late nights write where her mother scolded her if she hadn’t sleep. Those journeys between home and library to research for her next story. Those lauds from her friends and the teachers after she put her newest story to the school’s board.

It suddenly hit her. How could she give up on such dream that she has been built since long time ago? It wasn’t even worth her efforts to stop writing. What would happen to her characters and all of her stories if she stopped? No one would revive them if it wasn’t her.

“You still want to stop writing after this?” Raegan broke the silence. “Remember your dream, Isla. You have been built your dream for such a long time, and you want to just give it up?”

“I don’t,” she broke apart, she sobbed. “I don’t want to stop writing, I want to keep on writing.”

Raegan lower his face, “I know, now go back to your room, open your laptop, and continue your story. Don’t let us die, Isla. Only you who can revive all of us.”

I want to thank everyone who made this book comes true. I want to thank my mother who finally let me to write, who finally giving me the support I never had.

I also want to thank all of the characters from my old stories; you help me through my teenage year. Then I want to thank someone who inspired me to write Raegan, who helped through my writer’s block, and helped me to find the reason to keep writing.