Learning from Threes Emir: How to Write for A Life Time

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Poster Kegiatan Ngobrol #5 Penerbit Buku Kompas


Many people want to publish a book, but they are still stuck with ‘how to write’ problems, including me. After being one contributor in a book, hoping to motivate myself for another one, I am still here, my draft is still empty. Luckily, on November 26th, I got a chance to learn from a Threes Emir, a senior writer that has written 52 books (and counting) in an online event called Ngobrol #5 Proses Kreatif Penulis PBK.

The event was actually part of a regular event called Ngobrol (means having relaxed conversation) held by Penerbit Buku Kompas, a book publisher. The event used to be held offline as a regular discussion forum for writers community from Penerbit Buku Kompas, but then is made public in online format due to the pandemic.The event i join is the fifth one, and there will be more coming every month.

I was very lucky that I got the information directly from my student, Ayu Anggraeni. She was selected as a guest asker for this event together with another student, Arifah. She was asking our school literacy club members to join, however only very few can join. It was unfortunate because I actually get a lot of tips on how to get your book done.

It is Never too Late to Start

Threes Emir is a senior writer that has written 52 books and became the editor of another 7. She was initially a reporter, but then found herself into writing books after she retired from the newspaper. See! There is no word ‘late’ in starting a good thing. However old you are, you can always grab a pen, or a laptop, and start NOW!

When she was asked why she started writing books instead of just relaxing and enjoying being retired, she said “writing is in my blood. There is no age limit for writing.”

Having written more than fifty books in the last 21 years, you can imagine how productive she is in writing. When she was asked, how long does one book take to finish? She said that the time varies depending on the type of the book. It can take six weeks until several months to finish one book.

Threes Emir Giving Advice on How to Write
Threes Emir Giving Advice on How to Write

Keep Writing Even After Her First Book is Pirated

Her first book was a book about plants. It was published in 1999, was quite good at sales, and then it was immediately pirated. When she was asked, how do you feel when it was pirated? She said, someone else (publisher) is taking care of it. Never mind, just keep writing.

A Writer Must Be Brave

From several questions being asked for Threes Emir, one answer that impressed me a lot that it still stuck in my head even until today.

She was asked about how she wrote some undercover stories, “do you feel afraid?” She said,”Not at all. A writer must be brave.”

How Threes Emir Find Ideas for Her Books

Her ideas for books can come from different places. It depends on how well a writer can observe what is around her.

Writers can see a chance where she/he sees some books that are still rare. For example, for her first book, at that time, there were lots of books about plants from foreign countries, but almost none from the locals. She thinks that we can actually write such a book. Of course at that time there was no internet readily available for research. She collected the plants, took the pictures, and found some information from other books and mass media. Or when she wrote a book about muslim fashion. There was no one writing about it at that time.

Writers can also get ideas from daily events. For example, when she/he is going to work, then she/he sees people on the streets, driver and her daughter for example can ignite the idea for a story. One of her best seller novels entitled “Nyonya Besar” (Great Mistress) was inspired by what she observed and heard from people around her.

One book that leaves her quite a strong impression while writing is a book entitled “Secangkir Cinta dan Air Mata” (A cup of Love and Tears). It was a story about a cancer survivor. She interviewed the cancer patients several times. She was inspired by how strong a person can be even after falling sick.

Various Books by Threes Emir
Various Books by Threes Emir



What if your mind stuck in the middle of writing?
She said, just stop. Turn off the computer if necessary. You don’t have to write all the time. Relax, do something else, then go back to your writing.

Threes Emir’s Message for Young Writers

The point is keep writing. Writing is one of a time killer. Writing can become a will and legacy for your children and grandchildren.

Talent in writing only counts for so little compared to how diligent you practice. If you compare talented writer to diligent writer, talented writer is like a dancer while diligent writer is like a march of soldiers. Both of them can create a book

So, keep writing.


Those are the lessons I learned from senior writer Threes Emir. So, what is the answer to our ‘how to write’ problem’? Just ‘Keep Writing’.
Nia M Wardani
Hi! Call me Nia. I am a physics teacher and I love to learn anything in the universe.

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