Writing

WRITING IS HARD… or am I just lazy???

This blog has mainly only been consumed by my tremendous and explosive love for books and reading, but once upon a time… I had an equally, if not more dominant, love for writing (it’s a bit of a story as to how I got into writing so I’ll dedicate a different post to that). But basically, when I was around eleven years old, I discovered how much I loved writing. And since then, I have always wanted to be a writer, an author, to share ideas with the world through my love of words….

….Buuuuuuut I genuinely cannot remember the last time I sat down to write something because of my love for writing. A year or two ago I tried to make excuses for myself…. “I haven’t lived long enough so I don’t know what to write about/don’t have enough life experiences/have nothing of worthy to share with the world!”, “I don’t have any ideas!” and most favourite of all… “it’s not my fault, I have writer’s block! Gahh!!!”

See, I act like I’m done with the excuses… but I’m not.

Because if you didn’t already know, writing is hard. The hardest thing I have ever found about writing, which has also kept me away from attempting to write anything the past couple of years, is the development of ideas. I desperately want to write a story, I desperately want to write anything. But what?

I’ve read so many writing blogs, watched so many writing videos, where people are screaming at you “JUST WRITE! JUST SIT DOWN AND START WRITING!!! DON’T GET BOGGED DOWN BY THE EDITING, JUST BLOOMING WRITE!” but, my dear friends, how am I meant to write if I don’t have anything to write???

This might surprise you but I’m actually not trying to be annoying – I have tried the method of “just open up a blank document and start writing” but after two pages I get stuck. What is my protagonist meant to do…. after I have described the lovely sunset they watched whilst they were out on a stroll, and after they have then gone home and made themselves a cup of tea? Yes, they might twiddle their fingers for a few minutes whilst they sit at the kitchen table… but what next? And sadly, by that point, both the reader and the writer are bored stiff.

So after that, I concluded… I need to have some sort of plan in place. I need to have thought a bit about my characters, who they’re going to be. I need to have thought about at least the direction of the plot. I need to have most importantly thought about the purpose of the story (because I like for everything that I do to hopefully have some kind of purpose). But this takes time, it takes brain power, it takes real commitment. And it also goes back to my earlier problems… what to write about?

MAYBE I don’t really have a passion for writing (I’ll be honest that thought doesn’t make me particularly happy). Who ever heard of someone who loves writing and wants to write but couldn’t think of anything that interested them enough to write about (okay I’m really roasting myself now lool)? Am I just being picky? Or am I simply not trying hard enough (this is very plausible considering all I’ve been doing is studying)? Have I underestimated the sheer commitment that writing demands of you before you can reap its fruits? Do I have no imagination????

I think it’s clear that this is all one long rant: I don’t really know what I’m doing with my witting anymore. I want to start it back up again, I want to push myself out of this chasm of nothingness I am currently stuck in with my writing. These are just my thoughts on what I think is holding me back from really getting back into the writing flow. I want to fix it, though.

I am interested on hearing everyone’s thoughts and ideas… on what you think about my predicament – I think the title pretty much sums up this whole internal conflict taking place. If anyone has any advice, tips and stories to share about their own writing process/journey I would love to hear them! 🙂

Speak soon!!!

8 thoughts on “WRITING IS HARD… or am I just lazy???”

  1. Assalam U Alaikum, Ruqs! This is my first time commenting on your blog, just wanted to say I really like it!
    And I’m here to 100% agree with this whole post. Writing is freaking hard girl!! As a writer and wannbe author, I always struggle with it, but for its settling down with a daily routine vs the ideas part. However, some years back I too struggled with coming up with ideas.
    You need to find the *ONE*. I’m not saying the one thats sure to get published and be a bestseller. I mean the one that gets you excited, that travels leaps and bounds in your head until its like physical agony to not write it down. It sounds exciting, but its not easy to find by any means. However, not impossible. If my slow, school bogged brain can come up with something, you can too!
    Some tips:
    – start something. Anything. It can be a random character going for coffee then retuning home to twiddle their thumbs. Make it as generic and cliched as possible if you want. Write that until you get to the stuck point. Then go back and make changes. Small, subtle ones at first. You named him bob? Now he’s Bilal. He greeted the coffee shop owner in the morning? It was a secret code word. The coffee he ordred? Laden with medicine for his supernatural disorder. Twiddling his thumbs at home? nervous habit as he waits for the medicing to kick in, hopefully before his transformation time at exactly 10:00 am. Make it as wacky and crazy as you want. You can completely despise the story by the end, but atleast it will get your brain jogging. Then just add a bit more, day by day. You can add new povs, or a sub story line, and eventually amidst all that practice you might find an idea that sticks with you, that intrigues you, and forces you to craft a story around it.
    – read something. books are a great place for ideas! for nonfiction, you can pick your favourite world fact, or favourite historical setting, or favourite coup, and write a scene about it that you can turn into a story! For fiction, note the things you like and dislike. For the stuff you dislike, how would you change it? Toxic relationship? how would you write it? deus ex machina in the worldbuilding? how would you write it? Your reinventings might start out like fanfiction, but they can very possibly turn into a story of your own as you let your mind wander.
    – combine somethings. This is in essence what I did when I kept starting stories and never finishing them. I took a good hard look at what I was writing, and the parts I enjoyed writing about the most in each of my stories. Then I combined those elements to make a new story. It helps to write all your favourite things (tropes, settings, etc) as a word cloud, then go all crazy conspiracy board and try to connect them together into a plot. Again, it doesnt have to be the best, most amazing plot ever. It can be wacky, a bit contrived. But if you come up with something you like, that’s all that matters.
    I hope these tips help. In essence, just focus on what you liek writing based on what you like reading/what you wish you could read. And don’t worry about making a story with a clever plot from the bat. It is allowed to be basic, because trust me, the plot will grow wings and change alot as your write, the more you get invested in it. The key for now is just to find something that entertains you (or something that’s important to you) which will encourage you to come back to the keyboard and infiltrate your brain for hours after 😀
    Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Walaikumasalam Amina! Can I just say – thank you so much for such a lovely, long comment – literally the best part about about this blog is that I’m able to connect with lovely people like you who have experienced whatever I’m talking about, and have advice and are also so like-minded to me (Muslim girl aspiring writers go us!!!!!). After writing that post I spent a lot of time really pondering and thinking about my writing, because I don’t want my studies (because they’re not going to end anytime soon I still have to go to uni lol) and life and any other things I consider to be more important to take over from a lifelong dream birthed since I was 11. All your tips honestly seem like EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for, thank you so much!!!! I think I really DO need to start writing regularly to get the juices going, and not being a perfectionist and worrying that what I’m writing might be a waste of time etc because it’s a journey towards something beneficial! I’m definitely going to take your advice! I’ve had this one notebook that has been empty for years, and two nights ago I started writing in it – simply brainstorming and coming up with ideas and characters that interest me, that I’m invested in, that I relate to and that portray the ideas that I want to let out into the world one day – as a Muslim girl growing up in a world that is so different to what I believe in, being able to read a book that I can relate to and that a lot of the people I know who are like me that they can relate to, is really important to me…. Being able to tap into a whole sphere of people – Muslims who LOVE Islam with all their hearts, and where it’s such a core part of their identity and who they are… but are still so normal!…. I’m really enjoying it, and I think the more I brainstorm the more my ideas will develop, and then every day I want to try and attempt to write something from that notebook… stretch out one of those ideas, develop them and see where it takes me. I think, as you said, the most important thing for me right now is to just not stop!!! Thank you so much for taking your time to read and comment, I really appreciate it, best of luck with your writing as well – I’d love to hear more about what you’re interested in writing in and your writing journey 🙂

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  3. Hey there Ruqs!  Great to see that you’re posting on your blog again!

    I’ve got a few ideas that might help you out of this ‘I don’t know what to write!’ problem:

    – Think about what you’d like to read. Think about past books that you’ve loved or even those you hated. Why did you like or not like that book? Was it the genre? The characters? The plot? By looking at the books that made you think ‘oh, I’d love to write something like this’ or even ‘ugh, I could something like this so much better’, you figure out what kind of book, genre, plot, characters really appeal to YOU. I’ve always worked off the opinion you should write a book that YOU personally would love to read. This tip should help you think about what type of story you’d like to write – at the very least it should eliminate the type of story you don’t.

    – Trying writing out some characters or a plan. Everyone says ‘oh you have to write a plan if you’re writing an essay for school’, same thing applies to writing fiction. Sometimes you have to know where you’re going, rather than sitting at a blank page just waiting for inspiration to strike.

    – If you can’t think of your own ideas, maybe try practicing writing plans/characters for a story based on creative writing prompts! Prompts are kind of designed for when you want to write, but don’t know what to write about. There’s plenty out there, just take a google and browse through the lists. Try a few out and see if that helps get some inspiration going. Alternatively, get out your old attempts at writing a story. There might be some great story prompts/ideas there that you completely forgot about!

    Hope this helps! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Clare! Long time no speak, I hope you’re doing well!!! Thank you so much for your suggestions – they’re all really good and I’m definitely going to keep all this in mind. I definitely agree with the whole plan aspect, the past two days I’ve started to brainstorm and write out ideas and characters – I just keep writing and brainstorming and I think it’s slowly forming into a story! How has your writing been going? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah, I and my writing are doing alright, thanks for asking! 😀 I generally work on it during the holidays though – hard to get motivated to write after a long day of university work. Hope you’re doing well and that your writing endeavours succeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s great, I wish you all the best! What are you studying at uni? I feel like you might’ve told me before but my memory is feeling more and more like a sieve these days. I agree with you there, school work and studying drains so much after me so after that all I want to do is sit on the sofa and veg

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Salamu Aleikum Ruqs.

    It is so good to hear from you again. How are you? I hope all is well on your end, sister. As far as writing goes, there are 2 important aspects to it, one being the technical aspect and the other one being the inspiration needed. As far as the technical aspect goes, that is something you can easily learn and it is usually not the most difficult aspect. Inspiration is a different matter. You are still very young and have much to experience. I find that life is the greatest inspiration there can be; the things we experience as we get older, what we read, what we listen to, all of it coalesces into a perspective of life that gives you a certain way of looking at things. I know there’s a gazillion articles/books/blog posts/youtube videos out there telling you HOW to write, like there is some sort of formula to follow. I don’t buy that for a minute. Writing, especially when it is not academic/professional in nature, is extremely personal. It is a very individual journey that has very little to do with formula. You said you can’t think of something to write about, in my humble opinion that just means you haven’t really found something that inspires you yet. Inspiration is hard to come by to be honest. The more you obsess over it, the more illusive it becomes. One thing I can suggest is instead of writing your stories, maybe at first just take the time to play with them in your mind. Sometimes, the mere fact of seating down to write triggers some anxiety that can play havoc with your ideas. When an idea comes into your mind, reflect on it and mentally design the outline of your story (what, who, why, when, how). Let the idea simmer for a while and then slowly start writing down what you’ve thought about. Take your time, don’t force it, do it at your own pace. If the idea dries up, don’t obsess over it, just let it rest for a while and revisit it a bit later. Do what works for you best and most importantly remember to enjoy the process. It is about you, your inspiration, your time, basically your own journey.

    May Allah (swt) put barakah for you in your time, your effort, and your commitment.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Walaikumasalam, alhamdullilah it’s so nice to hear from you! Alhamdullilah I’m good, and I hope everything is good on your end as well, inshallah. It makes complete sense with what you’re saying – I DO feel like when it comes to writing about something personal and especially an Islamic-fiction book that relates more to personal experience, it makes sense to wait for more self-growth and development of ideas and knowledge of understanding to come to fruition to ensure that the final product is as good as it possibly can be. I am definitely going to work on doing that inshallah… reflecting on an idea when it comes to mind and letting it simmer. Ameen, jazakallakhair for such beautiful advice sister and the same for you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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