Hello everyone…. I think we can all agree that at the very least, 2020 was a strange (although this hardly, hardly does it justice) year, and over the past 7 years of my life it was the first year which I did not engage in any writing whatsoever. I was overwhelmed by A Levels, and even though with lockdown I had more time on my hands, I just did not feel motivated or inspired to write (in fact, it was the very least of my concerns… simply adjusting to lockdown in a house with 7 other people was overwhelming, to say the least). I don’t want to jinx anything, but I know that the past few days have really changed my approach to writing that 2020 almost cemented in me (which was uncertainty, demotivation and lack of inspiration) and now with the second lockdown and my exams cancelled (don’t even ask about that because I don’t know what to even think lol) I feel like I almost have more room in my head to get back into writing. So really, this post is all about me talking about why writing means so much to me, why it’s so important to me that I get back into it and not abandon this special hobby to rot in the corner of my brain. I think a writer’s purpose is something that is very personal and unique to each individual – we all have our own way of dealing with things, expressing ourselves and voicing our own opinions – and every reason is valid – so I would love to hear what everyone else’s “purpose” as a writer is! 🙂
I’ve talked about this several times on my blog before, especially when discussing Islamic Fiction, and I know I’ve also discussed this with several other lovely people who have commented on my posts who are able to relate with what I’m saying. As a Muslim teenage girl who embraces her religion instead of being confused and unsure about it (which a lot of people have, and disclaimer: I’m in no way dissing that because I know everyone is on their own journey and I totally respect that, I have loads of good friends who are going through that and I understand that you have to find things for yourself) I have over the years read many, many “Islamic fiction” books only to continuously see Muslim protagonists that I am unable to relate to (more on that in this post).
I understand that there are a lot of young people out there who aren’t religious, don’t understand religion, haven’t had a good experience with religion – regardless of whether it’s Islam or any other faith. I understand because I know and are friends with people like that, and I’ve spoken with them, and we’ve had many open and non-judgemental conversations (which I think is so important to be able to have) about it. But it seems to me, from the experience I have had with the majority of the books classed as “Islamic-fiction” out there, they only seem to reflect this one variation of a person when it comes to Islam. And I have to tell you… that’s simply not an accurate representation of all Muslims.
As someone who is almost the opposite of that kind of person portrayed in many of those books, as someone who is a religious Muslim but isn’t (at least I hope not lol… I try my best) judgemental, patronising, close-minded and isn’t religious because they are forced into it, restricted, know no other alternative… but because they purely chose it out of love and faith and conviction. And Muslims like this, Muslims like me, just simply are not represented enough in Islamic fiction.. and we do exist, guys, I promise! I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to live in multiple different countries, and everywhere I go I find amazing people like this, and I also find amazing people that aren’t like this… we humans are very diverse and this issue probably also links to the issue of diversity in books in general, but of course what I’m talking about is particularly specific.
And I think it’s all well and good to identify a problem, but when we see a problem, we should do our best to fix it, right? Having grown up not being able to see an accurate representation of myself as a Muslim reflected in books has sometimes been hard, but now that I’m older I’m confident that we Muslim writers can really make a change! Creating this blog and being able to talk about Islamic fiction to so many other like-minded people out there has really given me so much hope in the future of this genre! I think as Muslim writers we should work hard to break stereotypes that dominate the media, and portray a realest as possible perspective of Muslims and Islam – and for me, that is what it’s like to grow up as a Muslim who loves their faith.
Of course, this is not my sole purpose of writing. This is an important purpose of my writing, but this is the kind of purpose that has dawned on me throughout the years, and through experience has made me realise that this is what I want to do with my writing. But from eleven to around sixteen years old, all I was writing was pure fiction – and I absolutely loved it. I went from historical-fiction, to mystery, to fantasy. I distinctly remember the 200-page epic fantasy (unfinished… I think if I had actually finished writing it would have been 700+ pages) manuscript (which I actually came across today for the first time in ages and was overwhelmed with so many feelings) I worked on for a whole summer (setting my alarm to early in the morning to just type away at my laptop) when I was sixteen, brainstorming back and forth with my friend, coming up with archaic and beautiful names and developing my plot so much I thought my head would just overflow with ideas (let me know if you want to hear more about that).
So even though I’ve made Islamic-fiction the centre of this post on why I love writing and why writing means so much to me, it is far deeper than that…. I just genuinely LOVE writing. I don’t know whether I love writing more than I love reading, but I love them both very, very much and they both are a core part of me. Especially when I was younger, all I wanted to do was write, write, write and I had so many stories in my head and wrote endless (unfinished) stories that are crammed away in a file on my Google drive somewhere. I don’t just want to write more Islamic-fiction because I think representation of Muslims like me is really important, if anything, this desire is almost a side-effect of my love for writing (if that makes any sense?). Like I love writing so much that I want to be able to express myself my own way through words, to one day attempt to share with the world.
Another thing I absolutely LOVE is just the sheer power that is at the fingertips of a writer. Not only can you build worlds but you can also change minds… and that is just so beautiful to me.
So… this is my attempt at explaining my somewhat complicated reason as to WHY writing means so much to me. Most importantly, I LOVE writing and I want to use it as a way to express myself. However, I don’t think there’s any harm with reading or writing a good old story that has nothing to do with deep subjects like religion and is just… a good story (my blog is the definition of that lol) (even though I did partially end up giving up my fantasy novel because it was such a time-consuming process and I didn’t really know where it was going).
ANYWAYS, I’m sorry this is SUCH a long post I just have too many things to say!!! Please, please, please let me know your thoughts – I would love to hear them and engage in discussion with you guys 🙂 Let me know what more you might want to hear from me about writing or my previous writing projects and stuff haha.
Speak to you all soon!!!