I’m relatively new to the world of writing. Though I’ve been blogging since 2003 and have always felt an affinity for writing over, say, public speaking, I only started feeling like a writer last year.
I no longer introduce myself as an aspiring writer. But I do hesitate to tell people that I even do write. I know the first thing they’ll ask is: “Oh yeah? So, what have you written?” I could point to the numerous articles I’ve written for various online publications and even my short story. But until I’ve written a book that’s on its way to be published, the term “writer” feels hollow, fraudulent even.
For one, I don’t make a living off of my writing – although funnily enough for work today, I did write a letter of recommendation on behalf of someone.
I “know” that one doesn’t have to be a prolific novelist to be considered a writer; but in the world that we live in, it’s the only example we see.
That, or being a journalist.
I do not want to be a journalist (I know that now)
What I want to do is write my own stories.
But I’m having difficulty actually writing them.
I thought I would do what I do best – or, naturally, rather – and write a memoir. Luckily, as I’ve learned, you don’t have to be a celebrity to write one. I received encouragement from a couple of writing instructors that neither my age (I just turned 30 in February) nor a lack of truly shocking experiences (I have not fought in any wars nor am I a poverty-stricken cancer survivor) should serve as a deterrent. I still have a story tell: my story that no one else can tell.
For one, I spent most of my childhood and adolescence being the “fat kid” and then lost over 100 pounds when I was 22. I’ve more or less maintained this weight loss since then, which, believe me, is NOT easy.
I am the daughter of immigrants and a Muslim woman living in a post-9/11 America.
I come from a traditional family where I assumed the only way I would get married was if it was an arranged marriage. But I ended up marrying a man I met on the internet — and my family was totally okay with it.
I know that any story can be an interesting story, as long as it is written well.
But there are darker moments in my life I just cannot share. It wasn’t until I started writing my memoir – I’m about 7,000 or so words in – that I realized this. To write an honest and genuine memoir, I would have to share stories that I know loved ones won’t appreciate being shared with potentially the rest of the world.
Feeling stuck and mulling over what to do, I decided that I would give fiction another attempt. I guess you can say finally having my short story published has given me the courage to do something I told myself I do not have a mind for. But given the writing I do most naturally, I know I can’t create a world that is completely alien to me. I still want to weave my life into this book – I want it to be a fictional tale inspired by my life.
But where do I begin?
Just this week, I’ve started jotting down thoughts that could potentially turn into something. But every idea I have thus far come up with just plain sucks. It’s too cliche. It’s not literary enough. It’s too YA.
I’ve started following writer websites left and right and have even turned to watching vlogs! I’ve never done this before.
Is this common? Is this a rite of passage I must endure? Or is the lack of any real ideas a sign that I should just continue with this blog and be happy with what I have? Am I being too ambitious? Am I being too hard on myself?
Oh, future Muse, wherever you are (if you do exist), please make yourself known soon. Please and thank you!