On writing opinion pieces

I’ve always been a lover of fiction. Since I was a little girl, I’ve had my nose in some kind of book. I always imagined myself as a writer of fiction, especially after focusing my English major on creative writing. That’s how Finding Jamilah came about – I had the tools and motivation to craft a fictional story from the bits and bobs of my own life experience.

Over the past few months, however, I’ve started to delve into writing opinion articles for the mainstream audience. What It’s Really Like To Wear Hijab received a lot of FB likes, which is always exciting. HSC: The Not-So-Final Frontier was just published today, and I’m feeling all kinds of happy by the positive responses. I was also very pleased with my piece From Lakemba To Lane Cove. Opinion articles require a different style of writing entirely, and I’m enjoying the break from writing fiction. There’s a whole new level of vulnerability and honesty that comes with writing opinion articles. There’s also the ongoing challenge of refining my writerly voice. I can’t hide behind a character in an opinion piece. It’s all me.

Because I’m still new to the world of opinion articles, great editors have made all the difference for me – Sarah Oakes from Daily Life and Josephine Mandarano from Lip Mag have been nothing short of supportive.

The world of writing and getting published is always fraught with rejection, and it helps to remember that the key is to keep trying and refining your work, and not to take an article rejection personally. Because really, it isn’t. What you’ve written probably isn’t suited to the publication, in which case, look for another one. Look at J.K. Rowling! It took a lot of courage for her to keep sending her manuscript after multiple rejections (12 publishing houses turned her down!), but it finally paid off, and well, the rest is history. This article describes why rejection is good for you. Think of it as an exercise of pushing yourself, and then growing as a result. If you don’t try, then you’ll never know.

Keep writing! Your opinion is an important one, and the only way to get it out there is to keep at it.

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