Belated Selamat Hari Raya/Eid Mubarak!


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Belated Selamat Hari Raya, maaf zahir dan batin, and Eid Mubarak ❤ I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Ramadan and Eid, and open housing the Malaysian way. Because here, Raya is for a MONTH lol.

Life with small children often feels like I’m lurching from one sick kid to the next, before Irfan and I inevitably get sick too. Rinse, repeat. Friends with older children reassure me that it won’t always be this hard. One day, one beautiful, beautiful day, I will sleep better. I will not be slathered in essential oils to help me breathe. I will sleep for longer stretches. I will also miss the cuddles, the kisses, the looks of adoration. I will also sleep better. Have I mentioned sleep about 10 times yet? HA! I USED TO SLEEP IN!

Manuscript update: I’ve hit 50,030/60,000 words! ALHAMDULILAH!

https://gifer.com/en/Uhjf

I have less than 10,000 words to go before finally hitting my final word count. Then it’s time to let my manuscript rest, get it beta’d and line edited, write up my long and short synopsis, and then I can start working on my query letter for my agent!!!! AAAAHHH! What has writing a first draft been like for you? How was your revision stage? How did you decide on your agent? Give me all the deets. It’s been pretty solitary, writing my first draft, so I love hearing about the journeys of other writers. It’s encouraging!

I’m also 27 weeks pregnant, and it’s getting more and more uncomfortable to sit for long periods on a regular chair, like a regular person, because there’s nothing regular about being pregnant!!!

Solutions:

  1. Sit on an exercise ball and type at my desk – this is still working pretty well.
  2. Sit on the floor cross legged, cushion supporting my back, and type with my MacBook on a yoga block.
  3. Stretch lots.
  4. Stretch some more.
  5. Drink lots of water and herbal tea.

What’s been super helpful for me is reading Save The Cat! Writes A Novel. I cannot stress this enough. Thank you for telling me about it, Danica! Jessica Brody has done an INCREDIBLE job breaking down the structure in a best-selling novel. I’m also doing her online writing and publishing courses on Udemy. There’s so much to learn, while I write, and I love how much I’m learning!! Okay. Back to finishing my first draft!

Writing update

Novel news: Alhamdulilah I’m 33,160/60,000 words in! So my first draft is 55% complete!

Thennnnn I got stuck and wondered where my story was going. Who’ll even read it? Feels too hard! Helloooo mid-manuscript slump, which often happens to Pansters like me, versus Plotters like Hannah Alkaf and J.K. Rowling. Uh oh.

Thankfully, I’m back on track because of the incredible (and free!) writing from bestselling YA author, Tomi Adeyemi. This article was especially inspiring for me: How To Write When You Have A Demanding Job.

Why do I LOVE that article? Because I’m pregnant, have two kids under 4 and caring for said offspring is FULL-TIME Y’ALL.

All I can say is that if I pull this off, God willing, then you, dear reader, can too.

Article writing update: Alhamdulilah, my first article on About Islam is up! A Quick Guide to Forming Healthy Friendships. Big hugs to the effervescent Brooke Benoit for telling me about their openings for a writer! Hit reply if you want more information.

It’s really interesting writing for a teenage and college audience. I wrote that article’s first draft sounding like a 35 year old woman, then had to revise it and channel my inner 16 year old. (I draw the line at “totes” and FOMO, I’m just sayin’) Good practice for my YA novel :p

Writing update

So it’s been a while. And yes. I’m PREGNANT. Again. Yup, baby #3, alhamdulilah, due this September. Please make dua for me, baby, my 15 month old and my almost 4 year old. We are gonna be in for a partayyy with 3 kids under 4.5!!!!

https://www.reddit.com/r/gifs/comments/4ewqgq/yeah_its_party_all_night_on_weekend/

I’m working on my first novel – a YA multi-generational family mystery with a backdrop of Malaysian magic realism. Have I finished planning it? Nope. Because I am a panster, with a vague novel outline. SO I kind of know where my novel is headed-ish. I’m 28,389/60,000 words in, so I’m almost 50% in! PRAY FOR ME TO FINISH THIS BEFORE I GIVE BIRTH. Plz. Thanks.

So my plan is to keep at 500 words a day, and I either write in the mornings when my eldest is at preschool, my baby is napping, or in the evenings when my kids are asleep. I’ll keep the word count update here, to keep me going too. Once I’m done, please let me know if you’re keen to be one of my beta readers 🙂

Dictation is my friend! It’s kind of hit and miss with the dictation function Google Docs. What dictation software do you use your on iPhones? Do share.

Prayers for Christchurch

I cannot sleep.

I think of my sleeping daughters, my husband, and my family living in the West. I think of the families in Christchurch who quickly kissed/hugged/salaamed goodbye before attending Friday prayer, and then wept goodbye when they buried their loved ones. I think of gunfire and screams shattering Friday prayer, and the blood of men, women and children splattering over walls and soaking into carpets.

My heart breaks and rages over this tragic culmination of the rising tide of anti-immigration and anti-Muslim sentiment. For those who ask for proof of the harm of Islamaphobia, I give you today’s bloody carnage.

Murder is what happens when people choose hate over love, and forget what it means to be human.

Please support the survivors of the Christchurch mosque shootings, and share it with your loved ones.

Pray for the families who have buried their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, daughters and sons. Pray for humanity. God help us all.

“Dear Ustadha Raidah” podcast is live!

I’m so excited to share that my podcast series, Dear Ustadha Raidah, is live! Please tune in, and share it with your friends and family.

I’ve been quietly recording my podcast episodes at night, while my daughters are asleep. Alhamdulilah, for the most part, they haven’t been waking up much! This is also why a 60 min podcast is a bit beyond me, at this stage of my life :p Please make dua for me, my family, SeekersGuidance, and remember to donate to support this podcast series. Please rest assured that what you donate, in part, does reach me ❤ And woo, thank you for funding my life!


My letter came second in the Letter To The Beloved ﷺ competition!

Alhamdulilah, my letter won second place in the Letters To The Beloved competition! I am so surprised, so grateful and a little embarrassed. You can read it here, alongside the incredible winning entry and my friend Lina Abdul Wahab’s heartbreaking third place entry.

My deepest gratitude goes to Letters to the Beloved ﷺ team, Rabata, Sanad Collective, and especially to Anse Tamara Gray bringing my letter to life with her warm, heartfelt recitation ❤ I hope to read it to my daughters when they’re older some day. You can listen to the recording here (scroll to 26 min). I loved hearing from Anse Tamara, as always, and was really moved by Brother Ali’s talk (48 min). He acknowledges the role of women in understanding Prophetic love.

I would love to say that I wrote this letter with a warm cup of tea at a quiet cafe – but I didn’t. I wrote it in my bedroom, in quiet snatches while my daughters were asleep, over several nights. (I try not to have tea close by because I could spill it on my MacBook Air in my chronic tiredness – as I have done previously!!!) I edited it a couple of times, and then sent it just in time for the deadline lol. This is my modus operandi, these days :p

If you’re an exhausted mama, I hope my letter brings you some comfort. If you’re an exhausted mama writer, then I hope my letter shows you that what we lack in time, we make up for in other innumerable ways – and God, in His Mercy, fills in the rest.

If you haven’t already, please read the different letters from past competitions. I’m blown away by what the children have written, especially! And maybe, just maybe, you can set the intention to write your own to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). His blessed heart and soul is connected to ours, even when we forget.