On motherhood and writing

So….it’s been a while. Much has happened. In short, motherhood is decimating, on so many levels, especially with a spirited toddler.  Please don’t tell me, “Wait til she becomes a teenager!” I will strangle you with my mind.

My pre-motherhood writing practice: Daily, disciplined, at my desk, mug of tea, nature sounds playing in the background.

Current writing practice: WHAT PRACTICE!? WHAT DESK?

Haha. I kid you. I do have a desk. I’m just not there as much as I’d like to be. Right now, I take what I get. Much like a starving person and scraps of food. Motherhood has shown me how much of an introvert I really am, and how much writing helps me surface for much-needed air.

I loved these articles:

  1. Freelancing with a Family: How to Balance Your Work and Your Kids
  2. Yes, It Is Possible to Write a Novel With Small Children Hanging On You
  3. Making Time to Write When You Have Young Children: Mission Impossible?

This post really resonates with me: After Page One: Claiming Space. So beautiful and so real. There is no perfect writing room for me, either – but I make do what with I have.

My daughter spurs my creativity, as much as I need to work around her. I write this as my toddler woke up from sleep. My husband brought her down to have breakfast. She’s in a good mood this morning, so that buys me approximately 10-20 minutes, before she starts calling for me once my husband leaves for work. Go, Raidah, go!

If you’re a writing parent, especially a writing mum, I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you find time and energy to write? What helps? What doesn’t help? How do you balance forgiving yourself for not writing as much as you’d like, alongside celebrating your small victories?

Some blog ideas I’m playing with, as I resurrect my blog from the abyss of mothering a toddler:

  • Book review on N.K. Jemisin’s incredible Broken Earth trilogy.
  • Book review on Zen Cho’s Sorcerer To the Crown.
  • Reflections on reading my poetry at my sister’s chapbook launch.
  • I finally submitted my poetry manuscript to the wonderful Ethos Books!

I’m open to suggestions. Leave a comment and share your thoughts 🙂

@SalaamReads offers diversity, peace and hope

Salaam Reads, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, welcomes manuscripts about Muslim children and young adults. Folks, start writing!

Check out their upcoming publications: Amina’s Voice and Yo Soy Muslim!

@SalaamReads, thank you for giving a voice to the many, many Muslim stories out there, just waiting to be heard ❤

I’m so excited about the diversity, peace and hope that these books offer. I grew up with Enid Blyton and other books that had characters who looked nothing like me. Now that I have a daughter, I see the importance of her reading books with more relatable characters and themes.

Speaking of which, my daughter loves “My Father’s Farm” and “My Mother’s Kitchen” – gorgeous Malaysian picturebooks filled with native joy, written by Emila Yusof. It’s so cool to see beautifully illustrated Malaysian flora and fauna.

When I point to Dina, the main character in the storybooks, and ask my daughter who that is, she grins, points to herself and says, “Taskeen!” ❤

February 2017

….already? RIS is around the corner! My todder is almost 20 months. SubhanAllah. Time flies.

I love these reads:

  1. Surviving as an Introverted Mother
  2. 5 Strategies to Help Introvert Parents Maintain Their Sanit

One really amazing piece of advice by Anse Tamara Gray: recharge during the hour before Fajr, and the hour after. Now that is a goal worth aspiring to! That’s only really possible if I sleep early.

Pre-baby: Ah, how I love the long, uninterrupted hours of night! I can write lyrical prose and poetry and [insert whatever else that used to happen]

Post-baby: Must. Sleep. Zzzzz

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Muslims in Science Fiction? Yes! @Islamscifi

I grew up on Star Wars, Star Trek, read Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit….science fiction and fantasy were my favourite escape pods. I loved these genres as a child, and I still do. But did I ever come across sci-fi/fantasy characters who were Muslim too? Nope. Not until Alif The Unseen, by the brilliant G. Willow Wilson. She’s also the writer behind Kamala Khan, a Pakistani American Marvel comic superhero. Ah, representation matters.

Muslims in science fiction. It’s a growing thing. Click here for the super exciting ISLAMICATE SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY COMPETITION! Spread the word!

 

 

A Modern Girl’s Guide to Childbirth

1386501_typewriterShort stories. How I love them.

There is something so exquisite about being pulled into a story just long enough to be hooked, only to be released shortly after. Spell over.

Speaking of which, I’ve stumbled across a gem of a short story (thank you, Binders!), titled, “A Modern Girl’s Guide to Childbirth” by Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson. I love her lyrical prose, the use of second person, and her gorgeous past and present childbirth juxtapositions.

One of my favourite lines from her piece:

If this were 1800s France, the midwife would warm her hands in almond oil after lining your bed with boxes of powdered cumin and myrrh meant to dust the baby and protect her from evil spirits.

Which short stories have stayed with you?