Writing update

Belated Selamat Hari Raya and Eid Mubarak!

Wooooo alhamdulilah, I’ve more or less finished my first draft! Truly, it goes to show that consistency does pay off. Sikit sikit, lama-lama jadi bukit! If I can write 60,000 words with while pregnant, with a 4 year old, 1.5 year old – YOU CAN TOO! I couldn’t have gotten this far without the hands-on support from my husband and mother-in-law – thank you for all the help!

My first draft is with my trusty beta readers now, and I hope to get some super helpful feedback within the next few weeks.

I’ve also sent my manuscript to be edited by Michele Sagan, who has been nothing but incredibly supportive from the get-go. Thank you, Michele! The fact that she is an editor, an agented and published author, and a mother of FOUR CHILDREN gives me so many warm, fuzzy feelings. My manuscript is in good hands ❤

So what’s next for me, writerly-wise? Some ideas:

  1. Not to look at my manuscript because I’m at the stage where I’m like…WHO’LL EVEN READ THIS?!!!
  2. Start writing my second novel! Or at least, start outlining it.
  3. Research agents for my first book.
  4. Start drafting query letters to agents.
  5. Keep lurking on @pitchwars and prepping for the December #pitmad.

In other news, I am 37 weeks pregnant. I AM LITERALLY GOING TO GIVE BIRTH SOON. To an actual baby. Not a book baby! A baby baby! This is both exciting and terrifying. Please pray for me and baby. My 4 year old and 1.5 year old can sense a big change is coming, and are clinging to me for dear life…..so let’s just say it’s a good thing I’m no longer worried about hitting my word count :p Now I can just (try to) rest, listen to birth affirmations, and enjoy the last few weeks of being a mama of two ❤

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

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.

“The Healing” is published!

I’m thrilled to start off 2019 with my latest creative non-fiction piece, published by Lunch Ticket, as part of their Amuse-Bouche A La Carte series – The Healing. Thank you to the wonderful Lunch Ticket team, for giving my stories a home. I first read Adab at Seksan 🙂

I hope my stories speak to you, especially if you’re an exhausted mother of two (or more) little ones. It does get better.

I vividly remember submitting this 2 am, after yet another night of broken sleep. I’ve come to realise that these exhausting early years of motherhood have given me a kind of creative haze and lucidity – I am both slowed down and sped up. It’s like quicksand and slow motion film, all in one. Do I make sense? Ha. Who knows.

Help fund my writing!

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Greetings of peace! I’m Raidah, and I write and draw comics. I also happen to be raising my two daughters. Because of these adorable little humans who run my life, I have stopped working outside my home. On good days, I love the flexibility of writing and sketching from the privacy of my room. On bad days, I miss interacting with emotionally regulated human beings. My husband, Irfan, helps as much as he can, but let’s be honest, he gets to leave the house every day. Enough said.

Your financial support will help me fund my creativity/sanity bucket. You will give me the gift of online shopping where I can binge on Book Depository, buy tasty treats to fund my endless breastfeeding hunger and fund my other kind of hunger – I am addicted to studying Udemy courses about writing, drawing, and everything else. You will also help me keep my webcomics free. My webcomics chronicle my motherhood adventures in Malaysia, as an introverted Australian-Malay artist and writer. With your support, I can branch into other themes. I am also slowly but surely completing several writing projects: fictional short stories, a creative non-fiction, poetry chapbook and a Young Adult novel. Irfan says I should stick to one. I agree. I wish my process would agree with him too. Ha.

My family thanks you, because a creatively-supported me is a much-less-cranky me 🙂 Please click on the top-right hand side of my blog. Thank you for funding my art!

 

CoMeL and Fay Khoo Award!

 

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Today has been a big day. Alhamdulilah.

  1. I managed to attend the wonderfully inspiring CoMeL event with my baby and mum-in-law, with my husband looking after my eldest. I FINALLY GOT TO SEE HARITH ISKANDER LIVE!! And read my poem to Anse Tamara Grey! I will blog more about this soon, hopefully.
  1. While my daughters were asleep, I finally finished, edited and submitted my personal narrative for the Fay Khoo Award! It closes tomorrow, so there’s still time! Now I really should sleep. Sleeeeep.

Call For Entries 2018: Fay Khoo Award

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Image Source: https://www.thefaykhooaward.com/

My ASEAN peeps, the Fay Khoo award ends in 19 days (Sep 30)! You can read about it here, download the Terms & Conditions here. For further information, you can email thefaykhooaward@gmail.com

I had no idea this competition existed, until Sharon Bakar brought  this to my attention. Again lol. Just like the D.K. Dutt award, I didn’t know about it until Sharon’s very concerned post on the Malaysian Writer’s FB group. She makes the same point now, with the Fay Khoo award – if local writers don’t submit, then competitions will shut down. End of story.

I’ve lived and written in Jordan, Australia and Malaysia, and let me tell you that the local writing scene here is SUPER SUPPORTIVE. Like, unbelievably. I’m so grateful for this, and so happy, and am going to start on my Fay Khoo submission after I write this blog post. Really.

My DK Dutt Competition backstory: After stumbling across Sharon’s post on FB, I frantically wrote up my piece while my then 1+ year old daughter kept waking up at night, cried while I wrote it out of sheer frustration and postpartum exhaustion and hormones,  finished it just before the deadline, submitted it, and didn’t expect to win anything. I wanted to keep the local competition alive, and to my absolute surprise and delight, my entry was short-listed, and now it’s the second story in the gorgeous anthology Bitter Roots, Sweet Fruits.

Moral of the story (ha) – each of us makes a difference. So write! Edit! Submit! Good editors don’t expect a perfect piece, but they do want a polished one. And if your story has potential, they’ll help you make it shine. OK now I’m reallly gonna go start working on my entry.