Create What You Love – Huffington Post opinion piece

1350860_hand-in-handI really liked this article on Huffington Post – Create What You Love: 4 Steps To Improve Your Life.

The four principles Susanna Bair wrote about are:

Use love to build a beautiful and healthy body.

Use love to create the work you enjoy.

Use love to develop the relationship you want.

Use love to build a better world.

I know that starting off my day with my morning prayer (fajr) helps to remind me of what matters in life. All five daily prayers help to ground me. The key is to take my time, and not rush through them. I can measure how centered I feel in my life depending on how present I am with Allah in my prayer.

Going for a walk or doing my yoga stretches helps me feel a limber and relaxed. I do a lot of sitting down when I study or write, and that puts a lot of stress on my lower back. Moving around helps to clear my head and release any built-up tension in my back or shoulders. It’s amazing what a short 15-20 minute walk/yoga session can do.

It’s a blessing to be able to study and work with what I love (counselling and writing, respectively). I’m looking forward to completing my Diploma of Counselling over the next few months, and joining the workforce once I get enough volunteer experience. As for my writing…stay tuned for my next article 🙂

Spending quality time with friends and family is a constant source of joy, validation and support for me. I don’t have any pets, but I have three plants: Lily, Violet, and Lucky Bamboo. I water them regularly, and talk to them on occasion. I’ve heard that talking to plants actually helps them grow! I suspect it’s working lol.

 

 

 

How to write a killer short story

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I have great news! I’ve actually passed my minimum writing quota of 9,ooo words! I’ve just passed 11,000 and I’m really happy that my story is taking shape.

Here’s the first line:

My name is Yusuf. Let me tell you the story of how I turned my world upside down.

It’s amazing how fond of my characters I’ve become over the course of writing Yusuf’s story. Like every other story, it started off with a blank page, and now there’s a whole cast of characters jostling to take centre stage. The hard thing about writing a short story is that the action has to happen quickly, and I can’t spend too much time meandering through the plot. Reading 8 Unstoppable Rules For Writing Killer Short Stories really helped me organize my story. Check it out! One of the best pointers it gave was when to actually introduce the conflict while balancing world-building.

Going away to Port Macquarie has been great for giving me the mental space to just buckle down and write. I tend to get distracted when I’m at home, and writing in short spurts is the only way that works for me. Here, I’ve got the luxury of time, so I’m much more likely to sit down for longer periods of time and churn out words. I’m trying very hard not to fall into the trap of editing my work – that can wait until it’s finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m on holiday!

1381969_tropical_island_holiday_2Since last Friday, I’ve been at Port Macquarie with my husband, in-laws and close family friends. The effect of sun, surf and general relaxation has been amazing for my writing productivity! I highly encourage a getaway if you’re facing writer’s block. I made the intention to finish up as much of my 9000 manuscript as possible (preferably, all 900o words!), and I’m really glad that I’ve passed the 6500 mark. I’ll worry about editing later. Now, I need to keep writing. I have today

I’m several shades darker and sunburnt after sitting at the beach. This morning was a highlight – my husband and I hopped on some bikes, cycled down to the beach, then dove into the water to cool off. Good fun! That’s the plus of being at a more deserted beach 🙂

I’m writing this from one of the Port Macquarie shopping centres, using my phone as a WiFi hotspot. The reception from our holiday house is poor, and we barely pick up signal at certain spots. That’s why you’ll find some of us congregating at, say, the dining table, catching up on Whatsapp conversations lol. We have to cross the ferry (it costs $3.10, one-way) to get to the city centre. Getting here was the first time I actually boarded  a ferry, while still being on a car. You can’t even tell the ferry is moving, then voila, you’ve reached the other side. Very cool.

2012 has been a busy year for me and I’m really glad I’m on a holiday to wind down, and reassess what I’d like to achieve when 2013 rolls around.

Have a great holiday!