Why write?

“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”

— Anaïs Nin

I’ve lived an interesting life spanning many continents. My childhood, adolescence and adulthood each had their raptures and ruptures, and the threads that kept me together were faith and fiction. I remember being 12, new to Australia and the labyrinth of highschool. I had my own minotaurs, and no Ariadne to guide my way. My sanctuary, however, was the school library, where I was safe in the cocoon of Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic. There, I lived vicariously through Daine, who was more afraid than I was, yet she grew through her trials and, of course, saved the day. Now that was a good book – it gave me respite from reality! Most of all, I could relate to Daine, and hoped for her courage in the face of adversity.

As an adult, writing gives me a healthy outlet for the drama of daily life; my “Are You Married Yet?” article spawned a lively debate. I’m very grateful for the outpouring of support, and as for those who disagreed…well, there’s always two sides to a fence 🙂 Writing that piece was fun and therapeutic, and personally, I find writing opinion pieces much, much easier than fiction.

Finding Jamilah, on the other hand, took months of concentrated effort. I made a point of writing every day. When I procrastinated, my mental “You should be writing!” would finally reach melting point, and tip me over to writing something. It could be a word, it could be a sentence, sometimes two…but that first step of opening up my word document was the hardest thing. Akin to pulling a tooth out. Minus anaesthetic.  Once that was done, then usually, the story flowed. Usually.

When it didn’t flow, I would try another day, and another day, and another day, and slowly, my story came together. Supportive friends and family made all the difference during my writing slumps! Friends and family are a tremendous blessing, particularly when it’s late, you’re tired and wondering why you started writing this story to begin with. They remind you that your story is a a story worth reading, so get on with the writing! So if you’re writing your own book – keep going. Don’t stop. Have a supportive group of friends and family around you who 1) encourage you 2) hold you accountable when you get lazy and start chilling out at Writer’s Block!