Thursday, November 21, 2013

Writer’s Block = Perfect Excuse When Having Too Many Thoughts

wri·ter’s block [\ˈrīt-ərz-\; /ˌraɪ.təzˈblɒk/]
1. the problem of not being able to think of something to write about or not being able to finish writing a story, poem, etc.
2. a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece
3. a usually temporary psychological inability to begin or continue work on a piece of writing
4. an inability to remember or think of something you normally can do; often caused by emotional tension
5. the condition of being unable to create a piece of written work because something on your mind prevents you from doing it

If I were to write a story based on a moment in time in my life, specifically these past two week, it would be titled WRITER’S BLOCK.

I haven’t been able to write a single thing… Well, anything but cover letters for employment opportunities and query letters to literary agents. My brain has been feeling like a dessert, not even a single camel in sight. At least with a camel in my periphery I would feel like there’s a bit of water near, even if it’s hiding in it’s hump.

That sounded good in my head… Wrong on paper.

Anyway, I couldn’t think of anything to write so I titled this blog post “Writer’s Block” and proceeded to define the term with various definitions located all over the internet.

While writing out these definitions, I couldn’t help but to feel like I was living these definitions, until I arrived at the last one.

“The condition of being unable to create a piece of written work because something on your mind prevents you from doing it.”

The reality is I don’t have “writer’s block”. I’m not in a state of living in a dry well with no ink to fill the pages. My struggle is that I have too much ink, too many thoughts, and they keep exploding everywhere! I keep staring at blank pieces of paper and white screens, trying to write the scenes in my head, but my fingers can’t move fast enough. I’ve discovered it’s just not humanly possible. Frustration at its finest.

I also have to live simultaneously in reality and the fictional world in my head… Fellow writers, I know you understand. The struggle to not lose myself in my own creative process is usually saved by someone in the “real world” pulling me back to safety. This method of saving me doesn’t last too long if my novel is in a crucial place of development.


I have found that my writing is affected by many variables, which isn’t surprising, I know.

My location and setting while I’m writing.
I have never been able to find that one perfect writing spot. Technically, I can write just about anywhere, depending on the situation. It depends on what I’m writing – whether it be a novel, article, or blog post – and the specific scenes I’m working on.

My emotions during specific scenes.
I become very attached to my characters and believe that my own emotions should not intervene with their emotions and lives. If I feel that this will be the case, it causes me to hold off until I’m in the right mood to write.

The weather.
I always try to choose, but I don’t believe I have a favorite season. It’s the San Diego vibe and lifestyle. Living in San Diego means I have the beauty of experiencing all four seasons in one day. I’m not joking. Of course San Diego, more so than any other Southern California city, is known for it’s beautiful sunny 70’s weather year-round. Living near the beaches and mountains is never tiring.

I have learned that the best writing weather for me is during the extremes, because I don’t have the excuse nor distraction of wanting to be outside, enjoying the weather. While writing, I need some sort of drink – coffee, tea, smoothie – and a window to watch the outside world. Extreme heat or the rare, incredibly beautiful rain (like today) keep me cozy in coffee shops, writing with great focus.

My relationship with other human beings.
This ties in to my need for alone time and a pleasant mood to keep me writing. I love being as social as any other bookworm, nerd, glasses wearing, cozy sweats and sweater girl… you get the picture.
[Yes, this type of person existed before hipsters created their own “trend”. For all my self-titled “hipster” friends, back in my day, we were just called nerds, geeks, dorks, or people with bizarre, yet weirdly exotic and interesting fashion sense.]

Being private suits me. This is why my blog has allowed me to be a little less private… A little. I’m still working on the possibility of opening up the comments section. I love making new friends, but as I have said before, I am also very cautious of this. Trust is something difficult to gain.

[I don’t accept Facebook friends unless we’ve had some sort of friendship offline and in person. This decision came from previous crazy experiences.] Truth be told, I prefer face to face relationships, or at least being able to hear your voice over the phone. I have found that this is partly because I am a very sarcastic person and text doesn’t always relay that part of me, which causes miscommunication issues.


You would think that being unable to write has given me more time to read. Nope. I have a growing stack of books, creeping up my wall, just waiting to be devoured. I haven’t been reading much. Every time I sit down to read, I feel guilty about not writing. When I can’t write, I feel guilty about not spending my time in a more productive manner. I turn back to seeking employment opportunities and finding the perfect agent who will love my work almost in the same way that I do.

I love that I have an endless list of priorities; I would rather be busy than bored and staring at my ceiling with nothing to do. I am the master of multitasking. I’m usually working on all my responsibilities at once, which in turn causes me to neglect my writing at times. During this time where my writing suffers, I miss my characters and their world. My non-writer friends always think I’m crazy when I try to explain to them that I live amongst my fictional characters. I talk about them like we’re friends. They’re real! They live vividly within my head. Their stories continue to be lived even when I’m not writing it down. 

I have written before that the development of my stories come to me during the most inconvenient of times: driving, sleeping, in the shower. While I am thankful I have my phone on me to either write down quick notes or record my thoughts, I always lose all my thoughts in the shower. I stumbled upon something today. Fellow writers, are you ready for this?

I don’t celebrate any of the holidays during this time of the year, but I wouldn’t mind surprise presents from friends or family… AquaNotes!!!

There’s only one real problem with this. If my writing flow gets rolling, I would never leave the shower. Well, I would be in there for hours…

Really, my writer’s block can be defined as having way too many thoughts for my own good.

Take this moment; I knew I had a lot more to write, but my mind keeps wandering off.


Next week I’ll be spending a lot of time with family and I don’t believe I will be able to put up a new blog post. I pray you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving break with family and friends. Although the reason for partaking in this holiday isn’t built on the correct side of history (I won’t go into any of that for your sake; do pick up an American history book not located in grades K-12), I do hope it serves as a wonderful breather with your loved ones.

I want to leave you with this video that made my entire day. This is the beauty of humanity that has become lost in the barriers that our personal biases – influenced partly by society, politics, media, you name it – has built, preventing us from seeing the beauty in our brothers and sisters in humanity. I love this!!!

“When they first get in, they’re not sure what to think. But there’s just something about a ball pit that breaks down barriers and encourages new friends. This is awesome.”

Take a Seat - Make a Friend?


Here are a few pictures I took at sunset when the rain turned into a light drizzle. The first picture was from my seat inside the coffee shop. The rest are from my walk outside during the short break I took. SubhanaAllah, the sky has been breathtakingly beautiful this time of year.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Letter to the Monster in My Head

Dear Monster in my Head,

Fancy meeting you here, in the darkest depths of my mind. You seem to be showing up a lot. Just chilling in my brain. Finding any tiny corner to take refuge. Bringing me down in my thoughts and causing my emotion and motivation to drop. Trying to control my thoughts before I successfully crush you until the next time.

Quite frankly, I’m really tired of your… ridiculousness. Yeah, I’m keeping it G-rated, because every time you fuel my anger, Monster, I can feel you winning.

We’re not in high school anymore. Although life may just well be an extended, presumably more professionally conniving version of high school, I don’t believe it has to be that way. I’m tired of having to do this dance every time I’m feeling like this world has conquered me. So, let’s face each other like the adults we pretend to have grown into.

Monster, I’m ready to take you down.

I’m here to tell you I’m taking full control – of my thoughts, mind, and outlook on life. I’m here to throw you out. My mind is no longer for you to occupy with your petty whispers.

Monster, this is me telling you to disappear.

You no longer have control on my thoughts. I will take on this world and live my life to the fullest potential.

I am in control.

I will find motivation in myself and the dreamers before me.

I will live with Islam as my way of life, Allah’s words in my heart and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, on my mind.

I will find only the beauty in Allah’s blessings and let dua’ put me at ease.

I will speak my mind and never fear holding back from saying the truth no matter how difficult it may be at the time.

I will master control over my emotions – trust cautiously but love infinitely.

I will be good to my health and leave the worries of my weight behind me as I indulge in the piece of knaffeh.

I will surround myself with only friend I can trust to only pull me up when I am down and not find pleasure in my sorrow or use me as a punching bag to ease their own worries.

I will greet everyone with a smile no matter how much they test my patience sanity of my mind.

I will not turn my back to those who judge me on appearance but instead use my patience to educate them from grasping on to the ignorance they hold so dear.

I will be patient in the life that Allah has given me and understand that not only does everything happen for a reason, but after every winter, spring awaits.

Monster, don’t you know this life is too short and meant to be lived without your rude intrusions on my life?

I will complete my novels that are meant to be written and never lose hope that they will soon find their way to the hands of readers everywhere and a home among bookshelves.

I will have faith that I will one day find that one job that makes me happy and pleases Allah swt.

I will NEVER give up on dreams or settle for less.

I will be good to my parents and only pray that I continue to receive their blessings so that Allah can place barakah in my life.

I will always be here for my siblings for as long as I am alive and smother them with love and be the overprotective older sister that I was born to be.

Monster, I won’t change who I am for anyone.

I will continue to be the strong-headed, perfectionist, motivated, stubborn, insanely driven woman that my mama has raised me to be.

I will only choose role models who respect their minds, bodies, and souls.

Monster, I won’t let you bring me down.

I will not allow my migraines to bring me down to a state of depression and sense of failure.

I will continue to remind myself that I am human – with imperfections and a tendency to make mistakes that must be learned from, but this is the way that Allah has created me.

I will hold my deen above everything and let it lead me to finding peace in this world and love among my brothers and sisters in humanity.

Monster, I know you’re not going to leave quite so easily. You will try to wiggle yourself into my head every so often. I’ll be here to set you straight and continue to add to this list. I promise you, you’ll wish you had never messed with me to begin with me.

Oh, you think you can still stick around? You don’t think I can gain control over you?

Prepare to FAIL.

Goodbye, Monster, and good ridden,

Thursday, October 31, 2013



Following my heavy subject blog post last week on life and death, I’ve been working on one of my novels non-stop. The chapters I have been working on required me to do some digging into some old writing and research for one of my characters. In the process, I stumbled upon more writing I did back when I was at UCSD.

One of the last workshop courses I took at UCSD was called “Philosophy of Writing”. Yes, the title of the class was just as terrifyingly confusing as the professor and his assignments. I reread two of the stories I wrote and was thoroughly confused. I couldn’t recognize my purpose or reasoning behind the piece. I finally remembered that even back then, I had no idea what I was writing.

This isn’t surprising to me. It was fall quarter of my senior year at UCSD: I was battling the flu for the second time in three months and bronchitis that lasted for months; my patience was being severely tested by a professor who had it out for me because of my background and had no problem telling me what she thought of me and my writing through a letter connected to one of my assignments (in this situation, I put on the professor shoes and had to educate her on diversity); my mom was going off to Hajj and I couldn’t bid her safe travels in person; I won’t even get started on how I was dealing with my French literature class … I was a mess. These are the only reasons I can find behind writing such dark and nonsensical pieces during that time in my life.

In case any of you are interested, I did some digging and found an “Explanatory Note” that my professor required us to attach to each of our assignments. The following piece was apparently my interpretation of Foucault and Barthes’ theories on author-function. It was my response to Foucault’s “What is an Author” and Barthes’ “Death of the Author.” Based on my attempt to bridge both philosopher’s concepts into one, the grammar and verb tense in the piece are off; that was deliberate. Despite the high grade I did achieve for that course, so much for actually retaining anything I learned.

I need to head back to my writing, so I shall leave you with this piece originally untitled. Remember, this hasn’t been touched in four years and I’m pretty sure it was one of those “written at 3 am the night before class” assignments. I bid you well wishes trying to understand the story.

As promised, I will always post on Thursdays, even if it means putting up an old, horribly written story and embarrassing myself in the process…



         The full moon of the month illuminates the grisly streets of the city. A shadow lurks on every corner sending spiders to hide within their cobwebs. Howls of unidentified animals whine into the air giving it a chill. The crisp winds lick at his black leather jacket. He pulls on the zipper as if to make sure it is possible to extend it beyond closing point. Hands wrapped tightly around themselves, wrings his fingers to conceal any warmth, he hastily walks on in a confident stance illustrating that he knows where he needs to go and it must be quick. There is no time left. It is coming.

         His eyes perk up at the site of an old run down house at the end of the street. Light stream from its windows shining itself onto the dark and vacant houses nearby. He reaches the fence. Slowly opening the crooked gate, he begins to ascend the steps gently as to not step on the trail of spiders leading the way. He reaches out to the doorknob, ready to twist –
         STOP! Do not enter… turn back slowly… Now.

         He jumps, turning around to the gentle whispers. No sound, the area around him is calm. A shiver runs down his spine. He shakes it off and once again returns to the door. Spiders now lay confident on the doorknob, circling tighter and tighter. Changing his mind, he walks back and out the gate. Maybe this isn’t the right house.

         You’re not there yet. You must keep going…must.

         His first step back on the street, rain pelts down hard jerking him awake and washing out any noise. He pulls up his collar and wraps his arms tightly to hug in the warmth and continues on down the street. As if on cue, lights begin to pour out of the houses followed by laughter and happy voices. Brows furrowed in confusion, he makes a turn into a dark alley only to find another row of houses. These are silent and almost ghostly like. He can sense his destination is near now. It must be. The houses become larger and scarcer leaving now more space between them. Unsure of his next step, he stops to consider any options.

         No, keep going… almost there… I should know, shouldn’t I?

         Again the whispers startle him. He spins slowly in a circle shifting his eyes back and forth to spot the thing that spoke. No one seems to be lurking nearby. There lie only houses, dark, dim and undisturbed. One holds an aura of cobwebs. The rain stops. Dew glistens on the webs revealing a pathway by which to enter into the garden surrounding the grand front door. Shoving his hands into his jacket pockets, he walks through the webs up to the brick walls holding together the steel door. He raises his hand to knock and stops right before his hand reaches the gold metal.

         Do not fear, enter.

         The door smoothly opens shining light onto his face. Hunching his shoulders, he shoves his hands into his jeans pockets again. He enters slowly and spots a shadow coming near yet no image appears.

         Welcome home. Be prepared. Another maze awaits you once again. It will reorganize itself soon. Ready? Set. Go…

         The lights go out. He stands in a misty jungle ready to follow the light and whispers once again.