On Writing: Finding the will to carry on

When school ended two weeks ago and I found myself with ample time to write, I envisioned myself as this super productive being who would tick everything off her To Do list while simultaneously updating her blog every third day.

Instead, I found that actually, all this free time was counterproductive. Apparently, I write best under pressure. When there are a billion deadlines to meet, my brain pipes up with: “Oo wait, let’s write this and that and while I’m at it let’s just spend several hours on reading up because hey, research, and watch WordPress tutorials on how to make my blog look like XYZ. I really must create a clicky button over there-ish to make it easier for my readers to blah blah blah, or I know! Let’s play around with how the site appears on a tablet vs. a mobile phone. While I’m there, how about those unfinished projects from three years ago and the essays I submitted as an undergrad seven years ago. I distinctly remember they were ah-may-zing. Maybe I could share them now.”

Really Zoya, really?! You think pulling out crap you wrote years ago, before you even took writing that seriously is really worth spending time on when it’s already 11.30pm and you have to be up for work in 5 hours and most of those 5 hours will be spent, much to your husband’s amusement, talking in your sleep?

Pretty accurate depiction of hijabi-me at 11.30pm on a school night, minus the ‘tache.

But, I guess I’ve realised quite a bit about myself through this unexpected bout of writer’s block. The first being that this is one of the outcomes of having had a difficult childhood: I have been conditioned to work hardest and strive further when there is both internal angst and external pressure. I want to do everything all at once because I must come out on top, and when it’s my well-earned ‘day off’ I want to do nothing at all. There is no in-between. The second realisation being that my manager needs to up her game.

I’m kidding. My manager is actually one of my dear friends, she set up a Whatsapp group called WordPress, which by the way comes up on my notifications under the heading ‘WordPress’ and always gets me way excited about nothing (sorry, girls but real WordPress notifications are the one).

Anyway, a few of us are in this group including myself, The Manager, and the two friends whose blogs I linked in an earlier post. The whole idea of this was that my self-proclaimed manager-friend would keep us on track and ensure we wrote regularly. As everyone is on holiday, this isn’t working. I’m suspecting everyone else is going through a lull in productivity just like me and that, my lovely readers, is why teachers need to be paid more so we can fund our imaginary, extra-curricular pass-times like Whatsapp groups and barely updated blogs.

Where am I going with this post? Okay, so I figured out how to motivate myself because I still have two months of ‘free’ time ahead of me and I don’t want it to go to waste.


I have set a few deadlines for myself. I won’t publicly embarrass myself by sharing what the goals are in case I spend all summer editing home videos of my nieces, and don’t work at all but I’m putting this out there in the universe to give myself some kind of accountability. Even if the projects aren’t quite complete by the end of summer, at least I will be a lot closer to the finish line than I am now…

Another thing I have learnt about myself or my blog is that scheduled pre-planned posts do not work for me. I had a few posts prepared in spring, I was gutted to find I couldn’t share them (I’m still re-working them, I haven’t lost hope yet). But my spontaneous posts seem to be making headway, especially my responses to daily prompts which have suddenly turned me into a wannabe poet. Therefore, I am going to embrace not knowing where the next post will come from and more importantly, I’m going to stop writing drafts and leaving them for days on end for revision at a later time. Revision at a later time never happens, (see earlier point about crappy drafts from many years ago).

I should really end this thing but I’m kind of on a roll so bear with me.

It’s 3.26am right now. We’re still on Ramadan time and I’ve also been unwell for two days (you guessed it, that impacted wisdom tooth again). What better time than this to contemplate the following: where do we draw the line between private and public? Turns out it’s bloody hard. The more my blog grows, the more I’m wracked with self-doubt. My blog hit 10,000 views and 4,000 visitors last week (ma sha Allah, ma sha Allah), I’m not far off from 1000 subscribed followers too which is a very big deal for me. But it’s killing my creativity.

In fiction, I will go all out and ruthlessly decapitate whoever who I want but when it comes to sharing that in a public space…mmmhh. I worry. What if some readers draw parallels between fiction/my blog posts and begin believing I wrote about them, when maybe the writing just came from an emotion or a selfish need, completely unlinked to them? Or what if a post is based on real life, but I need to write it to process it because writing is the best form of therapy? What would you do if some crazy came at you based on words from your imagination? Would you put your quill down and live the rest of your life out as a hermit? Or try and find the will to continue anyway?

See, these are probably the kinds of questions I should have thought about when creating my non-anonymous blog, rather than years later at this crazy time in the morning.

That’s all folks, I’m out.


8 thoughts on “On Writing: Finding the will to carry on”

  1. Zoya you have literally written what I am going through! I too had envisioned a summer where I would be blogging regularly. I had high hopes for writing about our travels, but as our travels are coming to an end I realise I have posted one, megre little post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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