I love books. I love writing. In fact, I can confidently say books and writing are my passion. I’m not a gifted writer. There’s no formula to my success. No magic pill. Just hard work and dogged determination. Period!! All my manuscripts go through multiple drafts, edits and re-writes. My one consolation is that I get better the more I practice.
I write migrant stories. In Australia, 70% of us are first or second generation migrants. I’m a migrant. I have a migrant heart. At age 12 my family fled Iran. We arrived in Australia in 1982. My first book, Under a Starless Sky is the account of my family’s journey.
I’m fascinated by stories of people who uproot from the land of their ancestors and travel (sometimes at great risks to their lives) to another corner of the world to start a new life. Every migrant arrives carrying a story. I believe it’s through the sharing of such stories that we can build empathy, build bridges and mend relationships. And for me, books are the perfect vehicle to share those stories.
I set a new challenge with every manuscript to do something different. Whilst Under a Starless Sky and The Russian Tapestry are inspired by family history, my latest manuscript, The Wonder of the World is the story of three generation of women and the secret that has torn at the fabric of their lives. The key to to this secret is in a small wooden box dating to events in Ukraine during WWI (read the first few chapters in Stories From My Den).
In recent months I’ve returned to full-time work. Away from my desk for long stretches, coupled with juggling day-to-day running of the house has meant I can’t devote a regular time to writing. (Those who advocate you only need 10-30 minutes a day, I’m here to tell you, that’s bollocks!)
I’ve tried to fit in my writing. I’m an early riser. My day generally starts around 5:30 am. But since I started full-time work, my writing has played second fiddle to other priorities. As a result, there are long stretches where I don’t get to work on my writing, making it disjointed and incoherent.
In short, writing stopped being fun.
After weeks stressing, pushing to stay on course, making myself and everyone around me miserable, I decided to take a sabbatical. Incidentally, the week I made my decision, I received news that the German edition of The Russian Tapestry has gone into it’s third reprint!!
The decision to put away my manuscript does not come without pain. I worry over losing the ground I’ve gained. I debate whether I’ll go back to it, or if I’ll ever be published again. In short, the stress and pressure I’m putting myself under is not serving me. I need time to step back and regroup.
So for now, I’m pressing the pause button on the manuscript. But not on my writing.
Since my decision,I’ve ramped up my blogging.
I started a new category. Stories From My Den is a collection of stories – short and long – and chapters from my latest manuscript, The Wonder of The World.
I also re-visited categories which I’ve neglected. My 3 Tips, is a collection of interviews with individuals on their area of expertise. Whereas previous posts centred on personalities in the literary world, I’ve now opened it to include advise from all walks of life.
It’s still hard work. And I still struggle to find a balance between time for family, friends, work and writing. I don’t always achieve what I set out to write. But it doesn’t matter. Writing is a pleasure again.
I’m back to having fun.
Writing is a journey. A marathon not a sprint. There’s going to be challenges and setbacks along the way. Pressing the pause button has allowed me to regroup. Blogging gives me the sugar hit to get me through the long stretches between working on my manuscript, without the stress. Eventually, I’ll go back and finish The Wonder of The World. Till then, these posts will keep me going.