Hello, 2018…

Hello, 2018…

It feels like coming back to an empty house writing this. I feel like I can see the invisible cobwebs hanging from the posts and pages. But I hope to change my inactivity by being more active on this site. I wasn’t sure how to do this, but I thought maybe it would be interesting to share my reflections of the past year and how I was to change this year and setting myself better, more concise goals.

What didn’t work for me in 2017 was letting way to much things like fear get in my ways of things. It wasn’t a good year for me, 2017, I was seriously stressed and anxious 24/7 about my retakes and making sure I get into university. I was constantly shutting down a lot and only focused on revising and working. And that was it. This site was created in my first year of college, three years ago, and it became a source of comfort for me. But the last year seriously messed with my head and my focus became making some money and having some educational stability. So this site became sorely neglected and that made me mad but I couldn’t do anything about it. I looked back at the past three years and I’ve realised how happy this site has made me. I loved reading, but I had no one to talk too – my family are casual readers and don’t like the genres I read. The idea of blogging is alien to them and most see it as having zero value. So I’m planning to be better on this site since it has helped me so much.

This year I want to focus on creating and planning. Planning a better blog schedule, planning some sort of life plan, and planning in general since I seem to lack in that area. I started university last year (studying sociology) but from my experience of the first term, I seriously need to sort out a better uni/home/work balance.

How I want to change in 2018

My new year resolutions are quite simple.

  • Read at least 150 books (part Goodreads challenge, part me being disappointed about the lack of reading I did last year)
  • Learn Bengali – Improve would be a better choice since I can partially speak it because of my family but its terrible and I don’t know how to write it so that’s something I’m definitely focused on this year.
  • Save money – doesn’t everyone?
  • Vlog – if you were quick enough to see them, I made two videos last year but quickly made them private after a couple of days. But I want to vlog more, but I need to get over my fear of being on camera.

Enough of me, I’d love to hear your plans for 2018!! I’m just hoping I’ll stick to my plan, considering I kept it quite simple, I’m excited to see if everything goes to plan!! (and for you as well I hope)

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I’m back! (+ something new)

It feels very strange writing again. Just typing this post made me question my writing skills. I haven’t done anything in months! How do I edit? Write? How does this work? Is anyone still listening? But I’m glad to have these two months before university starts revamping my site and changing things up! Expect more frequent reviews and posts soon! I’ve also got some other big news, something that I started doing while I was gone…

I’ve started a Youtube channel!!! You can watch my first ever video here.  I’ve always wanted to do booktube and one day, I was home alone and thought “Why not!!” I had the camera and stuff to show so I filmed a video. While I know it’s not the best I can do but it’s my first try and I’m still pretty pleased with it. (Is it weird to say I had more fun editing than I did filming it?)

So, yeah, that was me checking in. Hope to be more active on this site and on my channel! Also, recommend me some booktubers, I follow a small few but I need more!

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Attending #YMWA2016

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Young Muslim Writer’s Award.Despite me getting episcleritis (inflammation in my eye) a couple of days before, it was still so much fun! Congratulations to everyone who was nominated and who won!

It was a great event with an amazing atmosphere! There were so many amazing moments but I know I’ll have to list some of my favourites.

  • Watching Muzoon Almellehan, a Syrian refugee, being given the Special Recognition Award for her activism in education for young girls.
  • When S.F Said presented the award for the KS2 Short Story Award – “There is nobody who can write your story better than you.” Since I had just completed NaNoWriMo and was currently working on a new story, this line was so encouraging.
  • When Caleb Femi recited some of this poetry – He’s so talented and funny! Also loved it when he spoke on the importance of making sure people of colour are not erased from literature.

 

The best part of the day was meeting Zoya. I met Zoya online after she commented on my Muslim Characters in YA post and we had spoken to each other a few times over the months. And we saw each other face to face for the first time here at the event. It was amazing to meet someone you’ve spoken to online for real! Zoya was actually nominated for an award in the Key Stage 3 poetry section and won!

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Me and Zoya with her award

At the end of the awards, there was some time for networking but, unfortunately, we had to leave since my eye started aching a lot. And I had finished my eye drops so it was very painful 😦

While I really wished I spoke to more people,  I’d like to end this post with a thank you to Zainub Chohan who invited me to the event and is basically the backbone of the #YMWA. It was a great event and wouldn’t have been possible with her.  Thank you to all the judges, performers, nominees and presenters. Can’t wait to see what new talent we’ll see in 2017.

NaNoWriMo Update: one week in…

NaNoWriMo Update: one week in…

Can you believe it has already been one week into November? Since I’m being a bit of a pantser this month, my current document is a mess. There’s no real structure at this point. I’m just writing down everything I know I want to happen in this story. I am not sure how everything connects. I know where it needs to be just not how, so I guess I need to work on the outline a bit more. I already know that half the stuff I’ve written will disappear in editing after November.

But I’m slowly figuring things things, adding more and more to this setting and the character I’ve created. I think, by next week, I’ll want to create a post where I reveal more things about my story and be brave enough to introduce some characters to you.

I realised that I haven’t shared much about the plot to anyone. On the official NaNo site I’ve simply put “Set in a climate change ravaged world, a ship crew finds their sea route threatened” which is a very simple version of my plot because I do change quite a lot. Like right now, the said ship crew haven’t met yet but then sometimes I change my time and alter the plot so the crew is already together at the beginning of the novel. It’s times like this that make me wish I planned ahead!

I think the one thing I’ve struggled with was that I was doing a lot of telling rather than showing. And it irritated me a lot until I saw this tweet:

I needed this. I keep getting stressed about telling and not showing that I get nothing written. But then I remind myself, that it’s only the first draft. It will get better. So I guess I’ll talk to you later. My current word count is 13,687 and I kind of want to keep upping it early on in case I hit a writing slump later on.

YA Novels with Muslim Characters *NEW LIST LINK IN POST*

A/N: I am currently remaking this list as there have been quite a few additions and the formatting of this post is a bit messy. A new list will be up in the new year. 

Please note: I’m speaking from the view of mainstream publishers, as there have been Islamic companies who have attempted to provide representation.

I’ve been an avid reader and lover of Young Adult novels ever since I could ever remember. I still remember my 12-year-old self borrowing the Darren Shan vampire series one by one from my school library because my parents wouldn’t buy me the entire series. I remember the day my cousin bought me all the The Hunger Games novels, and finishing them all in the space of a couple of days. I’ve been watching the increasing attention placed on diversity in literature for YA in recent year and I love that it’s happening.

In Islam, our faith rests on diversity and universal bonding through similarities. By advocating and encouraging voices to share their stories we can put them on the shelves. To future Muslim authors, I know you’re there, within the writing community, and I’m rooting for you. And with the recent news of Salaam Reads, I eagerly look forward for a broader spectrum of Muslim stories.

THIS LIST HAS BEEN UPDATED AND MOVED TO A NEW PAGE. YOU CAN NOW FIND IT HERE!!!