Guest post by Samreen Ahsan
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” ― Louis L'Amour
After I published my first novel, A Silent Prayer, many people around me asked what truly inspired me for writing or more precisely—what made me write?
I never knew I was a writer until now. Those who have known me a long time also asked me if I was a born writer. I believe a person is always born with a talent—be it an artist or a musician. I don’t think there’s such thing as an inborn writing talent. Each individual in this world has a story to tell—everyone has a past, present and a future tied with emotions that make the person think, laugh, cry or contend. For writing, the basic talent you need in yourself is reading and of course, reading is an inborn talent. You cannot force anyone to be a good reader.
“Indeed, learning to write may be part of learning to read. For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.” ― Eudora Welty, On Writing
If you’re not a good reader, then you can never be a writer. Reading gives you inspiration, a whole new world from a writer’s perspective. You dive into that world, sometimes you drown yourself, sometimes you just float over it—it depends how deeply the story is being written.
I believe there’s always an inspiration for a writer. It could be a person, his surroundings, a song, his own life or a minor incident. You just need one end of the rope and then you keep on pulling it, until you hold another end. That one end which you held first is your inspiration.
Likewise, you can’t wait for an inspiration to write something—it comes to you. It’s just how you see it and how you perceive it.
So back to the question I was asked after my first book—what made me write? Honestly I was never a writer (I don’t even write much blogs) but I guess my passion of reading and imagining fearlessly has driven me this way. Being a Muslim, I’ve a complete faith on my Holy book—what it has to say about the things we see and the things we don’t see. That inspired me to write about Jinn. We have read countless Jinn stories through Arabian folktales and all the readers have always found them purely fictitious. To me, it is not fiction. I wanted to create a believable fiction story. I know vampires and zombies don’t exist but I truly believe that the Jinn exist, just like angels—the only thing is they’re hidden from us—and that’s what Jinn means. So I started researching on this strange creature and for a few months (during my writing), there was only one activity in my life (besides writing)—read, read and read.
|The Djinn||by maeshanne via Creative Commons.|
It’s a very common myth among Muslims that the more you try to dig about the Jinn, the more they try to approach you. To some, it was hard for them to believe that I picked a topic out of the word of God and crafted a romantic story from of an Islamic concept—a religion which has always been a part of controversy and extremism. Some even asked me if I’ve actually encountered anyone of them. Really, it makes me laugh sometimes. I wrote because I didn’t fear anyone. I wanted my imagination to take a flight and see where it lands. I’ve been hearing this myth since my childhood. If I had feared and believed in that myth, I wouldn’t have written anything at all. Reading made me fearless.
One thing that I’ve learned in my journey of writing is—avoid self-doubt on your story. Always think it is unique and it would hopefully grab a reader. If you doubt on your own fantasy, others won’t appreciate it either. Self-trust and self-confidence is the prime step. Once you start writing, don’t stop yourself fearing if your idea is sellable or not, if others would like it or not. There are always risks in everything so take the risk and let your imagination fly out of your mind.
Your imagination should not have any strings pulling it back. It should take a flight like a bird, not like a kite. The worst chances are obviously the failure but that should never stop you from writing. It is not necessary that if one person doesn’t like your idea, others won’t. Every brain works differently. Some people find white not to be a colour, but some find happiness in white.
If you write something just because you want to make money out of it, trust me, it would always lack passion as the fear of failure would come through your words.
So always write when you are fearless!
Samreen Ahsan is an author of award-winning romance fiction, A Prayer Series, which include A Silent Prayer and A Prayer Heeded. She is a member of BestSelling Reads, and the winner of the Best Romance in 2014 Los Angeles Book Festival.
Follow Samreen on Twitter @samauthorcanada