Life, Parenting, writing

WRITING RESOLUTIONS FOR 2018

I have a number of resolutions for this new year. Last year flew by and with it, a myriad of intentions and plans that snuck away in the middle of the daily grind. I imagined happy writing places in great detail to ensure I was mentally prepared to conquer any obstacle that wiggled its way into my ability to write regularly. My work spaces were set up with all the necessary tools within reach. I prepped my coffees, teas, and treats for missions accomplished. I was even blessed to have a number of planners and journals to keep me motivated and aware of my writing goals. The preparations were foolproof.

And even so, I failed miserably.

I wasn’t able to keep up a regular writing cycle. I mused and fell asleep. I wrote in my head and let the thoughts drift away before my fingers hit a keyboard. The bubbling soups, dinging laundry machines, and alarms signaling pick ups and drop offs were the roadblocks that kept my writing (and reading) at bay.

This year, I want to aim for less pomp and circumstance. I’ll have the essential keyboard and idea on hand and give it a whirl before thinking too much. I can squeeze out 10 minutes of solid writing time before my brain cells snooze and my fingers begin to slur the typed words.

January 2018 comes as a fresh, unblemished year. My writing goals can be crafted and re-crafted; the intents and purposes shifting with the seasons (or pseudo-seasons, as we have in Houston).

I thoroughly enjoy the idea of stereotypical writing dreamscapes. A corner in a cozy cabin warmed by a crackling fire or a busy coffee shop with a cup of joe next to a laptop. The rustle of papers accentuated by the striking of a freshly sharpened pencil or a large desk with billowing curtains overlooking a vast sea. All these images (and then some) hold a firmly nostalgic place in my writing life.

What I have in reality, though, is starkly different.

Five kids don’t leave many pencils freshly sharpened. Coffee shops weren’t made for a trio of toddlers and laptops don’t remain unmarred by sticky hands or spills for long. Seas equal beaches, which equal grains of sand stuck to your eyelashes, and cabin fireplaces…well you can only imagine the allergies.

So this year my resolution is to write with what I got, not what I dream of having. To pull up the big girl pants and get to work!

Some goals I’m going to keep in mind and keep me chugging along on the daily, weekly, and monthly:

  1. Daily writing – fiction, nonfiction, blogging, or articles
  2. Weekly reading – the goal, again this year, will be 50 books
  3. Weekly review of writing topics – make sure I have topics on hand when I get to sitting down and writing
  4. Monthly assessment of writing – do more of what’s working and toss out what’s not

Do you need a daily or weekly team to help you stay motivated and keep working toward your writing goals this year? Join the Daybreak Press Writing Circle on WhatsApp as a virtual support system and keep company with those who are walking a similar path. Join in at bitly.com/daybreakwritingcircle

Originally published on the Daybreak Press Blog 

Life, Nonprofit Life, Webinars

Social Media & Your Writing

Writers and book lovers have been using social media as a platform to establish a presence and gain more exposure for their work for years. This concept may seem intimidating to beginning writers or those who are nervous about displaying their creative work for such a wide and public platform. There are some essential ways to not only gain a level of comfort in what is being shared online, but also utilize social media as the perfect track to becoming part of the wider community of authors, poets, journalists, bloggers and more who are working together to raise their voices up through social media.

One of the most significant aspects of your writing identity online is your actual identity. There has always existed a phenomenon in which people felt it easier to share their work while hiding behind a pseudonym. For early female writers, using a male pen name made their work not only marketable, but accepted into a publishing house (S. E. Hinton, for example). This common practice may allow some safety for you to post whatever your heart desires without the fear of personal ramifications, but can limit your ability to validate and claim your work as your own – especially if you are interested in marketing yourself to a larger publishing company.

For those of us involved in the publishing process, the easier it is to ascertain who the person behind a specific piece of writing is, the easier it is for us to feature them on a platform where they can gain even more exposure for their work. Your readers and followers want to know who to applaud for your talent! Check out Platform: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World for ways to ensure you can make a mark on social media and build your own tribe of followers.

However little or much you know about social media is not a deal breaker. Having an account on popular platforms makes it easy to observe what fellow writer are up to. During NaNoWriMo, even Instagram is abuzz with pictures and motivational messages from writers who are busy making their manuscript dreams come true. Author Saadia Faruqi noted on the Daybreak Press Publishing Webinar that writing is a lonely business – so establishing a community and connecting with others who are in the same field is a huge help for those long, slow segments of time in which inspiration is low or the wait time to get published is longer than you had imagined. (Glaciers melt faster!)

To get started on a social media platforms and begin sharing your work, jump in with eyes wide open! Follow writers, publishers, and other people you find interesting and see what posts they have featured on their pages on a regular basis. You’ll notice that the good social media accounts not only display their work, but also include other information like where they get their inspiration, motivational tips, fellow authors and their book promotions, references to writing tools they’ve used, and even personal snippets of their everyday lives. You can mix, match, and decide where your comfort level lies when beginning your writing journey on social media.

 

Keep in mind some simple Do’s and Don’ts to help you along!

 

Do ENGAGE with other accounts while you post on your own.

Don’t just post or re-post something without a personal comment or connection

 

Do FIND writers in your niche or locality: there are plenty of people who can help you get feedback on your work and vice versa. Along with other local writers, you can create wonderful opportunities to network and grow together in writing groups, book clubs, and discussion circles.

Don’t forget to use tags and hashtags to connect your work to larger movements – if you notice there’s a significant day or moment that fits into your writing, connect to it with a hashtag.

 

Do PROVIDE catchy images and captions to go along your posts, especially on visual platforms like Instagram

Don’t assume all posts and pictures have to be your own – there are free stock images available online that can provide high quality pics for your posts.

 

Happy writing, everyone!

 

Originally published on the Rabata Daybreak Press Blog

Webinars

Getting Out There!

Wow! I had an incredible morning with the Daybreak Press Marketing Webinar. It felt so awesome to share my skill set with women of different writing backgrounds who wanted to further establish their ability to share their magic with the world. Check out my Twitter feed for some memorable quotes & help me give kudos to the special ladies I was honored to present with – Tayyaba Syed, Umm Juwayriyah, Jenny Triplett & emcee extraordinaire Najiyah Maxfield!

Literary Conference

#GetLit

Literary Conference Time!

3 years ago, one conversation sparked a crazy idea.

A conference of Muslim women writers and authors. Academics, novelists and more. Pioneering into a gateway of literature, branding themselves as women of faith through their names, themes and literary identities.

The Daybreak Press Annual Muslim Women’s Literary Conference was born.

Our first year was held at the George Memorial Library in Houston, TX. Then, the University of Houston. Both times, women took the podium to talk about taking back our narrative. They spoke passionately, voices mixing into the pulsating vibes of academia, weaving through towering shelves of books and landing on eager minds.

70 days to go until our 3rd conference. We’ll be back again at the University of Houston. Ready to tackle conversations of culture, politics, race and gender. Ready to take back our narratives as women of faith. Ready to share the word and help raise women’s voices.

See our highly esteemed panel list and secure your seat at HERE