For the Love of It

Dear beautiful, wonderful, loyal readers,

You have been with me through so many ups and downs in my writing life. It honestly wouldn’t have been the same without you by my side.

I have been writing for over three years now and have pretty much fallen in love with the whole process; writing, connecting with the online writing community, the excitement of reading new work by such amazingly talented people, and sharing my joy of creative writing with my students keeps me going. 

If I think of the trajectory my mind and body took when I began this journey, I am truly astonished. I began with a huge peak at the beginning of 2018- starting a blog, getting invited to a Penguin publishing event and getting a book deal. I could’ve stopped right there. But the funny thing is- success can be deceptive.

Yes, I started this blog. But I had to be reminded to not constantly check the stats. To not second-guess what people were thinking according to the numbers I got. Of course, they fluctuated. I had to continue no matter what. It’s funny- it’s exactly what I teach the other creative souls now over on Facebook. But more about that later. I’m jumping ahead.

Yes, I got invited to a publishing event, and met with a Penguin editor who said very encouraging words about my WIP (Work In Progress), but I didn’t get through as a finalist and therefore didn’t come back with a publishing deal.

Yes, I got a publishing deal with a fantastic independent Muslim Publisher but the end was nowhere in sight as I had been asked to overhaul my blog posts in order to turn them into a proper book. I was also told by my mentor that people rarely made a lot of money selling books! There was still a long way to go!

So, even though I was on this path of writing and making my dreams come true, it wasn’t the dream I wanted for myself. Even though I was preaching the message

Do What You Love

Rumi

and I was doing it (writing), there was something missing – money! I wanted to make enough so that I had time to write. I wanted to make enough to be abe to give up my ( part-time) day job.

But what I learnt at the Penguin event was that writers rarely made enough money to give up their day jobs. That writers who had day jobs generally had a lot more to write about! Interesting! And probably very true. Writers like other artists were poor and they suffered for their art. Hmm. I had to remind myself teaching Maths was not suffering. Ha ha. I pushed through.

Anyhow, let’s fast-forward to Lockdown (March 2020) because in between I continued to write but also put it on the back-burner. Despite the steep incline when I first began, I was reaching a plateaux. I continued writing and loving writing in the background while life went on.

Then Lockdown inspired me to pursue my dreams of giving up my ‘day job’ once again. It’s not that I didn’t love teaching. Maybe it was the subject?

Don’t get me wrong. I love teaching Maths because I enjoy the moment when something clicks and the student is suddenly able to complete the work they had once found so difficult. I enjoy teaching the philosophy that Maths is fun and that practice makes perfect. But I felt that Maths didn’t really align with my writing goals.

That’s why this Summer I began a freelance writing course and founded an online writing community called Inkspiration. This community seeks to celebrate female writers and encourages support through the inevitable ups and downs of a creative life.

It has now grown to include a new strand- Inkspiration: The Young Writers’ Club, of which I now teach five weekly classes. This idea has really taken off, and I’m enjoying sharing tips and tricks that I’ve gleaned over the years with the next generation via Zoom! 

Now I’m teaching Creative Writing and yes, you’ve guessed it! I teach women and children to write and make mistakes. And to continue no matter what because that’s where the fun is.

Freelance writing is going amazingly well and, as icing on the cake, I have joined Mud Season Review as a reader of Creative Non Fiction 

Click banner to visit the site.

where I conducted an interview with the awesome author Joumana Talal.

Click photo to read interview.

and then I joined The Remnant Archive as a Non Fiction Editor.

Not only do I read, I discuss and critique submissions with members of the team, I also give editing suggestions and feedback to our writers when required.

I’m very pleased to say I have a few wonderful regular clients whom I really enjoy working for and I also believe in their brand and the massage which they want to send out to the world. While looking for freelance writing job, so many dry and soulless jobs came up, so I know it’s something to be grateful for when the message resonates and the work goes from dry to meaningful.

All in all it’s going well! Only last week, I managed to land a contract with Ladybird Education, Penguin! 

In addition to this, today I have just found out that I’ve been nominated for the Muslimah Blogger awards 2020 in 3 categories!

If you click the link you’ll be able to vote for me! Wow. When it rains, it pours, right?

Like I said, maybe the trajectory of this path wasn’t as I hoped it would be. If I see it how it is, it’s better! So I guess this is a post to say don’t give up! And that my previous stance stands as true as ever-

Do What You Love

Rumi

and…

Stay Close to That Which Makes You Glad You’re Alive…

Rumi

As always, my message is to stay close to your Higher Power, keep your faith strong and do your best. After that try to accept whatever comes your way with a whole lot of gratitude.

The amazing thing is that when you do it all for the sake of your Higher Power, there is an unparalleled alignment in your life goals too! It all sits in place and makes sense. Even my children can see now, why I spent so long on one thing, stubbornly refusing to move forward until I made something of it. And I’m so glad I did.

Another piece of excellent news came to me today and that is that my book, ‘Finding Peace Through Prayer and Love’ is due to officially come out on the 1st January 2021. It will be available on some websites before that so watch this space for information on that.

That’s all from me today folks.

Peace & Love….

I’d just like to end this post with a tribute to how I always used to end it. For 3 things I’m grateful for, and a nod to enoughism. This attitude of gratitude has helped me through so many of life’s tests.

Right now we’re in the middle of a house move. And have been in this middle-ground for over nearly three months! We’ve moved to temporary accommodation and will be moving again soon. That’s right- three months of living out of boxes and sleeping on the floor. What’s made me super grateful is actually the fact that I read ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ before we moved. No, honestly. The plight of the refugees, the mother who lost her son and her sight and so much more, struck a chord in me. So what if we have to live it ‘rough’ for a bit? At least:

1. We are all healthy and together and not refugees!!! We have a stable roof over our heads and foods in our bellies. Praise the Lord!

2. There is an end in sight.

3. The third thing I’m grateful for is being able to pass down tips and tricks from my writing journey to the next generation. I love seeing their eyes light up

– What? Even professional writers make mistakes? I can’t believe it

– I don’t have to be a good speller to tell a good story? That’s incredible!

The most heart-warming part is when the children show me the writing they’ve completed in their own time.

When I get a chance I’ll upload the Sunflower poem and the alliterative poem about our beloved Messenger ﷺ in the shape of a green sandal! Give me a nudge if you’re reading this and would like to see it!

Right, I hope I haven’t kept you too long from your daily tasks. I hope you’ve found this post interesting and helpful. As always, I’d like to remind you to surround yourself with like-minded people. Those who will celebrate your wins and keep you going when you’re having a hard time. You can’t change your life on your own, but when you have people by your side, you can change the world.

I keep saying I have to go now, but this time I’m really going to go. Please keep me in your blessed thoughts. Pray that the book does well. I’m a little unsure about how, where (Zoom?) , when (1st Jan?), this book launch should take place.

Should I have it as a public or private thing? Any comments, pieces of advice would be well-received! Thank you for your unending love and support.

Take care, stay strong, be good, remember your Higher Power! There is a reason behind everything. And one last reminder, don’t worry, don’t despair because:

What You Seek Is Seeking You!

Rumi

Peace & Love,

Sidra Ansari

P.S Like I said, I’m writing for blogs now so if you need any content or copywriting for your business needs then do get in touch.

I’m also ghostwriting so if you need a hand with a book you’d like to write then also get in touch!

If you’re on Facebook and would like to join our creative writing community, I’d love to welcome you. You don’t have to want to write a book or even have an idea. It’s a group for encouraging a woman to be creative and to make time to express yourself through writing, whenever you get a chance.

If you’d like your child to join my creative writing sessions, do get in touch for a free trial. Although I have to warn you, spaces are very limited at the moment so act fast!

Another thing- please don’t forget to vote– it’ll mean a lot to me! Thank you! Bye now! Fi AmanAllah!

Published by Sidra Ansari

Hi, I'm Sidra Ansari, author, freelance writer and teacher. I have recently written a book called Finding Peace Through Prayer and Love, published by Beacon Books. Check it out on Amazon! Recorded Writing courses that you can enjoy in your own time will be available on LoveLearningonline.com soon! In the meantime, why not look me up on Medium? Don't forget to sign up to my blog to keep in touch receive regular updates. Do get in touch if you have a non-fiction project for me. I have experience both writing and editing. Get in touch for a free consultation. Peace and love x

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