When I was 12, I thought I was a writer. I had such confidence in my little self that would lie on the cold ridged floor of our spare room holding an all-in-one giant version of Lord of the Rings. I even made a little notebook and wrote a whole manuscript, and then dumped it later when I first met the critic inside me (something every writer/artist learns is an invariable part of themselves).
At 20, this resolve wavered. There had been so much to study over the last few years and anyway, how did one get an agent or a publisher? Did such thing exist in Pakistan? Did I need one? Did anyone in Pakistan even read SFF, or was I the only geek? These questions were too overwhelming and college was too preoccupying.
At 25, in between mothering and pursuing my career as an artist with only one story published, I thought to myself: I’m not good enough to be a writer, let me just set that aside. Plus, I had moved to Jeddah where the English publishing scene (let alone the SFF genre scene) was so bad that I missed Pakistan.
At 29, I won the Salam Award for a story that poured out of me. Irresistibly. I was astonished. Thrilled. Confused. I decided to take a crack at reopening a part of myself time had soldered shut. And I discovered that the contemporary writing world is a battleground filled with tactically superior generals. I discovered that there were many doors in, and while not all of them were easy to open, sometimes people could let you in. Above all, I discovered that writing was not a binary talent. It was something people honed over years and and years.
So I have spent the first have of a locked down 2020 teaching myself a lot. I’ve been reading, I’ve been writing terribly yet profusely. I’ve even been submitting and facing rejection like a boss.
I’ve had some minor success I’m not ready to share yet. Soon though. And maybe in a couple of years I’ll have something major. There’s all the time in the world though, because this time, I’m not going to give up.