Thursday, August 06, 2009

Thoughts on leaping

When standing at the start of one's journey the destination can seem far away but moving one step at a time you realize that in a blink of an eye you've arrived. My "dream job" ends on 09/09/09 and I'm leaving. It's not due to lack of funding or a different legal opportunity. Many raise their eyes when I explain this as though I've told them I'm running off to join the circus or have renamed myself Eileen Wigwam. It might seem strange to leave a job and not replace it with another W-2 generating job. For some time I stayed quiet about my reasons, and to those I've admitted it to, I feel my cheeks flame up with embarrassment. It seems so presumptuous, so risky that sharing makes me shy, but no more. As the months dwindle to weeks which surely will trickle to mere days, I think its time to share since this blog has always been a place where I share my dreams.

If you've been reading my blog for some time you know that beyond my dream of "dream job" or teaching a deeper dream has always resided, one I've agonized over for years. I've wanted to be a writer. When I was young I would write with abandon all the time, in math class, and while television buzzed in the background. As I grew older I found out how hard it was to actually get published much less have a career as a writer so I pushed away the dreams of English majors and creative writing courses for an education degree and eventually law school. Sure, I still freelanced from time to time for newspapers, and magazines, and I have kept up this blog for going on five years now, but the writing that I dreamed of, the novel writing, I felt too intimidated to begin. Each time I considered putting pen to paper the nasty little muse that resides in all of our heads that chuckles when we dream of things that require some risk whispered really? Forget it! Not happening!

This nasty muse suffocated my writing for years until one day as I sat in my bedroom poised to pen a blog entry the idea hit me with the force of lightening on still water. I saw her. I knew what she looked like, the room she sat in, and what she felt. That day I began writing without any worries of future publication or reviews from disgruntled Amazon reviewers. I just wrote because the story needed to be told and it appeared I was entrusted to tell it.

This was three years ago and today after countless revisions and second guessing I'm done. Seasoned authors and close friends have provided insight and I've incorporated them to the best of my ability. I've begun researching agents who publish in my genre and I am now ready to write my query letters and consider sending my little one who I poured my heart into for three years [but cradled in my heart for many more] into the huge stark world of potential rejection. I'm leaving my job to query this novel and write the next one that is drafted and sitting patiently waiting for me to finish it.

Leaving my job was not an easy decision. I've held a paying job since I turned 16 years old and the prospect of not earning a paycheck fills me with second guessing hesitations, but there is a single image that fuels me on to take this year off to see if my writing can amount to anything publishable and that is the realization that I really believe I was meant to write and I was meant to pen novels. Perhaps these novels are meant to be written but never published, but I deserve it to my dream to see it through and know the answer. In some ways I'm scared to see the dream through because there is comfort in dreaming. If I fail, then what? A dream I've cultivated since I learned how to put pen to paper will shatter. It's scary to go down the road because the road may be open but may also just as easily be barricaded shut. My rationale is: it's best to know. It's time to know the answer however harsh or kind it may be.

I'm sure after a year off if this writing business does not work out, I will find a way to get back into the traditional work force and be okay. But I don't want to defer this dream. The biggest illusion life offers us is the sense that there will always be tomorrow to accomplish what we dream of today. I think I may have the ability. I certainly have the opportunity. Now its time to leap and let come what may.

22 comments:

pjf said...

oh my word!!!
i have been following your blog for only a year, but i'm so impressed with your dedication to your dream. Best of luck with publishing and with your writing!

Anonymous said...

Now this is what you call following your dream! I know you shall rock, Aisha - the very, very best of luck!!

Ash

mezba said...

I love what you are doing and as a long time reader will be one of the first to get the book when it's out! IA you will get it published and then never have to worry about paycheques!

Summer said...

Yay!! I am really excited for you and happy that you are following your dream. You can do it!

yasmine said...

oh, my goodness.
AISHA, YOU'RE AWESOME.
multiple exclamation points!!!!!!

i was smiling so widely once i got past the breath-holding suspense of the first paragraph and made it to the second one =)

i've loved your writing ever since i somehow found my way over to your veblog, and have been stalking you ever since, even though we know i suck at commenting.

but i wanted to say, you're a freakin' ROCKSTAR, and i'm so proud of you (for what it's worth). the writing you share here is amazing enough---i can't wait to see what you unleash on us in the form of novels!

perhaps it won't be all smooth and easy, but i'm already SO IMPRESSED with all that you've done so far---writing drafts, completing a book, researching agents, having a second book drafted on the backburner... you have a PLAN, and i KNOW you're going to make it happen.

after reading this post, i went back and re-read all your dream-job ones. that sounds like amazing work you were doing, too. but the best thing about life is, we are allowed more than one dream. and i highfive you for following and living all your dreams to the full.

(and i'm going to stop now, because your post---and my comment---is kinda making me a bit teary. shut up. i just have something in my eye.)

i hope you will write about your writing-process on the veblog, and thus grant us the privilege of following you on this journey.

Shawna said...

Good for you! Isha'Allah you will meet with rapid success. I share this dream. I'm jumping into my photography dream right now (I'll link to that site). My kids are so small I'd have to hire someone to watch them so I can write. I've been considering bringing them to Y childcare 2 times a week just so I can have some writing time. . .

Please keep us posted! I've always wanted to follow someone through the process. Maybe you could even share your agent resources (where you're looking--a book?) and your query letters? There's such a mystique to this whole process.

rickshawdiaries said...

Fantastic & inspiring, Aisha! Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

We'll all be rooting for you to succeed with your beautiful dream!

Love you,
Baraka

raniyas said...

I don't think you will fail. I think if you are consistent and keep working towards it and put lots of effort into something, then you cannot loose anything, but only gain something.. and I am sure you will. Do let us know when your book gets published, would love to buy it and read :-)

Anonymous said...

AOA: Setting a goal and striving to reach it with full vigor is starting point of success (success defined as achievement of your dream/s).
Journey has begun, your cheerleader is on the side to welcome you at the destination. KH-

Anonymous said...

go for it girl.u r awsome.

Aisha said...

PJF thanks for commenting with your words of encouragement. It means a lot :)

Ash, aw thanks so much! You've been reading my blog for so long and your encouragement counts more than you know!

Mezba, thank you....we've been reading each other forever so it means a lot to me your encouragement. here's to no more traditional work force.. Insh'Allah.

Thanks Summer :) We need to talk one of these days... its been a while and Ive been bad about it :(

Awwwww Yasmine, you're another one of the wonderful people that make me so happy to blog, you got me all emotional! Why you gotta do that?!?! :) Yes, I will definitely trail my process on this blog. It might be way more interesting than my law school posting days, lol. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and give me such amazing encouragement. I will need your words especially on the days I get the big fat no's :)

Shawna, please send me the link to your photography blog. That is AWESOME!!!! I will certainly post and write through the process of trying to get published. I hope you too will follow your dreams. I can understand with children its more challenging but I know you can do it. If you want immediate info on how I got the agents, etc, you can always e-mail me at aishacs @ gmail dot com and I'll be happy to share though I am still in the process of learning myself.

Thanks Baraka :) I need to call you soon!

Ami, Abu, thank you, as always, for everything.

Ben said...

What an amazing step to take in one's life. Congrats to you Aisha. I'm glad you've chosen a path driven by your dreams. Very few take such risks - but the potential for finding happiness is so worth it. Your adventure reminds me a bit of Frost -

"...and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

Americanising Desi said...

i m so looking forward to take steps into my dreams.. .
but a lot of hearts will be broken!
and that is what i have still been workin on!

Aisha said...

Ben, that is one of my FAVORITE poems. I first heard it when I was ten and its stuck with me ever since. I never made the connection before, thank you so much for bringing it to my attention.

AD, good luck!

mystic said...

Good luck !!...I mean it...

If you think, I can be of any help, you can reach me anytime...

Anonymous said...

Wow for having the courage to do this! As another long time lurker, I know you can do it, and I will be second in line for the book (the first being Mezba of course).

:)

Aisha said...

Mystic, thanks to you, one of my longest readers :)

Anon, thanks so much, I hope there will be a line to stand in one day ;)

rehtwo said...

GOOD LUCK! That is awesome. (Sorry that I can't be more eloquent...)

Aisha said...

thanks Rhetwo :) It means a lot!

Aamina said...

Good luck chasing your dreams Api :)

Wil Smith said...

Very Cool! Check off one more copy for me, probably another for my daughter. Be sure to keep us informed. Having enjoyed your writing and musings for some time now, I have no doubt anything you come up with will be a treat.

Shawna said...

my photo site is http://www.sunlitphoto.com/

iA I'll be updating my portfolio in the next week. I also have some work coming up alhumdulillah. It's no small thing to get photo work in this economy, so I'm very grateful.

If you ever want to do a fiction exchange, let me know. I'm working on a novel now scene by scene-because it is really hard to find the time or focus with little ones underfoot. Wouldn't change it though!

I'm still squeeing with excitement for you!

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