Storytime: A writer must be read

I have so many posts in my drafts it’s overwhelming. Some of them are from April. The ideas are there, but the words won’t seem to flow.

I have a lot of creative ideas. I’ve been organizing the images from my trip to turkey in 2018 for the past month. At 1st I was going to do multiple slideshows, but that didn’t work out. I made one slideshow yesterday and it was nice but it took forever. I did some collages this morning but the templates I used needed internet and thankfully I got that for an hour.

I’m tired, I have a migraine, but I can’t sleep. YourHour app claims I’m obsessed with my phone. I’m afraid they may be right.

So many creative ideas and not enough time, energy, or internet to execute them. Yesterday I turned on my laptop to finish chapter 4 of my novella (I’m going to add another scene), but with only 1 hour of internet, I chose to work on my phone.

When your work demands promotion on social media, the line blurs between work and play. I sit now with the Quran next to me, closed, waiting to be read (I’m trying to make it a habit to read Quran 1st thing in the morning) but the thoughts are finally flowing here, so everything else can wait.

Writing for me is sometimes like exorcism, in the sense that if I don’t get the thoughts out, they possess me and I can’t think of anything else, or I completely forget about them, which to me is much worse.

I can’t tell you how many poems I thought of or began to write but was too busy to finish and that felt like creativity lost in the Bermuda triangle, never to be found again.

I sip on my coffee but eat nothing. I’ve been doing that lately, even though I know it’s unhealthy, but it’s better than eating carbs with my coffee. I’ve gained fat and it’s making me hate myself and my body. I keep saying I need to go on a diet.

Why am I wasting time and energy on collages and slideshows of the pictures we took in Turkey? Because the end result makes me happy, and when I share with my family, it makes them happy too. But shouldn’t I be using that time and creativity to promote my books and work on finishing translating one of my books to Arabic? Probably.

I’ve been getting migraines on and off for a week. I would say it’s because of the change of weather, but I know it’s because I haven’t been sleeping well. I stay up until 1 am, sometimes 3 am, and I wake up at 9 am now, except for some days like today, I wake up at 5 am. I wish I could tell you I wake up, exercise, meditate, etc. I wake up and stay on my phone until my arms hurt and my neck spasms.

I watched a movie called Game Night yesterday. Loved it. Totally recommend. I’m wasting my time with movies too. It helps my mood. I also recently watched The Wife, and something they said in the movie hit deep. If you’re a writer, I recommend you watch the movie. It’s about an author and his wife.

Here is the scene from the movie that struck a chord:

“Did you hear that? That’s the sound of a book that’s never been opened”.

“But a writer must write”.

“No, a writer must be read”.

I have published 10 books so far, and some of them have zero sales so far. How am I to perfect my work if nobody is reading my books and giving me feedback? How am I to fulfill my purpose, to inspire and motivate, if my books are not being read?

I thought my purpose was to write, but if that were true, why does my heart skip a beat when I see the views on my blog skyrocket (like they did yesterday, thank you very much, I appreciate it), and why does my heart sink when a day goes by with only 12 views?

A writer must write, but a writer is not a writer without their readers.

I can’t thank you enough for reading my blogs. You make my day. I don’t get paid for my blogs. I write for me. I write for you.

Please check out my books on Amazon and buy one, or more if you can. Or if you have kindle unlimited, go ahead and read my books for free. Also, don’t forget to check out my novella. Read chapters 1, 2, and 3 but wait for chapter 4 while I add another scene. I don’t know when but soon.

I’m going out with my family today, so that should be fun. I feel like I haven’t been fun to be around lately so I’m trying to change that. My tolerance has become subzero. It’s the whole “people: can’t live with them, can’t live without them, debacle”.

I’m read Quran and I’m off to exercise now. Cheerio.

Chapters 3 and 4 of my novella are out! Read them for FREE

In June 2021, I published the 1st chapter of my novella “Tony and Sandra: A story of love, loss, and healing”. I’ve never written a novella before, which is why this is so hard for me.

A novella is a short novel. I wrote the outline and I have a lot of the details on paper, but I’m having trouble letting the words flow into chapters.

In July, I published the 2nd chapter of the novella, and it wasn’t until today that inspiration struck, and out came chapter 3 (and half of chapter 4, but I can’t publish that until it’s complete).

Anyway, you can click on the highlighted words to read chapter 1, chapter 2, and chapter 3 of Tony & Sandra: A story of love, loss, and healing. Enjoy. Let me know what you think!

You can also find the blog posts in which I talked about the novella here:

https://stayathomemom495.wordpress.com/2021/07/23/check-out-my-kindle-vella-chapters-1-and-2-for-free/


https://stayathomemom495.wordpress.com/2021/07/02/help-i-still-need-150-words-at-least/


https://stayathomemom495.wordpress.com/2021/06/23/i-need-your-help-to-finish-the-chapter/

https://stayathomemom495.wordpress.com/2021/04/20/read-the-1st-chapter-of-my-1st-novella/

The 1st 3 chapters are free, but chapters 4 through 10 will need tokens to unlock.

Update: I published chapter 4 of my novella today. Be sure to check it out!

September Sale just for you!

1st of all, hello and welcome September! I’m so excited! My favorite season of the year is Autumn, and my favorite month is October (not just because it’s my birthday month) because September is still a bit hot and in November, it starts to get cold. October has the perfect weather. A little bit of sunshine, a little bit of rain, the perfect balance of nature.

Since I’m so happy today, and not just because one of my sons baby teeth fell out today (the 3rd one so far), but also because Fall is in the air, I decided to give you all a special surprise.

Starting today, all my books on Amazon are available on kindle unlimited for FREE for the next 90 days!

Kindle unlimited is the premium version of kindle, which is an app where you can buy and read ebooks on Amazon. The nice thing about kindle unlimited is that for just 10$ a month, you can read any book that is enrolled in kindle select for free. So instead of paying for each of my books, you can pay 10$ and read them all. Isn’t that awesome?!

Register now for kindle unlimited if you’re not registered already, and you can read all my books for just 10$ a month! Don’t forget to let me know when you read my books. I would love to know your feedback!

Just click here to go to my author page where you will find all my books on Amazon.

What I want to achieve by 40

I don’t have a 10 year plan. Not even a 1 year plan. I make monthly goals and weekly plans and daily to do lists.

However, last night I listened to a podcast by Joey Kidney and it inspired me to think about where I want to be in 10 years.

https://castbox.fm/vb/369821723

My goal is not to be a millionaire or to own a fancy car or a mansion. I want enough money to be able to buy gifts for my friends and give charity regularly. I mean my own independent money, not my husband’s.

I currently have 10 books on Amazon. I want 20 books on Amazon and I want one of them to be a best seller.

Part of me wants freedom and independence and to travel more, but I know it’s not realistic, and part of me wants another child so my son has someone to play with (he keeps requesting a baby boy) but I don’t know what God has in store for me.

I turn 30 in a month and looking back 10 years ago, my life was completely different. I was in 4th year of university, studying for a degree I hated, and I failed a subject because I was sick when I took the test. I was also bad at Pharmacology. I had no idea that 10 years later, I would be married, with a 6-year-old son, a blog, a podcast, and 10 books on Amazon!

At the time, my 10-year plan was to finish my Ph.D. in pharmacy and teach at a university. After graduating, I worked in a pharmacy for 2 months and hated it, then worked as a tutor for 3 months before getting married and continuing my master’s degree. I wasn’t able to continue my Ph.D. because it involved travel and as a married woman with a baby to a traditional Lebanese man, travel was out of the question. I put my whole life on hold for 4 years (I don’t regret it for a minute) before I published my 1st book. My friends and brother encouraged me to go for it.

That’s why I don’t make 10-year plans because my life went in a completely different direction than I had planned. So will one of my books become a bestseller? I don’t know.

We are in the middle of a pandemic, the economy is falling in many parts of the world, and Lebanon is in shambles. The future does not seem bright. I’m trying to get freelance jobs, but it’s so hard to find jobs online with no electricity. The farthest I’m looking is going to Turkey to blow off some steam and spend my savings because why not.

Life is pretty hectic here and I’m doing everything I can to ground myself and live, love and laugh. I’m reading, writing, listening to music and podcasts, reading Quran, playing with my son, practicing mindfulness and gratitude, etc.

What do you want to achieve in 10 years?

Statistics

Do you ever feel alone, like you don’t belong? I feel like that a lot. However, I love statistics. I use them to track my personal growth. Personal growth and maturity can’t really be measured but I measure how often I brush my teeth, shower, exercise, sleep by 11 pm, read Quran, etc. I feel left out quite often. After living in Lebanon for 22 years, I still don’t fit in. I don’t stand out either. But I find solace in my internet friends. I have real friends too, but I barely see them. Some I haven’t seen in years, because they live abroad.

So let me try to label myself and google the statistics of each label, in an attempt to feel less alone.

I’m a human. World population in mid 2020 was 7,772,850,162

I’m a Muslim. 24.1% of the world population are Muslims. Hello, all my fellow brothers and sisters in Islam. If you’re a Muslim and you read this, comment below! Also hello to all my non-Muslim friends. I respect our differences.

I’m bilingual. Over 50% of the population speak at least 2 languages fluently. If you are bilingual, then you know the struggle is real! From forgetting words in either language to being unable to form a sentence without using both languages in the same sentence, and so much more!

I’m a mom. There are an estimated 2 billion mothers in the world. I salute all the mothers out there. Single, married, widowed, adopting moms, moms who lost a child or had a miscarriage, and those who are moms at heart but are unable to have children. You’re all superstars!

I’m a stay-at-home mom. While 71% of moms do work outside of the home, 29% are staying home. Being between 4 walls is tough. Don’t forget to exercise, hydrate, go outside, take a break, hide in the bathroom, eat ice cream, etc. Working moms as well!

I’m a writer. There are over 1 million freelance writers globally. There is a writing community on Twitter. Follow the hashtag #writingcommunity and give each other a #writerslift. This hack did wonders for me. It made me feel at home on Twitter. Writers do think alike.

I’m a blogger. To date, there are more than 500 million blogs out of 1.7 billion websites in the world. Their authors account for over 2 million blog posts daily. So if you’re reading my blogs, out of all the content out there, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This blog is the only place where I can be myself and talk about my thoughts and feelings. Nobody cares that I contradict myself or change my mind according to my mood, and I’m congratulated for being so self-aware and open about my feelings here. This blogging community is my support system. My family and friends don’t even read my blogs. At least most of them don’t.

I have a podcast. There are currently over two million podcasts and more than 48 million podcast episodes. If you listen to my podcast, thank you so much! Your support is very much appreciated.

I’m married. Only 4.3 percent worldwide are married! That is such a low number. Maybe they included children and widows and divorced people in the population? I know that 50% of marriages end in divorce, so every year I remain married, I pat myself on the back for remaining patient. Not that I condemn divorces. If you’re not happy in your marriage or your spouse is abusive physically or emotionally or cheated or for any reason, you feel you can’t endure your marriage, you have every right to divorce. But for me because of my specific situation, a divorce would be a hasty decision born from anger and ending in regret and heartbreak. So far I’m okay in my marriage and I’m working on making it thrive rather than just survive. Married people, how long have you been married, and do you have any advice for me?

I suffer from anxiety. The prevalence of anxiety disorders across the world varies from 2.5 to 7 percent by country. Anxiety isn’t something I flaunt. I own it because it explains why my body is so sensitive to stress, but it’s not an excuse not to work on my self improvement. Since the pandemic, my anxiety has gotten much worse. I can even feel that I have changed with my family, my in laws, my friends. I’m more withdrawn and it seems like I’m in a bad mood or bored all the time when I’m just anxious and trying to breathe.

I get bouts of depression. More than 264 million people suffer from depression worldwide. (World Health Organization, 2020)

I think that’s enough statistics for now. I feel less alone already, and yet I feel so special. This encouraged me to work on being a better and kinder person, because it’s not about fitting in or being liked. I used to be so sweet and helpful. As much as I appreciate my internet friends, I need real life family and friends to survive. I’m already working on my marriage, and I called my mom today. I’m going to make an effort to build bridges with my in laws again. I don’t know if it’s true or my anxiety telling me they don’t like me, so wish me luck.

Storytime: You always have a choice

As I sit here, with no electricity (they are removing it 10 hours a day in my area, while other areas don’t get electricity for 48 hours in a row sometimes), just reading blog posts to pass the time until the electricity comes in an hour, I ponder on a few things.

I had a spirit lifting conversation with a friend today. We spoke for hours and I only had to go because I needed to heat my lunch in the microwave before the electricity went off. For reasons beyond my control, I no longer have wifi when there is no electricity. It would have helped a lot of I did, but on the bright side, it helps me leave my phone a bit (not for long obviously since I end up playing candy crush and reading blogs. I can read saved blog posts offline but I can’t click like so I will not un save them until I have clicked like).

A few of the things I could be doing if there was wifi right now are:

  • Create Canva designs of parts of my book “The best advice to improve yourself and your relationships” and post them on Instagram and Twitter.
  • Gather links of my podcast into a blog post (my podcast is now available on Spotify, Anchor, Breaker, Radio Public, and Google Podcasts).
  • Start translating my book “The best advice to improve yourself and your relationships” into Arabic.
  • Make a few TikTok videos of my time in Turkey in 2019.

Besides the situation I’m in (feeling creative but not being able to work due to no electricity or wifi), I’m sleepy. I haven’t been eating well or sleeping well lately. I think I may be stressed out. I don’t know if it’s because of the situation in Lebanon or from being at home too much or my issues with my family or the problems some of my family members are going through and I can’t do anything to help, or maybe it’s my marriage issues, or my hormones, or the heat.

Truth is, I can blame my lack of self care on any of these things and it wouldn’t matter. The result is the same. I’m feeling anxious, lathergic, erratic, I either overeat or don’t eat enough. I stay up late reading novels, sometimes all night. I’m not taking care of myself. I need to do better.

One thing my friend told me today:

“You always have a choice”.

These feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are not an excuse to self destruct.

I have a choice to sleep early, to put my phone aside at bedtime (I did just that last night but only because my phone battery was 17% and the charger is too far from the bed).

I can choose to eat healthy food (I have been occasionally eating more fruit but I also ate a lot of junk food on Monday and tuesday).

I can choose to not let the little things in my marriage bother me, to let them go, to have compassion and tolerance. Some things I need to fight for but I can’t change anyone. I can only change my perception, my reaction.

So as soon as the wifi is on, this post will get published, and I will do what I said I would do. Until then, I choose to read blog posts instead of playing candy crush.

Self-reflection Sunday: Deep conversation topics part 10

Hello and welcome to my blog! I didn’t have wifi all weekend, so this post is a day late. I also had a crazy day today. I almost lost my number. Long story, but let’s do some self reflection, even though Sunday is over.

Deep Conversation Topics:

10. What have you been most proud of learning lately?

I’m proud of how much I’ve learned in terms of learning to market my books. I kept telling myself it’s nothing, but now my sisters, who have opened brand shops on redbubble, are coming to me for marketing advice. I’m giving them tips about hashtags and how often to post and which social media platform is best to promote your products. I’m surprised at how much I know. I still need to learn and apply much more to get my books to sell, but I’m working hard on it. I made an author page, I’m promoting my books on Twitter and Instagram. I’m even trying to mention them on the blog as much as possible. It’s funny how I work much harder on my blog, which is free, than on my books, which are for sale.

What about you?

What I’m working on

Hello and welcome to my blog! How are you doing today? It’s amazing how wordy I get once my creativity isn’t trapped in themes, but themes are important for the organization of my blog. Nobody wants to read incoherent thoughts and all over the place ideas.

Today I thought I’d share what I’ve been working on, not just in terms of writing, but in all of my goals. There are also things I want to work on but my plate is too full. I will tell you what I want to work on but can’t, to get it out of the way.

If you have been reading my blogs, you’ll know that the 1st 2 chapters of my kindle Vella are out, and I want to write at least 3 more chapters, but I’m working on so many other things. It’s frustrating because I already wrote the outline for the entire book, and I even reread the outline a few days ago and was immediately inspired to write chapter titles for the rest of the book. It’s the details I choke on. The details are what make a book. Focusing on the 5 senses to make your reader feel like they are in the book, perhaps even make them feel like the main character. Then there is the description of scenes and items and the sunrise and such. I need to clear my head to write this novella. It doesn’t help that I lack the confidence to write it. It took me 9 years of writing poetry to begin publishing my poetry books. And even now, I still feel cringe about my older poems. I have only recently begun publishing self-help books, but only because they were highly appreciated on the blog. Talking about myself has always been easy, so the autobiographies (though I had to censor most of them and strip them down from most of their content to protect my family’s privacy) were easy to write. But I’ve never written fiction before. This is hard, but it is something I must do, but it’s on the bottom of my priorities though I feel most passionate about it.

Now let me tell you what I have been working on to distract myself from the crisis in Lebanon and to control my anxiety and depression:

Healthwise, the goal is to take more walks, exercise daily, drink 1 L of water a day, go to sleep at 11 pm, eat fruits and veggies daily, shower 4 times a week, brush my hair 4 times a week, and brush my teeth daily.

So far I’ve reached my goal in showering and brushing my hair, so as you can tell, I have a lot of work to do.

As parenting goes, I’m trying to spend one on one time with my son, even if it is just for 5 minutes. I’m also supposed to be studying with him the rest of his kg3 curriculum before he heads on to the 1st grade.

We made a boredom jar 2 weeks ago, and we are doing various activities, from board games to play-doh to blindfolding him and having him feel and taste food and guess what it is. We even did word searches and “All about me” collages. Sadly, he wants me to do these activities with him, and lately, I’ve been exhausted and restless. My son isn’t driving me crazy, but I’m emotionally tapped out. As for studying, his going to camp and karate classes are making him tired and in the afternoon, my mental abilities are shot, so we only have Friday to study since Saturday and Sunday are family days.

Spiritually, I’m working on my prayers and reading Quran.

Financially, the goal is simply to stop spending all my money on junk food.

The prices have solved that for me. Prices are 10 times the prices they were a year ago.

Socially, as I have noticed myself being withdrawn, even from my family, I planned on texting 2 friends a day, calling a friend per week, calling my grandma once a week, and visiting my grandma once a month.

I’m trying, but I’m not there yet. I still feel like avoiding everyone while craving social connection.

My reading goals are simply to read blogs whenever I can and read from a book or pdf book daily.

I’m trying not to think of how many books I have to read but focus on one book at a time. It’s working. Yesterday I finished one of the books I was reading.

Finally, my writing goals can be divided into 2: working on my books (editing existing books to unpublish and republish, typing new books, promoting published books by creating canva designs and posting on Instagram and Twitter), and working on my blogs (writing blogs and creating canva designs for the cover photos).

So far so good.

Of course, I’m not even writing housework as part of my goals. I keep track of the housework I do on my calendar but I can’t add it to the list of 22 goals because that would be too overwhelming.

My ultimate goal is to create a balance between my mind, body, and soul. I want to thrive as a mother and as a writer while keeping myself happy and healthy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t! (comment below if you have seen the movie legally blonde)

What are you currently working on?

Motivational Monday: Cheesy motivation

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to this motivational Monday which, unfortunately, will be the last one. I began this theme to motivate and inspire you to overcome the Monday blues. The daily reminders were too short and so I would gather motivational phrases sent to me throughout the week and compile them into one post and elaborate on them. But those became redundant. It’s the same thing. Love yourself. Believe in yourself. I felt outdated and cliche.

There will still be themed posts on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. All other days, I may or may not post and it won’t be themed. Some may be how-to posts. Others will be storytime types. A few will be promos for my books (speaking of which, Motherhood in poems in on sale now so hurry up and get it).

Anyway, here is some cheesy motivation:

Trust yourself, accept your challenges, and dig deep inside yourself to conquer your fears.

Let nobody ever bring you down.

You must keep going. You must persist.

Have self-respect, and compassion, and patience.

You can deal with anything that comes your way.

You can always count on hope and love.

Take it easy on yourself. Your worth is not determined by how far you have progressed.

Any small victory should be celebrated.

Forget about the pain of the setbacks, but remember the lessons they taught you.