Writing Through Tough Times


For those of you who do not know me, allow me to introduce myself. I’m a 25 year-old girl, born in Ukraine, raised in Lebanon and currently live in the United States. It’s amazing how I ended up here, incredulous even. A major event pushed me to go, but a series of minor, seemingly inconsequential incidents made it all possible. I couldn’t be more proud of where I am today. After all, since the age of seven, it has been my dream to come to the States and become a writer. I’m living my lifelong dream, or getting there. But things were not easy for me even after I got here.

I came to the US with very little savings, I didn’t know anybody, and had no paying job. I faced challenged with my paperwork, I was homesick, I had no friends, and above all else, I was living in a very tight apartment in a bad neighborhood. But in spite of all that, I was able to write. I wrote a novel start to finish (amongst other things). And here’s how I did it.

1. Let My Decision Ignite Me

Before I moved to the US, I had a nice, private space set up for writing: a wooden desk facing the window, a comfortable chair, organized drawers and the company of furry, purring creatures. When I moved here, it was nothing like that. The room was messy, I had no privacy, the foldable table hurt my knees so I had to get rid of it, the chair hurt my behind so I had to resort to sitting on the bed, and I couldn’t even open the windows for fear that somebody would break into the apartment if they saw a laptop.

They say that every success begins with a decision to try. This is something I always keep in mind whenever I face a new challenge or embark on a new journey. Needless to say, I was living outside my comfort zone. But I knew that if I didn’t write, if I didn’t at least try, then I would have come all the way across the world for nothing. So the decision was made.

2. I Made a Plan to Guide Me

To be honest, I’m not much of a planner. I never make detailed plans, merely guidelines, and my plans change all the time. So in this case, I also found a compromise between strictness and complete chaos. I made a schedule. I allotted time for writing, gym, food, breaks and set a time to stop writing and just enjoy the rest of my day. There was a daily word-count goal and I reached it most of the time. But I will talk about the steps I took to finishing a novel in one month in a later post.

but its hard

3. I Let My Passion Drive Me

A decision and a plan are nothing without action. And taking action is demanding, especially when you have to do it on daily or weekly basis. No matter how much you try to change the way you write, the place you write, and the things you’re writing about, there will be a time when you’ll feel stuck in the routine. And nothing gets you out of the routine like the passion to do whatever it is you’re doing.

Fortunately for me, the book I was working on was very dear to my heart—and still is. It was the first thing I thought about when I opened my eyes and the last thing on my mind before I went to bed. So when I started writing early in the morning, I found it difficult to stop. Even when I was exhausted, even when I was stymied, the story was always on my mind. If not writing, I was taking notes, thinking up characters—and characters’ demises. My passion for my book overshadowed all the distress I was going through. And before I knew it, the book was done.

4. I Let My Discomfort Fuel Me

The good thing about discomfort is that it makes us appreciate the things we take for granted. I didn’t have much, but I had more at one point in my life and I thought that I’d never lose it. Now, I know better than to take anything for granted, even the light of day or the freshness of air; it could all be gone in any second. Things can change but then again can we.

Instead of reminiscing over my lovely desk and furry buddies, I started looking ahead to how I wanted my life to be. My goal was to get out of that situation, to start climbing back up after a hard fall. I was not going to let my circumstances decide my output. Instead, I was going to let my output change my circumstances.

lemons life

5. I Stayed Focused on the Destination

Let’s compare the road to success to the actual road. You can walk the road, crawl, hop on one leg, jog, run, zigzag or even slide sideways, but no matter what you will be doing two things: moving your legs and using your head. And eventually you will realize that all those fancy methods are a waste of time.

Driven by passion and fueled by ordeals, all was left for me was to do the legwork and finish the book. So I sat in a little corner, on an uncomfortable chair, amongst the chaos, in the heat, surrounded by my notebooks and thoughts and I wrote. And when I wrote, all my surroundings faded, all the ghosts of tragedy found the light, and all that was left was the sound of my fingertips dancing on the keyboard.

As you noticed, I used automotive analogies to headline the steps I took, which should tell you that I am still desperately craving a car—more about that soon. Stay tuned for my future posts, I will be talking about my writing experience during a time when I was depressed; I will also tell you how I wrote a novel in 30 days.

I hope my post helped those of you who are trying to write during a tough time. And let’s face it, does life really ever give us a break? What advice do you give fellow writers to help them find motivation?

 

I Can’t Car-less


The problem with my car is that I don’t have one. It’s the same problem I have with my boyfriend. And it’s one of the biggest challenges I face living in Vegas—the lack of car I mean, of course. Although it’s not consoling to know that your 54 year-old landlady has more action on a random Tuesday night than you did on New Year’s Eve, your birthday and the Fourth of July Weekend combined. But I digress, the issue at hand is transportation.

Many think that a car is not a priority. Certainly I thought that way, and I’ve lived without a car my entire life and never had a dire urge to buy one. But recently, things have changed and it has become more challenging for me to go about my day to day activities without a vehicle. And I intend to tell you all about those challenges—I ’m sure some of you will find my struggle ironic in a good way.

I’ll start with the most recent. After a three-hour workout a few days ago, I stood waiting for the bus and I noticed that it was raining on the mountains. It was very cloudy that day, but my weather app didn’t forecast any rain so I felt confident that I’d make it back home without so much as a drop moistening my shirt. How wrong I was. Within minutes, it started to drizzle and by the time I got on the bus, the streets were flooding.
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I could see cars driving through puddles of water that almost reached to their windows. I seriously contemplated remaining on the bus and riding through the storm, so to speak. But luckily my street wasn’t inundated and the showers turned into sprinkles by the time I got off. When I got home, I was dripping from head to toe, except for a mysterious dry patch on my socks that I’m still trying to decipher.

This wasn’t the first time I got caught off guard by sudden rain. At least this time I wasn’t carrying loads of groceries and the showers were not proceeded by strong winds that thrust sand and plastic bags in my face.

Every time something like this happens to me, I think, “This is the worst part, this is how bad it’s going to get before it starts getting better.” But then it gets worse.

The entrepreneur in me says that I should make investments with money I save and let the cash flowing from my investments buy me what I want. But the delicate girl who is exhausted from hauling groceries in the desert heat and storms is desperate to take whatever cash she has and place it on whichever car is priced right. Honestly, a long walk in this heat? I’m surprised I haven’t fainted yet and woken up in the apartment of some schizophrenic whose third personality collects empty cereal boxes and sixth personality is a cat who’s is not happy at all with having a strange girl sleeping on her couch.

So, I guess my new short-term goal should be to get a car. And until then, I will try not to get dehydrated and be found passed out on the pavement in a puddle of my molten ice-cream, catch a deadly disease or make eye-contact with strange-looking people on the bus, or spend all my money on wine and clothes.

The thing is though, in spite being frustrated by having to walk home in the rain those couple of times, I was actually laughing. And you know why? First because it was way better than walking in the intense heat. But more importantly, because even though it wasn’t pleasant, I couldn’t complain. I was embracing my struggle, owning it. I was proud of myself and how far I’ve come, and even though my life isn’t perfect, it’s still great. It was an irritating situation and would’ve been for most. But for me, it was pure pleasure. It was life, giving me a little bitterness, and I appreciated it. Because that’s the way I live my life, by loving and feeling every moment—good or bad. In every moment of struggle and pain, I know I am alive and I felt life in the drops of rain on my cheeks that day. And a big part of me did not want to go home.

Blog Resuscitation


I realized that the last time I posted anything on my blog was seven months ago. It’s a very long time and so much has happened in that period. First of all, I would like to announce that I am now living in the US, in Las Vegas to be specific. I moved here a few months ago and I am loving it! It was a big step for me and took me a lot of courage and determination to pack a suitcase, grab my meager savings and get on that plane. But here I am! Did I mention that I just packed one suitcase? Yes, one. Well, unless you count the other suitcase. But they’re small suitcases so I consider them both as one.

IMG_4408The move wasn’t simple. It took me forty hours to get here by plane– counting the layovers and the excruciatingly long hours I spent at airport cafés. I was carrying a forty-pound handbag which had my laptop, notebooks, and other electronics. It took the tendons in my arms two months to recover from dragging that bag around.IMG_5299The obstacles didn’t stop once I got here. I was staying in a bad side of town at first and had a very tight and uncomfortable living situation. But that’s all behind me now and I had a fresh start to my fresh start. And as challenging as it was, I did manage to write a novel while there, and that’s always a good thing. I learned invaluable lessons from writing outside my physical comfort zone which I am eager to share with you soon.IMG_5373

I hope you like the photos I added. I will try to post as much as I can and keep you updated as often as my schedule permits. I realize that at this point, my blog needs resuscitation, but I’m counting on my loyal followers to help me make my come back an easier one.

What have you guys been up to? How is your summer so far?

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