The Exhausting Joy of Writing

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Does writing energize or exhaust you?

This week, I am making an Open Book vlog post about how writing can energize and exhaust writers. Who am I kidding? It mostly exhausts and drains anyone taking to the keyboard.

The question then becomes, is it worth it?  check out my video to find out.

Edited Transcript

Writing can be a cathartic experience and fulfilling experience. [It provides an] opportunity for you to share your thoughts, ideas, and perspectives and [a chance] for you to share your stories with readers if you’re a fiction author. So, it can be very, very energizing, and ideally, it is. But there are realities to writing, especially when you’re a writer like me.

In addition to my authorship, I’m a professional writer and an editor. So, I write not only for my own blog. I am the managing editor for NbA Muslims. I write for multiple platforms. I am also asked to contribute to certain things like anthologies, and that’s in addition to my authorship, to my storytelling, which I loved doing for the past year.

I have loved the opportunity to really engage as a storyteller. So, that’s been great. The only thing is that when I decided to engage in authorship, I added more writing to the writing already do. That’s not even to mention that I must engage with students and on social media every day.

I am also creating content for a great new podcast that hopefully will be launched in September. More on that later.

I’m trying to prep stuff [and want to] get a lot of writing done before my trip to Chicago, where I’m going to engage in this fabulous training with Muslim ARC and Chicago ROAR, which I’m really looking forward to. I don’t want to do any writing on the trip because I know that in addition to all the other writing that I have to do, I am going to be physically writing notes.

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For me, writing is utterly exhausting. It doesn’t energize me at all. Does it satisfy me? Does it fulfill me? Yes, but it exhausts me because I have so much of it to do.

I think one advice that I would give to authors and writers is to be careful how it is you decide to utilize your talent because it can drain you. When people recognize the talent that you have as a writer, they want to utilize it a lot of times. And it’s great. It’s wonderful, but make sure you’re not piling too much on because then writing, which may be a passion of yours starts to wear you down.

It wears you down physically. I have this burning sensation [in my knuckles]. I know it must be arthritis. A lot of times, my fingertips are tired and my joints ache.

[Writing] exhausts you mentally. Depending on the different forms of writing that you have to do, you have to engage in a lot of mental exercises to execute it, especially if you’re switching between different types of writing. I have to switch gears when I’m writing my blog, which I love writing. Even the blogs, Layla Writes Love and NbA Muslims are two totally different things. Academic writing, am I writing an essay for an anthology or a peer-reviewed journal? It’s a totally different type of writing.

Platforms like Haute Hijab and About Islam each want different forms of writing from me. [One may want an op-ed while the other a journal piece.]

Then I have to switch gears when I decide to engage in my storytelling and write my novels and short stories. So, it can be mentally draining and emotionally draining depending on what you’re writing. If I’m writing an op-ed piece about something that happened and give my standpoint that can be emotionally

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draining, especially if I am [addressing] something like gender oppression or racism, anti-blackness in Muslim communities, and all the other stuff that I usually love to talk about.

Writing a particularly difficult scene in a novel, short story or novella can be draining as well. So, I have to say that writing is exhausting. It is worth it. It is worth it to see your work out there and to see the effects that it can have on people. It is worth engaging in, learning about, and honing your craft [to become] a more and more skillful writer.

So, it is worth it, but it is exhausting and draining to the point where I am not going to write my blog post this week. I’m doing this. So, this is going to be up on Layla Writes Love this week for the Open Book blog post. I kind of really wanted to send the message that it can’t be tiring. It can be exhausting because guess what? I have to turn this chair around, and there’s still more writing for me to do.

I have Faheem and Hafsa kind of pushing the envelope in their courtship right now. So, I got to decide what I’m going to do with them in my upcoming novella, Open to Love.

I have got to write an article for a couple of platforms, and I [have] some content writing. So, there’s a lot that I have to do. It’s something that I value in my life, and I’m so glad that, alhamdulillah, I [can] do it.

After I’m finished, I’ll cook dinner and play with the kids, and I’m laid out. I’m going to bed, inshaallah. So, let’s keep those keyboards clicking, okay, and I look forward to reading with you. As salam alaykum.


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6 thoughts on “The Exhausting Joy of Writing

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  1. Layla, you need to learn to take some time for yourself! I know it’s tough, especially with a family, but if you aren’t careful, you’ll reach a point where you do longer have the energy to do anything for anyone, and that’s no good. 😦

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