Writing and Expectations
Written by Nabeela Ahmed
When you begin writing fiction, especially if it is contemporary fiction, you keep worrying that people will think all of it is your personal experience and judge you.
In 2018 I often stopped writing a scene as I worried that people would say that’s not a Muslim thing to do or that’s not how an Asian woman should behave. And that I should be trying to portray a kosher, idealistic version of all the roles I represented, just in case I was accused of having lived experience of the undesirable things about the character.
Eventually, I told myself to write everything and judge later. That helped release the creative flow and made my muse’s life easier.
Then at a creative writing course, I shared a few pages of a story, and in the feedback, people asked if I was a widow? It made me really happy, not that I would wish that for anyone, but because it showed you don’t have to experience everything first-hand to write well about it.
There is always a bit of ourselves and snippets of our experiences in our writing, but it isn’t imperative, and as a new writer, it’s best to let yourself write what comes. 🌻💜