Book number one, starting Friday, September 17, 2010 has the working title “Vegetable.” It’s the story of Amal, an Egyptian woman who yearns to immigrate to America to find a cure for her sister’s illness. Laila is the sister, born just 9 months after her, with the eyes of an angel, who has never spoken, walked, or laughed. The doctors in their village and in Cairo have no answers for a family on a measly government pension, a father who spends too much of it on alcohol and a mother whose circumstances have made her old and bitter. Amal has risen above it all, graduated at the top of her medical school class and has the chance to become the doctor that her town will be proud of – but it’s America she seeks, no matter how high the price. Is it really to find a cure for her sister? Or is she running away?
I’m a 30 something (holding on to this particular decade for dear life) wannabe writer who has done a few other things too – but I don’t really want to get into it here because I’ve previously gotten into it here and here and maybe a few other places as well.
In any case, a couple of years ago I wrote a book called “Release Your Inner Queen of Sheba: A Guide for Muslim Women (as Heba Alshareef) and spent a year traveling and doing workshops based on the book. I loved the process, and still maintain the website, iamsheba.com, but have, for the longest time, been meaning to branch out and work on my fiction seriously.
Alas, easier said then done. I’ve fallen into the traps that I long warned others about and have been procrastinating actually finishing a book. I’ve been working on one (or maybe five) for as long as I can remember and yet the fiction novels, the stories that are rolling around in my head, seem destined to lie in nanowrimo limbo forever. I’ve wasted (did I actually say “wasted”?) precious time reading up on the publishing industry, the elements of great novels, the latest news and views of leaders in the industry, how to motivate yourself to sit down and write, as well as time-management techniques, creative writing classes and online programs, writer forums (as a lurker, I’m embarrassed to say), and anything else you can think of that one might use to distract oneself from the actual act of writing. All in the name of “research.”
Well, no longer.
I started this blog in order to give myself the accountability needed to write a chapter a week – a doable goal, a workable goal, a SMART goal – one that will hopefully lead to a finished book at the end of 25 weeks. Give or take a week or two. And if all goes well, I’ll take a week or two off, and then start another 25 weeks. Do the math (something I’ve resisted doing until now) and that’s 2 books a year. Woo hoo!
So, my intention is to post a chapter each Friday, in a continuing saga in the tradition of Scheherazade’s One Thousand and One Nights. Hopefully, all that “research” wasn’t a waste of time and you won’t want to execute me on Saturday mornings 😉
May God help me in this endeavor.