Lamiya Siraj is a freelance writer, blogger, and author based in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. In our conversations with Lamiya, we learnt what drives her as a writer; and also her take on life. Here’s an excerpt:
You’ve been writing a lot about Mental Health. Even before this book. When and how did you decide to write about this?
Well, frankly, I have not done it deliberately. I prefer to write what comes to my heart. Yes, I agree this topic is indeed a touchy one. It needs attention as well as openness to talk and discuss the same. We all, in our day-to-day life, I am sure, witness a lot about it. News through various modes plays a vital role in my writing. I want to rescue depression and depressing thoughts and acts via my writing. If my writing helps one person, even if it doesn’t significantly impact society, I consider my work completed.
What was your motivation behind writing this book?
My passion for writing is my motivation apart from the dream of becoming a ‘best-selling author.’ Moreover, I am blessed with a fantastic family and a few friends who never stopped asking me about my next project. Thus, their constant questioning, confidence, and trust in my writing kept me going. Questions about when my debut novel is coming kept me motivated and on my toes. Apart from this, I wanted to know my genre in writing a novel. This curiosity kept me motivated.
Are you also a reader? What kind of books do you like?
Oh yes, I am an avid reader. I have grown-up reading. If given a choice between the digital world or the book world, undoubtedly, I will choose books. The feel of holding the book in hand and the smell of pages is unbeatable. They make me nostalgic. I travel to places sitting at one corner of my room. After reading a book, my thoughts on getting innovative ideas have improved, and become more challenging to implement them into the real world. I usually love romance, thrillers, mystery, and poems.
What was your favourite book growing up?
There are a lot of books I remember, and I have grown up reading. A few of them are of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and my all-time favourite ‘The Famous Five by Enid Blyton’.
Do you believe in Writer’s block?
Yes, I do believe in Writer’s block. However, as many learned and experienced people suggested, I also follow the same steps mentioned below
- Take a break.
- Jump ahead. I write and keep it aside and decide later on where they fit best.
- Do something else in between writings.
- Set a deadline.
What did you edit out of this book?
Frankly, I haven’t edited or deleted anything. While writing the novel, I remember I have only added- scenes, chats, letters, evidence, emotions and last but not least, memories.
How much time do you spend writing?
There is no fixed time to answer this question. But I do spend a reasonable amount of time in writing. Somedays, I sit straight for 4 hours, and other days two to three hours in slots at a different time of the day.
How do you balance your life with writing and family?
I feel if one has a supportive family, then things automatically fall into place. I am blessed, Alhamdulillah, to have such a supportive family, especially my husband. I won’t mind giving my entire credit to my husband and the love and life my daughter puts into me. Converting my passion for writing into reality, making me a full-time writer wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my loved ones. So, here I want to say I don’t balance my writing and my family. My family balances me with my writing.