The Constant Thoughts When I’m Working on My Book

All those following me on my Facebook page must have known that a month ago I had taken a break from blogging so I can start working on my book. Obviously, a month wasn’t enough but since I just wanted to keep my mind clear of off other writing activities I took a month’s break.

During this time I finally got to sit and jot down the whole idea of the book and that one month of no blogging allowed me to focus entirely on my book. So Alhumdulilah I am halfway through. Though a lot more work remains but I know it’s going to be steady from here hence I am back to my blogging activities.

For almost half of this month I had been writing blog posts related to personal development. Also, if you know I am currently doing the 30 days 30 blog posts challenge (do follow me on my Facebook page for daily updates) in which I alternate uploading blog posts to each of my blog. (I hope by now you should be aware that I have this ‘My Inspirational Blog’ and ‘The Bookish Nomad’ blog.) Again if you aren’t aware make sure to like my Facebook page.

So anyways getting on with the topic of today’s blog post, I wanted to be slightly personal. I am spending a lot of time working on my book and every day I go through all kinds of thoughts and feelings. So I thought why not share those with my readers and see what they have to say.

So here I go! 😀

 

Thought # 1: Is this even going to work?

I had always wanted to become an author of not just one book but many! The first time I had the idea of writing a book, it was basically a novella that I wanted to write. It was back in the days when I had completed with A-levels and was about to start with my university. I had written a lot of chapters for that novella. During that same time I had got the idea of another novella and wrote a few chapters for that one as well. But as time passed I learned that I don’t want to write fiction stories (let us not get into the discussion of why not?)

So now long story short, I am finally working on a personal development, a self-help book because after 3 years of blogging I have realized that this is what benefits my readers. But of course each day I sit to write there are times when I start doubting my work thinking maybe it isn’t a very good idea.

Thought # 2: Maybe I should wait some more

I have always believed in ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ So each time I start with a new chapter I think maybe now is not the right time. Maybe I should wait until I finish my degree. Maybe I should wait to gain more experience and knowledge. Maybe I should wait to gain more audience on my blog. Maybe I should wait until I become a popular blogger. There are so many reasons I should wait but then I don’t know how much more time is appropriate to wait for. So I am just going on with the flow.

Thought # 3: How far will my readers be willing to read my book?

The inspiration to write a personal development book that will help people focus on the brighter aspects of this life and to attain self-actualization only came when I saw my readers enthusiastic about what I write on this blog. But of course, I am not sure how many of you will be willing to read a whole book…

Thought # 4: Yes, it is going to be amazing

Then there are those times when I am totally elated. I keep writing and keep feeling happy that this book is going to be a success and will be loved by many.

Thought # 5: Maybe I should just carry with blogging

Another of the thought that bothers me! Why do I have to take so much trouble to write a book? Why not just blog all that I am writing for the book? I try to answer this question each time it comes into my mind. I am writing this book because it has always been a dream to write one. I am writing this book so I can let people carry around my words with them. Not everyone enjoys reading articles online but true readers surely read a lot from books.

Thought 6: Damn I am going to be rich!

Sounds funny right! But this thought has crossed my mind several times but of course my aim is not just to earn from my book. I wish to bring change in the lives of people through my book. I wish to encourage people to live their lives to the fullest. I want them to accomplish their dreams through my book and so I keep feeling that this is it! It’s going to be sold in millions! (Insha Allah)

Thought # 7: Traditional publishers or self-publishing

Since the first day of having the idea of this book I keep thinking if I should go on with self-publishing or approach traditional publishers. I have done lots of online researches and read pros and cons of both the options but I am still not sure. So every night before sleeping this very thought occurs to me, ‘Where should I go on from here?’

Thought # 8: What if no one likes what I have written?

I have been writing for different clients and websites for the past 5 years and I have been writing on my blog since 3 years and I have always been appreciated for what I write. But now when I am writing the same way for my book I start fearing that what if people don’t like what I have written.

I think these thoughts pretty much sums up all the constant thoughts that I get during the day as I write my book. The fear, anxiety, low confidence keeps coming over and over again. Then there come those moments of happiness when I feel completely confident that it is all going to work out just the way I want.

I would really like to hear from my readers. Also, if any of the authors happen to stumble upon my blog post then do leave your comments and suggestions. They will be highly appreciated.

How to Live a Positive Life?

Since there is so much negativity in our environment I believe we should really learn to live a positive life. I come across very few people who take the opportunity to inspire and motivate other people. The other part I come across are only there to whine, complain and demotivate other people from believing in dreams. Then I know some of those people who are interested in becoming positive about life but find it difficult. So my blog post is basically for those who are really wish to live a positive life.

I have often being asked by a few close friends that how come I manage to remain positive about my life and future despite having problems in my life. And I am sorry but answering this question in a sentence will not do much justice. So I thought why not write a blog post in which I share my secrets to living a positive life.

You will all have to agree that each one of us are going through a tough time or have been through at least once in their life. There will not be a soul on this earth who will say that they are not having any problems in their life. Each of us have their own shortcomings and we have to deal with it no matter what. There is no easy way out of our problems.

So far these are the few rules I apply to my life to live a positive life:

 

Staying aware of other people’s sufferings

I believe that I am not the only one who has problems in her life. Allah tests each of us in many ways. Some are struggling to finish their education. Some are having problems finding a job. There are some who can’t find the right person to marry. Then there are those who are engaged but are not able to get married for several reasons. The list will go on. We are all facing some problem or the other. So I don’t feel bad that I am facing problems as well because it is a part of every normal human being’s life.

I look at people who suffer more than I do

Reading news online makes me ponder over the fact that there is so much suffering around the world. Lots of countries are under political instability thus people die there every day. The terrorist attacks have left so many families devastated. In addition to that, there are people diagnosed with harmful diseases and are living a painful life. There is so much more to add to this list. Orphan children, parents losing their children, some people have no family, some have no home and some have physical disability. With so much of these sufferings I feel ashamed to keep complaining about my problems. Instead Allah has given me the ability to think clearly and resolve these issues so why not do that.

I believe I am here for a greater purpose

Allah didn’t sent me in this Dunya to cry, whine and complain about what I don’t have. I am here in this world for a greater purpose. My time in this world is short so why waste time to feel about what’s wrong in my life. Why not look at what is right in my life and work towards attaining my goals. Why not work towards becoming a good Muslim and making this world a better place for those who are suffering more than me.

Allah tests His strongest servants

Each time I feel I am going through a lot I look at the life of our Prophets and Sahaba. They were pious, refrained from sinning, yet in order to spread good they had to face so many hardships. I am not even going through 1% of what they went through (Alhumdulilah) so what makes me feel like it is a lot. Moreover, these sufferings will only help wash my sins so why to be sad.

I have faith in Allah’s plan 

Allah is the best planner indeed. He brought us into this world and gave us so many abilities and skills. I believe in Him and what He has planned for me will be for my good. I do not know what the future holds for me but I live with this believe that whatever it will be things will turn out to be alright and these problems I am facing currently will soon be over Insha Allah.

By stating these points I no way want to boost that I am very positive person because there are certain times I am extremely cranky and negative. This point comes in all of our lives but I make it a point to not let negative feelings and thoughts take over my mind. I try breaking the cycle of negative thoughts and start focusing on what is already good in my life.

 

Top 5 Hacks to Save Money

Saving money is as important as earning it. It takes a lot of hard work to make money but just a few seconds to spend it all. But it takes a lot more effort to save money by refraining yourself from buying things.

I always stress on saving money. No one is asking you to kill your desires but you should spend what is needed. Save money so you can achieve your bigger goals. Saving money is like an investment because it keeps adding to your pile of already saved money and could come handy whenever needed.

A note to the youngsters

Many youngsters think that they have to be an adult to start saving money. But I recommend that you develop the habit of saving money right from an early age. It doesn’t matters if you are not earning, save from whatever monthly allowance you get. Maybe only 5% of it but save your money. In fact if there are parents reading this article make sure that you stress the importance of saving money to your children.

Top 5 hacks to save money:

ad1

Save a little every month

As soon as you get your monthly allowance each month or receive your salary, deduct a fixed percentage of it to add to your savings. If you are not into the habit of doing this, start with 5% and increase it slowly. Believe me it will make a huge difference.

Have a list of your monthly requirements

At the start of every month make a list of stuffs you’d really need to buy. Estimate their costs so you would know how much you will really be spending. This will help you limit yourself from buying only what is needed.

Is it your requirement, or is it your desire?

This is a very important question to ask yourself when you are out shopping. Of course it is not wrong to satisfy our desires of purchasing stuffs we really like. But one should have certain control over their desire. If you are out shopping and you liked a dress even though you don’t need one but you think your budget can handle it, purchase it. But if you feel like buying 2 or 3 more dresses because you simply can’t decide which one to really get then that is sheer waste of money.

Store your savings with a loved one

Many people find it difficult to stop themselves from using their savings. For those people I recommend that you ask a close trusted person to keep your save money with themselves. Also, give them instructions as to when they can only give the money. For instance, you can instruct your friend to only give you the money when you will have to use for your university notes but not when you want spend on a shopping trip to the mall.

Keep a bigger goal

Something I have noticed in people who don’t have a habit of saving their money is that they don’t have any big goals in their life. I just see them enjoying their moment. They sure have dreams but they haven’t really started planning as to how they would achieve them. You can motivate yourself to save money by keeping a bigger goal in life. It could be your dream of moving abroad. A dream to get your parents their dream house or becoming more independent by investing that money in a business (please be clear that with investment I don’t mean interest).

Saving money will require you to limit your purchases but in the long run it will benefit you.

Are Sales and Discounts Really Saving Your Money?

The sound of discounts and sales always make us go crazy. The idea of having to spend less on products seems to be very appealing. Many of us eagerly wait for sales and discount offers so we can start with our shopping spree. But have you ever wondered that you are spending more during sale and discount offers? We usually end up buying more than needed during sale and discount offers because of the idea that we are spending less than the original price on each product.

Let me share my own experience. I love reading all kinds of books and collecting all sorts of stationary items. Whenever I come across sales and discount offers on shops selling books and stationary I get extremely excited because c’mon they are all at very low prices. I am going to get books and stationary in fewer prices. So that will help me save money right?

ad1

But actually I am not saving money but rather spending the money that I should have saved if I hadn’t bought those stuffs from the sale. What really happens that each time we get to hear the news of a sale offer we buy more stuffs that we might not even need at that time. For instance, when I came across a sale offer at my favourite online book store a month ago I was delighted. I immediately started to surf through their website but then at that moment I laid my eyes on my bookshelf and immediately I was able to point out several books that are yet to be read. Also, I knew the money I had at that time was meant to spend on some other important stuffs which meant that if I bought anything from this store it will just make my budget tight.

You see most of the times what we buy from sales and discounts are not even required anytime soon. We are only buying it because of the hype created by the various advertisements and other people’s reaction to it.

So does that mean sales and discount offers are not useful? Well, of course they benefit us but when we really need those products. If you need new clothes then you can sure avail these discount offers because you were anyways going to spend money on clothes. If you need to purchase more books because you are already done with reading your previously bought books then do take advantage of sales at bookstores. But don’t simply spend money because these companies are making you believe that buying their discounted products will save your money.

Saving money is as important as earning them. In fact save money to invest in something more useful. Invest in your dreams and passions than in materials because in the long run it is this passion that will give you the ultimate satisfaction.

 

4 Hacks to Keep to Your Writing Goals

To make a writing goal is one thing but to keep to those goals is not everyone’s cup of tea. I have been in the field of freelance writing since five years and a blogger for the past three years and there had been times when deciding my writing goals every month was kind of exciting as well as motivating. But as days passed it got difficult being determined about my writing goals and I eventually got sidetracked by other activities.

For the first two years of my blogging I had suffered tremendously in being regular with my blog posts. Also, there were times when I had trouble meeting article deadlines set by clients and eventually used to end up rushing up in the last moment which of course deteriorated the quality of my article. Finally I had to think of ways so that I remain determined about my writing goals and that’s how I have developed these 4 hacks. Since then I regularly write blog posts and never miss my client’s deadline. Many of my blogger and writer friends constantly ask me about how do I manage my writing, job and my studies altogether and still have time to go out with family and friends.

So why not I share these 4 hacks that will help every writer stay focused on their writing goals and finishes that book or article they had been working on for so long.

Hack # 1 Make a Writing Vision Board Every Month

Vision boards are usually created at the start of a new year but I recommend making one every month. This is because every month brings in a new kind of challenge and we can’t expect to live a monotonous life so how can one vision board be utilized for the whole year. It’s good to have a clear view of your years’ goals but it can be only effective if you’d break it up into months because as the famous saying goes, ‘Slow and steady wins the race.’ So you ought to take your writing goals with few steps every month.

Also, keep the size of your vision board small and fill it up with attractive pictures that symbolize your goal or write in a big size that’ll be visible enough to you even when you are standing far from it. It is ideal to keep three to four goals a month in order to remain focused.

ad1

Hack # 2 A Planner Diary is a Writer’s Best Friend

Keep a small planner diary with you at all times. This is where you will keep track of your deadlines and what tasks you need to complete on a day to day basis so that you achieve the bigger goals set on your vision board. It is ideal to have a daily planner so that you decide on your next day’s goal. Writing on a planner diary every night before going to bed is highly effective because that means your next day’s goals will be the last thing on your mind and the first when you wake up in the morning. This makes it highly likely that you will accomplish the goals for that day.

Hack # 3 Specify Your Goals

We always use short sentences when writing goals but that never really makes us take it seriously. You should really define your goals with what, when and how. For instance, instead of writing ‘Complete article tomorrow,’ you can write it as, ‘Complete the 6 Hacks article by 5 pm tomorrow.’ This will help you be more mindful about your writing goal.

Hack # 4 Plan Your Goal Loudly

This is something I do all the time, especially when there is a lot of work load and it really helps me. As I wake up every morning, the first thing I do is to take a look at my vision board and then at my daily planner. I memorize the goals for that day and visualize it. Sometimes I also say it out loud to myself. This is how I go, ‘So I am going to brush my teeth, have my breakfast and coffee and then clean my cupboard and then I will straightaway open my laptop and continue the article I left yesterday.’ Visualizing and then saying out loud helps me to complete my tasks with a flow and helps me avoid procrastination.

Staying determined about goals and being able to accomplish them with a flow is not an art but rather a habit. So you cannot expect to become regular with your writing goals in a fortnight. But you will need to remain constant in achieving your goals and each time you do so you can also reward yourself. Once you start finishing your articles before the given deadline or patiently stick to your goals you will see that your determination to complete writing goals will turn into a habit.

7 Ways to Boost Your Imaan

I once read somewhere, ‘Alarm clocks are only a means, what wakes you up for Fajr is your imaan.’ Since then each time I have difficulty waking up for Fajr I know it’s the weakness of my imaan. Whenever I hear Islamic lectures regarding Fajr prayer the first thing they mention is to strengthen our imaan. Waking up for Fajr requires a strong imaan. We must keep trying to boost our imaan because it is considered a constant act of self-improvement.

Also, it is not just Fajr prayer but your whole day is dependable on your imaan. If you have a strong imaan you will refrain yourself from committing sins and even if you do sin you will regret it badly. Then you will also hurry in repenting. With a strong imaan you become more conscious of your aakhirah (Hereafter) and become aware that Allah is watching you at all times.

At times I too suffer from a weak imaan and these are the 7 ways I boost my imaan with and get to back to being someone who cares what Allah likes and dislikes.

Keep praying

Don’t use your weak imaan as an excuse to stop or skip praying. This will only worsen the situation. It’s like you are failing in a exam and you stop writing because you think you are failing. This is not at all a wise act. Instead pray no matter what. Focus on what you are reciting during your prayer. Look into the meaning of why you are praying and for whom.

Listen to an Islamic lecture

Whenever I feel I am not up to being a good Muslimah, I make it a point to listen at least one Islamic lecture a day. Even if that lecture is just for 5 minutes I’d still consider it an important part of boosting my imaan.

Read Quran

May be a page or two and even more, but read Qur’an. You know reading Qur’an should be an essential part of our day because it plays a major role in boosting our imaan.

Get in touch with your pious friends

Consider it an opportunity if you have pious friends. Don’t be afraid to reach them for help because seeking help is a sign of strength. Let them know what you are going through. You never know what beautiful words they might come up with to inspire you in falling in love with your Deen and boosting your imaan.

ad1

 

Attend religious gatherings

Sometimes the reason our imaan weakens is because we start hanging among people who don’t make any efforts to remind us about Allah. A Muslim who really wants to stay close to Allah must choose his friends wisely. If you are around people who are constantly talking about partying, music, fun, dating and the opposite gender then you sure will have difficulty in boosting your imaan.

Turn your religious activities into a strict routine

Just like how you need to organize yourself to gain success in this world, you also need to be strict in following your Islamic rituals if you want to attain success in the Aakhirah. Add all the above mentioned points in a routine for each day. Set particular time slots for each of these religious activities. Make it a point that you will not skip these activities out of laziness or out of work that is for this Dunya. Feel the difference then in how your imaan gets boosted.

Break the cycle at its earliest

Usually our imaan gets weak due to a certain sin we have committed. Then the reason it gets difficult to boost our imaan is because we keep committing that sin and somehow stop caring. We forget that what it means in the sight of Allah to commit a sin. We stop trying to focus on the Aakhirah. What you need to do at this point is to be able to recognize what led your imaan to weaken and that it is high time you get back on track. You ought to break the cycle of those continuous activities that is leading you in losing your imaan.

It is natural to find ourselves with a weak imaan at times because we are human beings and this as well is Jihad. The real Muslim is one who makes amendments in his habits and activities so he can boost his imaan and be successful in the Aakhirah.

Jazakillah khairun kaseerun

Why I Believe in Afterlife?

This article was initially written after a UK based magazine approached me to write for them. But after waiting for several months of no response I finally decided to upload it on my blog. 

The mystery of life after death is the biggest mind boggling question of a mankind’s existence. Also it is assumed that it can be only answered by someone who has had a near death experience or someone who has got the tools to scientifically measure near death experiences in the hospital. But unfortunately I come in neither of these categories. I am just a psychology major who dreams big and small and sometimes takes some time off from her work to reflect on the purpose of this life.

Every day I wake up to another day with all sorts of tasks on my mind to get done with. I have a set of goals to achieve for that day which always lead to an achievement of a bigger goal. During that same day there are millions departing from this life and millions opening their eyes to this life for the first time. This world seems like a rat race where we are just rushing through to get somewhere. You may think you rule the time but it is actually the time that is ruling you.

 

ad1

When I think of my purpose in this world I have this feeling that it just can’t be me becoming something big or doing something great. If I look around I can see that everything existing in the nature has a purpose in this world to create, destroy or enhance a life. When I look at myself in the mirror I am no way near those objects in the nature because I have got a mind with intellectual capabilities, I have got a body that functions in collaboration with this mind. So it cannot be that I am just in this world to achieve several goals in this life, then die and be wrapped by oblivion. How can so much doings in this world have no meaning once a person dies? Especially, a life which has no guarantee because I am not even aware of my expiration date. It’s like life itself is telling me to be prepared for something greater than life.

While I was a student I encountered several teachers who didn’t believe in warning their students about upcoming tests because they believed that students should be prepared with their lessons every day. It’s like in order to score well we need to be a good student everyday and not just one day before the test. I can sense the same message from my life.

Of course, coming from a Muslim background and being one of those who thoroughly believes in Qur’an, is also one of the reasons I have faith in the afterlife. My religion has taught me to be a good person, to not hurt anyone and to treat my fellow humans with respect, all so that I can cherish a prosperous afterlife in the paradise.

Moreover, I believe that with so much suffering in this world there has to be a place outside life that will end all sufferings. Also, when we suffer it is just not physical suffering but a pain that can be sensed beyond physical sensations. I can sense the presence of a soul somewhere within or around me. When my body craves for all sorts of pleasure it is my soul that craves for morality and etiquettes. It is my soul which constantly prompts me to do well. When I give charity it is not my body that feels any pleasure but it is my soul that gets enlightened. When I share food with a friend, my body doesn’t likes it because it wants all that is on the plate but it is my soul that feels right about it. All this makes me feel that even when my body lies dead it will be my soul that will remain.

Our bodies can defeat us in many ways. In fact every day our body is defeating us by growing older and weaker. It keeps changing shapes no matter how much pleasure I give to it. What remains the same about me is my soul. The good or bad I feed to my soul remains with me at all times. When a person meets with an accident and ends up with a deformed body, there is something still same about them and that of course is their soul. It is because of this soul we recognize our friends even after years of absence and despite all the bodily changes they have been through.

So if I can see my soul alive even after I die I sure believe that another life awaits once I die. Though what kind of a life will it be is yet again a mystery. Religion categorizes afterlife with hell and paradise. Even though the idea of hell makes me shudder, I feel that maybe this is what we are on this Earth for. There are people in this world who are suffering because of the actions of other people and they are suffering to such an extreme point that they die while suffering from it. So there has to be a place after their death where their souls will get to live freely from all sorts of sufferings. Then those who are the cause of other’s sufferings and death cannot be left just like that, there has to be something after their death which will teach them what it is like to suffer. I really do believe in karma that not only works in this life but also in the afterlife.

This whole idea about an afterlife helps me keep going. Whenever I feel depressed because of an unwanted situation in my life I can see something beyond life. I see this world as a trial for the next world, a trial that will decide the ultimate position of my existence.