As you all know I've been working from one project to another during the last five months in hopes to follow my dream and be an Author. God Willed for me to have success this year at last.
With the (IWA) Islamic Writers Association's Poetry and Islamic Short Story Contests back in April I was fueled to enter them. I worked all month on my Islamic Short Story titled Pirate's Peace. It was my first short story and my first Islamic Story. Completing it was an amazing experience in the writing process. I honed my skills in editing and re-writing and enjoying the look of a polished finished project. I took a deep breath and was about to submit my story when a fellow blogger and mentor and most of all a Friend, Sister Safiyyah from Shaalom 2 Salaam, introduced me to IWA. I became a member just in the nick of time to submit my story under the Membership Category.
I was thrilled, not only was my work being considered but it was now on a level of other famous Islamic Authors. Ahem, it was a tad intimidating too. But the IWA is a warm welcoming group and I'm so privileged to be a member of it.
They then announced in May they were going to make an Anthology and members were encouraged to submit more work in Poetry and Islamic Short Stories. I turned back to the drawing board and wrote two new poems, searching deep within for subjects that I love about Islam. Then I had to write two fresh stories. I began one called A Proud Portrait, but the characters needed extra time for development and a sounder plot than it would take to write in half a month, so I left it be for now realizing a better story later would be better than an unpolished one now. I worked meanwhile on another story called Real Meaning of Ramadan. I finished it and got it polished just in time for the deadline and happily sat back with a sigh having completed three poems and two short stories in two months.
I thought now, I can relax a little, work on some organizing in my house, you know the old spring cleaning everyone puts off for "tomorrow". When in June the IWA announced it wanted Artists to make interior illustrations for the Anthologies. Oh how I bit my lip, finger hovered over the button to reply. I was no professional artist. Sure my family liked my work but would I have the confidence and willpower to start and finish and professionally edit my own art work? Time kept ticking and I realized my chance to feature another of my talents was about to slip away and did as I usually do and jump in with both feet. I signed myself up to make 6, yes six, designs. The format was black and white which I had never done before except in sketching, but I loved the look of black and white designs.
I spent the next few weeks researching every aspect in how to achieve the clearest black and white drawings and then bought several different pens and markers to achieve the looks I wanted. Everything came together fluidly over the next three months. I used every available moment of spare time to complete them. With two small kids I'm sure many of you are laughing, what spare time? But sometimes it was one day, make one line, the next day have time for a quarter of the page, another day to finish it off, then following day would get me another two lines. But I learned a lot about pacing myself and when to put in that extra push for time. Some days I'd discourage and would think I couldn't do SIX! IN TIME! But I'd remember how good it felt finishing off my first Short Story.
Every drawing of the six was so uniquely different with a different artistic talent to master; the flow of clothing, the minute details, the geometric angles I hadn't made since 10th grade geometry class. It was amazing the techniques I found I could do.
Now I submitted my last design in August and took a really deep breath. I had indeed done it. It had taken five months of work but well worth it for what I learned about myself and my talents.
I especially realized unlike many artists I am NOT into painting as much as I am into drawing with marker or crayon. I like making those bold black lines. My next idea as an artist is to try Stained Glass designs with first bold colors per pane then perhaps textured or mixed colors per pane. I want to experiment with my oil pastels as they were my favorite long ago. Also perhaps a nice set of markers or colored pencils would do for the interior colors. We will see what the coming year brings for me.
But I do give myself permission to think differently and be different than what people box and label others with. We all have inner talents and we should strive to hon them not to blindly copy what the rest of the world does. My flair with a paint brush is okay but not brilliant, so there is no reason I should force myself to use that medium in my future art.
Lessons well learned by time and devoted energy.
So stay tuned for my announcements of when the two Anthologies will be published and I will officially be an Author and an Artist.