By Umairah Malik, a member of the Salomé collective.
“Cram your head with characters and stories. Abuse your library privileges. Never stop looking at the world, and never stop reading to find out what sense other people have made of it. If people give you a hard time and tell you to get your nose out of a book, tell them you're working. Tell them it's research. Tell them to pipe down and leave you alone.”
This is what it’s about.
We live in a world dominated by technology, going about our lives until we stumble across something, perhaps by accident, perhaps not, and it changes the way you look at this lonely planet of ours.
Put your all into it. Put every ounce of feeling you have into it.
Sometimes you have to wait for inspiration to strike. And that’s okay.
There’s a certain stigma that comes with wanting to be writer, that it’s not a proper job. (Then again, let’s be honest, there’s stigma surrounding many things that a a female does ). I still get people telling me I should have pursued the sciences, that I shouldn’t throw away that potential. (Can we be real, I’ll make my own future thank you).
Don’t give up.
Write the things you wish someone had told you, write about the time the person behind you on the bus smiled at you, write about the dog next door, write about you, write about anything and everything, write about your life and write whatever you want to. But whatever you do, make sure you believe you can do it.
Feel it within and harness it.
Don’t try to write like everyone else. Write like you. You have a voice and you have the words.
Put them together and you will have something truly beautiful.
Don’t give up. Never give up.
Writing is hard. It’s easy to not try. It’s easy to say you’re not going to try because you’ll supposedly inevitably fail. Hail the rejection you receive, it is evidence that you are trying.
It’s not about writing something fantastic straight away. It’s about working on it. It’s about dedication.
So what are you waiting for? Put those thoughts and feelings into words and unleash your creativity.
There are things that need to be written. There are things that you must dig deep in order to find. It is a search without a search party, a plan without a certain goal.
And that’s how you know it’s important. When you can’t find the words to describe it but the feeling itself is immensely intense. You start from there, because it is an attempt at organising the chaos that runs riot in your brain. It is an escape.
Sat here, in my corner of the aforementioned lonely planet, I believe that you can fight the odds that are but an illusion trying to hold you back. I believe that you can create something beautiful. I believe in you.
To the people who tell you writing isn’t a real job, prove them wrong; show them that they’re wrong.
Women's writing has been consistently written out of the history books; we're giving it a platform with the intention that it be written back in. This is what the Salome community is all about.
Stuff his story. This is about her story.
Umairah is a writer, student (studying history, English literature and religious studies), mental health activist and drinks too much tea. She believes in the power of compassion and kindness. She also volunteers with Salomé as a social media superstar.