Meet Poetess Sahira Javaid

Canadian Muslim poetess Sahira Javaid recently released a new poetry collection called Crack of Dawn. She has previously published two other poetry books: Hot Ice and Bittersweet. Visit Sahira’s website or her Amazon page.  

Q1. When did you first realize you were a poetess? Describe that moment and the background.

It was when I was in grade 12. I was eighteen and had been writing in verse for most of high school. Mainly it was to write out my emotions. It’s strange to say, but I didn’t realize it was poetry. It wasn’t until others who read it pointed it out and told me it would evoke deep emotions from them.

Q2. How has your journey in creative writing evolved? 

I’ve been writing in different ways since I was a child. I had a love of reading and remember being pulled in by the chronicles of Narnia, among other books like the Nancy Drew series and Robert Munsch books. I loved writing short stories, even though they were for classwork. Myths and legends about animals were a favorite. I always had different ideas and would find myself having a hard time finishing them. So, short stories were great. They gave me an end instead of a novel which had no specific time limit. 

My writing changed when I drew inspiration from other people and myself. How they reacted, their mannerisms and obstacles in life that made them feel different emotions.

I would write poetry in a rhyming style which most people would say is a stereotype. That is one thing that didn’t change. I would write long poems, but began to shorten some if it felt the poem needed it. It has been a very long journey. It made me realize I could start a project and finish it. That I had the determination to do so.

Q3. What obstacles have you faced as you write and publish? What do you hope you’d known a decade ago? 

When I wrote my first two poetry books I was concerned that others would think my poems were too long. For almost all of my poems I tend to rhyme each line. It’s just something that is most natural to me. I thought my tendency to rhyme would seem immature. My poems are always honest, so I didn’t have trouble with what I was writing, but how someone would react.

I wish I would have known I wasn’t alone. I felt like I had no support outside of family or friends. Back then I never tried to reach out to other poets. Another poet would understand we place our heart and soul onto the page and how naked that feeling can be. I also hope I would have known that people will criticize my work. That it’s okay to not make emends to my work if it doesn’t feel right to me. 

Q4: What advice do you have for emerging poets and writers? 

Write what you love. If you don’t love what each pen has stroked across the page, or what your fingers orchestrate on the keyboard, it’ll show. When you’re passionate about something it’s truly a fulfilling feeling.

I know everyone says this, but you can’t give up. If writing makes you happy, then don’t give up on it. Some might tell you it’s not worth it, but you know yourself well. 

Don’t be afraid of criticism. People think differently. They may catch something you haven’t. You know your poem or story. The emotions you want to evoke, the idea or situation you want to reveal… so you can consider it and see what works for you.

Last but not least, don’t be afraid. We need truth and sincerity. If you’re honest, you will sound genuine.

Q5: Where do you see yourself in ten years? Do you have other works you’re planning to publish? 

I hope to see myself making others inspired by my work. It’s my dream to see others holding the copy in their hands and telling me they’re happy to know they’re not alone, or that it inspired them. I don’t want to sound boastful, but it’s a good thing to have confidence. For a very long time I had no confidence in myself, so knowing that I can be comfortable is a great thing. I see myself knowing what I want to write and what kind of stories I share. (mostly the inspirational kind) I want to write other poetry collections and share them with others. 

I mentioned before that I’ve been working on a novel since I was ten. I’ve been querying the story and hope to have it published one day. I’m also currently working on a new story and hope it too can one day find a home in people’s hearts.