How to know if you have writing talent when writing in a foreign language?

I’ve grown up learning English as a second language, but in a system where my first language was hardly ever taught. In fact, I’d say I know more about the rules of the English language than the rules of Arabic. It is only natural that the narrator’s voice in my thought is in English. Still, I’m not a native; so how do I know if I have the talent?
The answer can’t be good grades in writing classes. Good spelling and (somewhat) sound grammar were enough for an A. After all, the teachers were not looking for ‘it’. They were not building writers. They were building students who might eventually use English on daily basis at work, or watch an movie without subtitles every once in a while. My writing did not need inspiration since technical correctness was the criteria.
The answer can’t be reviews from my friends. I can jot down 500 words nonsense, and they’ll just admire it because very few people write in my culture. Prolificacy shocks them. Awe strikes them just by the length of my writing. If they struggled with writing assignments, then someone who writes with their own free will must be talented.
Aside from my culture, can the answer be how much I love to write? I love to write therefore I’m talented? I love to sing in the shower, but my voice would destroy lives. Another strike…
I googled my question, but in every forum it ends up in a debate about skill vs talent. I already know my skill is lacking. It’s something I’m willing to work on. But I do believe in talent, or an innate capacity towards growing. Some people are born with higher IQs, some people with characteristics that allow them to be better public speakers. Of course a person can learn to perform better on a test or use better body language in a presentation, but they might still lack ’it’.
So how do I know if I have the writing ‘it’?


Why do you write?


I write because I can not not  write. If I ever stopped; it would be deciding to stop eating or breathing. I might not starve to death or suffocate, but I don’t think I’ll continue to be all there anymore. I remember the first time I wrote fiction, I felt present and unleashed.

So, why do you write?

Who’s joining NaNoWriMo this year?


NaNoWriMo is a National novel writing month.  Basically, the goal is to get you and people interested in writing to actually write. Here is how it works:

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.”

I was a little disappointed to discover that there are no events in Egypt (what did I expect, really?!). Anyway, I’ll still be registering and joining online.

Anyway else here joining?


Will I make it as a writer?

That’s the big question, isn’t it? You don’t know me, but I’m betting you’re already thinking, “Nah, get off your unicorn, girl”. Or perhaps you’re one of those rare optimists, you know, the hopers who have more dopamine receptors than the rest of the “sane” people. If you are one of them, I used to be like you. Then I grew up, I stumbled upon life, and now I have a bloody nose because I wasn’t looking at my feet. I tell you; you bump into too many poles if you walk around with your eyes glued to the clouds. The game of weighing my previous expectations against my new realization of what I could actually become was dumbbells of my ankles. I wasn’t happy anymore. Classic, right?

A couple of beaten years later, I realized I spend 8 hours per day building someone else’s dream, then I come back home to wallow about mine.  What if I spent some of that “I suck and I should cry about it” time into actually perusing something that I want more than anything. So what if I don’t get my daily dose of self-petty? What if I ride it thought rather than go with it? If writing felt like a limb and a part of me, I shouldn’t let the hope-eating bacteria get it and then the rest of me without a fight. In every horror movie, there is someone that always survives. The chances of survival was 1 to 100, but if he (usually she) had given up fighting twenty minutes earlier in the movie, there wouldn’t have been that 1%.

So, I decided to suck it up, and do something about what I want. I don’t care if I think my first chapter is toilet paper compared to twilight, which is already toilet paper (I’m being petty cause I’m jealous).  I’ll keep on going and maybe with enough effort, I’ll publish a novel.

So the deal is, I’ll create a poll here. Place your bets. I’ll keep you updated, and we’ll see how this gamble turn out.

N.B. You can vote multiple times, so you can always change your bet.