Featured Writer on Wellness: Nillu Nasser

Filed in Writers on Wellness by on February 7, 2018 3 Comments • views: 772

Spoken words I sometimes find tiring;
written words are for me a source of energy and understanding.

I can take the time to get the nuance just right without worrying that it is someone else’s turn to speak. I can examine a thought carefully, without it slipping through the fog of my brain.

It soothes me to be creative in a world that often feels destructive.

Writers Need to Avoid the “Slow Creep” Upon Their Boundaries

In the early days, my biggest emotional challenge was self-belief.

Now it is being fierce enough to protect my space.

Out walking. Big tree, small boy.

We are part of a wonderful community of family and friends. I come from a big, bustling family, in which everyone has an open-door policy. There is so much generosity of love and time. However, with the children so young (ours are 8, 5 and 11 months old) there is only a small amount of time available to me to be creative.

Balancing everyone’s needs is a fine art. There is always a slow creep, a blurring of boundaries unless you are consistently resolute. It the difference between maintaining writing momentum, and not.

My husband is very good at reminding me that I shouldn’t feel guilty about closing the door. I have a small writing bureau in the house, which makes it easier for me to use small writing windows wisely if I can’t get to my office in the garden.

Setting targets is useful. It means I can give a concrete reason why I can’t do something. It’s a personality flaw to feel I must explain my absence. That’s something I need to work on.

Signing with my publisher helped give me legitimacy. It is easier to protect your time when family and friends see that you are accountable to someone.

Writers: Watch Your Posture!

My posture has worsened over the years. I need to make a conscious effort to push my shoulders back and straighten my spine.

It’s not all the fault of writing! I’m fairly tall, and as a teen I remember slumping to fit in better with shorter friends. As a nursing mum, you curl your shoulders around your baby for privacy and protection.

When I write, I often forget my posture. I slouch over my keyboard, or prop myself up on one elbow and daydream. I end up with knots in my shoulders and a tense neck. I’ve also noticed drier eyes and dehydration.

It’s the sort of minor complaint that is easy to ignore, but as we all know, a well-oiled machine is better in the long run!

Yoga with the kids.

Does All That Sitting Make Your Bottom Go Flat?

The basics are leaving enough time to walk the kids to school, rather than hopping in the car. A little exercise goes a long way. A walk in the woods does wonders for the cobwebs in my head.

For me, there’s nothing better than getting down on my yoga mat to tease out those aches and pains. A few years ago I discovered Adriene Miscler’s “Yoga with Adriene” channel on YouTube. Her style is quirky and fun, and I always feel stronger, less achy and more grounded if I make time to do one of her videos.

I also like going to Zumba classes. This is especially good if I am feeling sluggish or sad. You can’t help but smile at Zumba.

From time to time, I wonder about whether my bottom will go flat from sitting at my desk too much! It’s then that I think about building a standing desk over our treadmill in our office. Maybe one day. I also try to drink a glass of water for every cup of tea. Drinking more water always makes me feel less tired.

Try Creating a “Positive Comments” Jar

There’s a big perception gap between the idea and the act of writing a novel.

The idea of being a novelist is romanticized to some extent. In reality it can take years of grit to feel your way through a novel. My debut novel certainly did.

For a while, you can’t see where you are going. You are in the trenches hoping that a mixture of hard work and inspiration will help you get to the finish line and produce a work of quality.

For me, being a member of a critique group is key for feedback—and sanity—as my work progresses. I also find it helpful to keep a jar filled with little comments readers have made about my work. If I am feeling low, I reach into the jar and it buoys me.

My jar of comments from readers.

Writing Can Be Magical

I find it hard to reconcile the public side of being a writer with the intensely private side of writing.

I didn’t realize what a joy it would be to share my characters with readers. I’m thrilled every time I hear from readers about who they have fallen in love with, who they loathe, what aspects of the story will stay with them. When a stranger connects to a story I’ve written, it doesn’t get better than that.

My desk in the garden. Keeping hydrated.

It took me so long to admit to myself that writing was my dream and that to give up would feel like failure. Even when it’s hard, what keeps me going is the elusive feeling when the world you are creating starts fizzing with potential, you realize it feels truthful and that you are close to understanding something that has escaped you before. It’s the closest I’ve come to magic.

Advice for a Young Writer: Answer the Call

Becoming a writer is marathon, not a sprint. Every piece of work you finish will be a little better. The key is persistence and belief.

Not everyone will like you, and that’s okay. Don’t pass up the opportunities to make writer friends. People who will appreciate the mundanity and bliss of writing, who you can swap critiques with, who you can learn from and can give back to.

Facing the blank page, possible rejections and disinterest can be tough, but if writing is your passion, answer that call.

* * *

Nillu Nasser is a writer of literary fiction novels. All the Tomorrows was published by Evolved Publishing in 2017, and is due to be followed by Hidden Colours in late 2018. Nillu has a B.A. in English and German Literature, and an MA in European Politics.

After graduating she worked in national and regional politics, but eventually reverted to her first love. She lives in London with her husband and three children. To find out more about Nillu or to say hello, please see her website, or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram.


All the Tomorrows: Akash Choudry wants a love for all time, not an arranged marriage. Still, under the weight of parental hopes, he agrees to one. He and Jaya marry in a cloud of colour and spice in Bombay. Their marriage has barely begun when Akash embarks on an affair.

Jaya can’t contemplate sharing her husband with another woman, or looking past his indiscretions as her mother suggests. Cornered by sexual politics, she takes her fate into her own hands in the form of a lit match.

Nothing endures fire. As shards of their past threaten their future, will Jaya ever bloom into the woman she can be, and will redemption be within Akash’s reach?

Available at Evolved Publishing, Amazon, Amazon UK, and wherever books are sold.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Pat Stoltey says:

    Excellent post, Nillu! Even with no children in the house, it’s hard to schedule writing time and stick to the plan. I’m very bad at saying no to coffee or lunch with friends.

  2. Nillu Nasser says:

    Thanks so much for having me here!

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