Blog Post
Writing for Justice: Interview with Author Javeria Kausar

Javeria Kausar, author of Erin and the Indian Bride, is a Muslim writer from Andhra Pradesh, India, who wants to use her words for good causes. She wants to raise awareness, shatter stereotypes, inspire reflection, and effect positive change. She has an MA in English from the English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad (India). 

How long have you been writing? How has your writing changed over the years?

I think I started wanting to be a writer when I was 15 or so. I remember how I was convinced that poetry is difficult to write. I hadn’t tried it, and my idea of good poetry was limited to the rhyming verses. I was exposed to non-rhyming poetry too, but I didn’t like it very much. Rhymes are enchanting, and maybe I used to think that only some people are talented enough to be able to write rhyming poetry. Once, I even told my English teacher how difficult I thought poetry writing must be. She didn’t think it was all that challenging, and she tried to explain how simple it was to rhyme. I don’t think I believed her.

After I decided that I wanted to be a writer, I attempted a proper rhyming poem, and I actually did it! I’ve written several poems since then. I used to consult websites on which there were lists of different types of poems (e.g., acrostic, abecedarian, diatelle, villanelle, etc.), and I tried to write in those forms. I tried to rhyme even when a form didn’t necessitate it; it was a rewarding experience. As for the themes—there were friendship, my mother, little things to be happy about, and desserts around the world.

I write short stories as well; my very first one was science fiction, and then there was one point when my stories would often involve urban legends. For the past few years, I’ve been focusing on making everything I write useful. I want to use my ability to bring to light (willfully) neglected issues and humanitarian crises. I want to inspire positive social change. Being a Muslim, I have certain values. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever witnesses something evil, let him change it with his hand, and if he is unable then with his tongue, and if he is unable then with his heart, but that is the weakest form of faith.” I want to use my writing to address oppression, to tackle social injustice, and to serve humanity. From writing about the different kinds of desserts to writing about discrimination, I’ve come a long way as a writer.

What characterizes your writing?

Most of my writing now is aimed at making people aware of some or the other social issue. For example, I have written about OCD and schizophrenia and the way people misunderstand them; I have written about old age and depression, the refugee crises, child soldiers, child labour, child marriage (Erin & the Indian Bride), Islamophobia, hate speech, stereotypes, discrimination, hypocrisy, domestic violence, animal abuse, and deforestation. I like to work with themes that need attention; these are things that need to change, things that are swept under dusty carpets, things that have been mauled by misunderstanding and malice. Another feature of my work is that it is free from foul language and erotic content. I don’t like such things.

What are the easiest/most difficult parts of the writing process for you?

Consistency is tough. Writing every day is a difficult-to-reach ideal. Maybe the easiest part is coming up with ideas and stretching them in different directions. Sometimes, it can also be difficult to stay motivated and to believe that you can be a fantastic writer. But you need to keep walking past those ups and downs in focus and confidence. You need to pat your own back, celebrate every little win and milestone (even writing 50 words for two days straight), toot your own horn (in front of the mirror), and believe that you’ll be phenomenal, not just fine.

Are there authors that you turn to for inspiration and mentoring?

I came across Abbie Emmons’s YouTube channel a while ago. I love her videos. Although our genres differ, her advice, especially on characters’ internal conflict, is very beneficial. Some of her videos are also great for motivation. I would like to quote something wonderful she said regarding writing regularly, even when you have bad writing days: “Your writing is either great, or it is making you great.” So, even if you have bad writing days, think if them as practice, and continue writing.

What prompted you to write for Storyshares?

I love winning contests. I am a competition (winning) enthusiast. Even as a college student I used to enter essay writing, elocution, drawing, paper presentation, debate, and drama contests. I’m not sure how I came across Storyshares’ contest, but I’m glad I did. I think it was during summer vacation (after my BA course ended) that I wrote my story. It felt so good to write it. I was shortlisted and published, and almost 4 years later, I received an honourable mention in the bestseller challenge! Competing can take you in unexpected directions. It can push you to write. Plus, winning feels very good.

What tips do you have for overcoming and dealing with writer’s block?

I know one for dealing with procrastination, which is closely related to writer’s block: Start now. Not after you check your email. Not after you finish that one chore (unless it’s extremely, extremely important). Not after you start feeling like writing. I’ve heard that motivation comes after you start, and I agree. It often does.

How do you keep track of your ideas?

When I see something that could be turned into a piece of writing, I make a note of it on my phone. It could be a character trait, an event inspired by a news story, or something I personally saw or experienced. Notes can be helpful in organising your ideas neatly, and you can keep adding bullet points or paras when you get other ideas connected to it. If you note an idea down when it’s fresh, you can have peace of mind, knowing that you can come back to it later to work on it properly.

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first story? What advice would you give to writers in general?

First: Consistent Perseverance.
Even if you just write a little, write regularly. Remember that droplets make an ocean.
P.S.: I do not want to give you the impression that I do this all the time. I don’t, but I would really like to. Same goes for the tip I shared for avoiding writer’s block/procrastination.
Side note: Remember that when people advice, it does not automatically mean that they are good at following the same. It could just mean that this is valuable, sincere advice that they would like to share with you (even if they struggle to put it into practice sometimes). Don't feel overwhelmed and upset when someone else seems to be able to write more consistently than you are able to. They might have bad days too. You don't know everything about them. Even with all the best advice in the world, we can slip up and struggle sometimes. The key is to recover and keep trying.

Second: Enter Writing Contests.
I love winning competitions. (I know it would be nicer to say that I love participating, but to be honest, I enjoy winning more than the act of participation itself.) It can give you extra motivation and drive. Plus, the guidelines and prompts can be helpful and challenging (in a good way). You will be conscious while writing, trying to make sure that you stick to the rules. You’ll also likely think of interesting news ways to incorporate your desired theme and characters into your work. Moreover, when you want to participate and win in a contest, you’ll want to read the previous winning entries, so you get exposed to wonderful writing. Of course, there might be winning writing that you don’t like at all. From this, you can understand that there is such great variety in writers and readers’ tastes—so the good news is that although some may not like your work, there might just be someone out there who would love it immensely. Also, I would suggest that you go for free-to-enter contests. There are several good ones out there.

Finally: Make your work beneficial to people in some way.
Maybe it can warn against something, guide to something, highlight something, tackle something, or just uplift a person’s mood through laughter or inspiration. If your words help make the world a better place, even for one person, or if they inspire even one person to make the world a better place, that would be fantastic. We may think of “making the world a better place” as a clichéd, hyperbolic phrase, but imagine if you inspire one person to reflect on their prejudices, if you inspire just one person to start that project they’d been putting off, if you inspire just one person to throw the trash in the bin—imagine how much better life would be for them and even those around them! Know that writing is an incredible and powerful gift. Value it and use it well.

What are you up to now?

I am just a few days away from starting my PhD course. Before I begin my PhD, I plan to work on some personal writing projects, including turning Erin & the Indian Bride (published by Storyshares) into a series with wonderful new characters, Allah Willing.

Connect with Javeria on Facebook,, and on Instagram, @author.javeria.kausar. 

Read Erin and the Indian Bride today!