Is writing in more than one language really that hard?

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

4 February 2021,

A question that I thought its evident answer is YES, and this YES made me stop writing in Arabic for more than two years, and what a sad thing it was for the writer who I am since Arabic was always my favorite and my dear language.

I carried on believing so because that's what I heard from others and didn't bother myself to give a try, to see by myself what it is like to write in two and more languages.

And days went on with me writing only in english.

Then came the day when I decided to take that holy step and published my first book and honestly can't tell how great it felt like to be officially an author, to put my work outside, to take that jump, but there was a part of me, a voice repeating the dream was to publish yes, but it was always to publish in Arabic my dear; and yes, me writing my first book was a coincidence well planned by god and writing it in english was a double coincidence. I always loved English and I do enjoy me writing in English, but I enjoy me writing in Arabic more.

And for sure I couldn't stay away than writing in Arabic, I started and it felt great to come back to the arms of my favorite but didn't turn my back to English, I made sure to not do the mistake again, to give up on a language for another, I want both and i'll keep both.

And I started writing poems using both languages in the same poem and can't tell how it made me feel like a better writer. The funny part is that my YES was a very big NO when I gave it a try, I sincerely didn't find any difficulty in using both, Arabic and English but gained more amusement and exercised my brain to write better.

It is true that I was lucky that I unconsciously managed with success, so far writing with both languages at the same time but later I asked myself why was it so?

And here are the answers I found:

First, somehow the hardness that I was believing I would face when I'll start writing vanished as if I never believed so and I guess that this is related with the fact that I gained enough confidence concerning my ability to write well in both languages, while two years ago I was believing only that I write well in Arabic only, and my writing skills in general.

Our beliefs my dear determine who we are and what we are capable of, so go back and check your beliefs whenever you question yourself and your capabilities to do something. On the other hand, there is confidence, and to gain it you must practice, practice and practice and cultivate your writing knowledge.

Second, when we do write or talk using a specific language we think using that language and languages are related to cultures, ideologies, knowledge, and many other things that identify that one language only and this make shifting from a language to another hard cause simply your mind keeps thinking in that language you started with first and all it dies is translating your thoughts to that language you are using currently; and from my humble point of view, this is a big mistake, do not translate because first, you make it hard for yourself, you have to think and create then translate, second you kill and erase the prettiest parts of that writing and that's probably the reason why you feel maybe you should pick one language only. Another thing I noticed is that many writers write a text in English for example, and they do translate it to a different language and I hate that for writing as a genre of art is not translatable cause as I mentioned below, languages carry cultures and other things between the letters, and its quite unfair to translate a culture as an example to another culture. Plus doing, make the reader and maybe the writing himself notice and further than that not that he is so good in writing with language than with the other one but that he is bad in writing with a language more than with the other one and this is enough to harm him and his confidence as a writer.

And for this you shall preparer your mind dear fellow not to translate from a language to another but to think and write with more than one language cause simply your are a writer not a translator. And I know, this point exactly is hard but practice is the key.

And last, vocabulary. Well vocabulary is necessary for writing in general. And if your vocabulary is richer in a language so much more than in the other language, then it is obvious that you will have blocks and difficulty in that language more than the other one, and I personally faced this problem when I started writing my poetry book and my dictionary was my savior, I used to read my dictionary whenever I have nothing to do and started reading more books in English and googling synonyms of the words I mostly use and it worked for me so it may work for you to.

These were my thoughts about writing in more than one language, and I hope they made sense to you

Let me know your thoughts about this all and your experiences concerning this topic if you have any.

Much love,

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