The Eye of a Writer

Guest Blogger: Khaled Talib

After I had finished writing my first novel, SMOKESCREEN, a thriller, I promised myself not to write another.  I wasn’t sure if I had energy left to struggle with the same problems and obstacles of writing:  the lack of time, rejection, and the frustration of revision.  I was out of breath, drained of emotion, and sapped of energy.  But then I found myself working on several chapters for a new story.

For some reason, I managed to transmute my pain into productive writing. I am ready to go, accompanied by a full tank of passion to drive my next manuscript down that long, hard road again. Although I am wounded, I am far from defeated.

So here I am today, writing this blog, indebted to Janice Gable Bashman. I also have to thank that little voice inside me (incidentally, I visualize him as someone wearing a tux) who keeps telling me to get up while he dabs a cold, wet towel on my face, encouraging me to turn my wounds into energy. As I rise up to the challenge and go back on the street, I wonder what the world has in store for me.

I am from a small island called Singapore, and at the local bookstores here, you’ll find many self-published materials by “local authors.”  I wasn’t prepared to join that parochial category. A US author asked me why I didn’t think of self-publishing in this borderless, digital age. I replied that I had a point to make — my manuscript is good enough to be hailed by a respectable publisher.  Besides, I was a no name from a little island. So I needed credibility to introduce my novel.

And it came as a shock to me when I received blurbs from published authors, including two New York Times bestselling authors.  I knew, inside me, that I had something. But where did I find the nerve to write to these published authors to ask for blurbs?

No doubt, writing can be a daunting effort. It’s actually very scary to put down your thoughts on paper. It’s more scary to expect that your words will be worthy of someone else’s time and attention. I guess you have to believe in yourself. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a “TKO.”  Writing a manuscript is like being in a boxing ring. You need the eye of a writer…  and the thrill to write. Do you have it?

Khaled Talib is the author of SMOKESCREEN, an espionage thriller that draws a variety of inspiration, from the infamous Lavon Affair (“Operation Susannah”), a failed Israeli covert operation in Egypt, the Jewish state’s role in shaping Singapore’s army to the bombing of the island’s oil refinery by a Palestinian group, and the United States’ position on the question of Palestine. Born and raised in Singapore, the 48-year-old is a Public Relations Practitioner who began his writing career in journalism. He has written for magazines, newspapers and news syndications. His career also took him to Cairo, Egypt where he reported for Egypt Today before becoming editor of Cairo’s Community Times.  He tweets @KhaledTalib


  1. What a great post. Very inspiring. And nice to see you getting this exposure.

  2. Thanks, Shehanne.

  3. Pingback: Smokescreen | Typhoon Media

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  5. This is such a great post; thanks for sharing your inspiring thoughts Khaled.

    I loved when you wrote, “Although I am wounded, I am far from defeated.” I haven’t submitted my novel for review yet; however, when the time comes, I will be prepared for the worse. I’ve written other works under a pen name but this will be my first debut novel.

    You are absolutely right… as writers, we can not give up. Whether it’s the big boxing title we wish to have or because it makes us happen to get up and do it every single day of our lives, it is our passion. And someday, our passion will be rewarded.

  6. It is interesting to me that writers come in so many various ways to their craft. We see the writing process in different ways…I thank you for putting your own answer about the process out there for others. You do indeed have “the eye of the writer”.

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