Shahida Arabi, An Intellectual Writer And Creative Powerhouse

What would you say if you were asked to describe your “job” to someone? Creative researcher, intuitive content creator, and quote hustler.

What are the main things that you do during the day? I write articles, create content for my social media platforms, do a lot of research on the topics I am interested in, brainstorm new ideas and obsessively update Quote Catalog. I am a huge fan of collecting and curating quotes, especially for a researcher or author I admire. I am also always on the lookout for any writers or researchers that I think would be great to syndicate or invite to write for Thought Catalog.

Describe how a typical morning starts out for you when you’re working. The first few things I usually do is check my social media platforms to see any feedback on an article I’ve posted, followed by checking Slack to see if there are any updates or new projects. Then I get my caffeine fix and work on new articles (or refine existing drafts).

Coffee, tea, or something else? Coffee, coffee and more coffee please! I am a coffee addict and everyone who knows me has urged me to get help. However, I have been slowly starting to replace some of my daily red eyes with green tea and black tea instead.

How do you structure your time? I make sure I incorporate some time solely focused on writing and doing research. I tend to update and check my social media platforms throughout the day because that’s where I get a lot of reader questions and feedback. I love engaging with people who read my work. I also spend most of the time brainstorming if I am not working on a particular article. That being said, I like my time best unstructured so that I am free to follow whatever inspiration I get. If I am not feeling particularly inspired, I’ll do something that helps me get inspired or work on other projects.

Do you work 9 to 5 or something like it? Why or why not? I feel like I always work 24 hours because I am either writing or thinking about writing! I am SUCH a natural night owl and some of my best ideas have come to me during the wee hours of midnight. You can pretty much reach me ANY time of night or day because of that. However, I try to prioritize getting up in the morning to ensure that anything that needs to be done during normal business hours is done. From 9-5, I am usually working on whatever is the priority of the day – whether that means writing or editing an article, finding creative ways to promote those articles or creating a quote collection.

What’s something you do that takes up the bulk of your time? Reading. Whether it be re-reading drafts I’ve written and seeing what can be improved or reading fascinating research for inspiration, a lot of my writing process includes reading what’s out there so I can incorporate it into my own work.

What’s something about your workday that you think would surprise people? It’s never the same every day, but I always try to incorporate some form of exercise in the day because I find it makes me a MUCH better writer and just a happier person in general. I am lucky to live within walking distance of Central Park as well as the pier so I love taking walks in nature when the weather is nice or going to my building’s gym when it’s cold. It refreshes me and I can write at a much higher quality because of it. Or even just taking a mini-vacation from writing can give my brain a much-needed reset. One day I might be spending most of my time writing, another day I might be spending most of my time getting ‘prepared’ to write.

What do you find the most stressful when working? To be honest, having to deal with anything that detracts from the writing process can potentially be stressful! I prefer spending my time fully absorbed in writing when I have a great idea. When I am feeling very inspired, my full focus has to be on the article, otherwise, I find I can get sidetracked.

What’s your favorite thing about being in a creative industry? Getting to interact with readers who resonate with my work and also connecting with other awesome creatives! Doing soul-fulfilling work that helps others and making the most of out of my skill sets is amazing too – I am very grateful to be able to do so.

How does your day usually wrap up? It differs day to day — sometimes I end my day by responding to readers, and other days I end my day by creating a new article draft or putting up some quotes. And, if it’s been a particularly jam-packed day, I’ll usually end my day with an episode of my favorite television series and some red wine or chocolate to reward myself.

List between 5 and 8 things that you absolutely cannot make it through a workday without. An obscene amount of coffee.

1. Time meditating or reflecting.
2. A walk in nature or a run on the treadmill.
3. A few hours alone without speaking to anyone.
4. Some time connecting with and engaging with my readers.
5. A break to look up funny memes, videos or articles — laughter is medicine.
6. A fascinating piece of research from a credible source. [cw-mark]