COURTESY OF SOLEN AREF
Solen Aref always knew writing was her passion, but what inspired her to publish her writing came from her faith and culture.
Aref, junior broadcast news major, was raised in a Kurdish household, where she was fortunate to be able to learn and speak the language, which ultimately led to her finding her passion.
“Being Kurdish inspires me daily,” Aref said. “It’s a culture that comes from a history of very, very strong women. Whenever I feel uninspired, I can always tap into my culture because there is so much to learn.”
Aref read stories and found encouragement from both her Kurdish culture and Muslim faith that helped her realize her fascination with storytelling.
“Islam has so many stories,” she said. “My faith is the biggest thing that grounds me and it’s a good reminder that God’s got it and he has a hand over everything.”
Aref has been writing privately for years, but it was not until 2020 that she felt compelled to release her stories to the public.
After working on an online blog for almost a year, Aref published her first post in 2021.
“When I started my blog, I started it on blind faith,” Aref said. “I prayed over it and I knew that even if I never got my blog up, I am going to put my faith in it.”
Aref’s blog is called “Sincerely Solen” and features all kinds of stories about her life and experiences. She uses her faith to produce her best work for her audience. She draws lessons from her faith to write honest pieces, which aren’t always easy to share.
“My faith has inspired me to be honest and truthful in anything I share on my blog,” Aref said. “The Quran has all these stories of people’s truth, and it was not always pretty. That’s the thing that binds us all, there is so much to take from those writings.”
Aref strives to write stories for all audiences and hopes to appeal to all ages.
“I love reading other people’s work and experiences because it makes me feel like I’m not alone,” Aref said. “When I put something out there, I love knowing that people can relate to it.”
Her love for writing led Aref to her broadcast news major, where she hopes to continue telling her stories.