Tag Archives: Writing

Non-NaNaWriMo Update

Hey folks!

Hopefully, you guys are doing well since we last met. Things are looking up at my side also. I am sorting through the priorities of life.

Priorities is a funny thing. It’s amazing how something that we hold important or exciting today is no longer important or exciting after some time. Back in 2015, when I had first started the blog, the one and only thing in my mind was to set up an author’s platform. My aim was to get published, as soon as possible, through traditional means. I focused less on college work and more on the book I was writing at the time. Once published, I would check the KDP Dashboard daily to see how I was doing on the sales front.

Almost 3 years later, my goals have changed again. My blog, to an extent, explains the shift in priorities.

Now, I am earning and almost on the verge of paying off the student loan that had been weighing on my mind ever since I went to college. I have also started investing money in mutual funds – which is another thing that is occupying my mind, because I am trying to understand how the money market works. Financial security is one of the biggest priorities for me right now.

Priorities have also shifted towards health. I would look at myself carefully in the mirror and take a mental note of losing inches from the waistline. I have started spending time on the treadmill and adopted healthier eating habits.

Some of my girl friends are getting married (the boys still have a bunch of years to roam free), so marriage also has come up in the list of priorities. I am still trying to understand what I expect out of relationships and how to find the person who I can spend the rest of my life with.

Besides that, for the first time in my life, I have an option to do the things the way I want to do, thanks to the financial security. I am no longer dependent on my parents for money. So, I want to give travelling a chance. I have been planning in my mind to go to Mumbai. My brother, who is studying in Kolkata, might end up visiting the city late December/early next year. If he comes, I might go visit him and the city for a weekend. I have never been, even though I have family in Mumbai. So I am really looking forward to it. I have also started planning a list of places that I want to visit on the trip. Let’s see!

NaNoWriMo, of course, has taken a backseat. I don’t have enough ideas to finish what I started. I might get back to it for a bit when towards later this month, if I find some catchy idea to work on. Besides that, I do not see any progress on that front. However, the good thing is, I have something beautiful started through the NaNo project this year. Hopefully, through the course of the next few months, I will be able to finish it, and publish it sometime in 2018. I still have a vague goal of publishing a book per year.

That’s about it in this post – I really need to go get ready for office right now.

Until later, enjoy and live your life guilt-free! ❤

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Update #3

Okay, I am feeling guilty as anything. It’s been two days since I have not written a word for NaNo. I already feel that I am out of the competition. Sigh!

So, here’s what happened: I have been doing great until two days ago. I had some nice story ideas and the words just kept flowing. I asked myself, “Is there really something called a writer’s block? Doesn’t feel like it!”

And here I am, two days later, literally searching for something to write about. The point is, I do not have a good story idea yet. An idea is like the spark to a lamp – if I have a nice idea, I can keep writing for hours. But, if not, I do not know what to do.

Through this project, I wanted to bring out the city of Bangalore, as I have experienced it. This is the first time any city has featured so prominently in any of my writing. It also happens that right now I am binge-exploring Bangalore. When I had first come here, with little money and even lesser self-confidence, I could not afford to travel much. This weekend, I made a list of at list twenty places to see within the city. I am excited about travelling extensively throughout the remaining of 2017 and through 2018.

I just hope inspiration strikes me sometime soon and my digital ink is flowing again. If you have any tips, please feel free to share!

Until later, keep writing and inspiring others! ❤

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Update #2

Hola writers and novelists and readers of the blog!

I am back again with another update on my WriMo progress. It’s November the 9th and I am done with the 15K words, very much in line with the goal on the ninth day.

Eight out of the nine days I have been able to complete the daily goal of 1,667 words, except November 7th, when I had gone to visit the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore (I might cover that in another post – let me know in the Comments if you are interested). Primarily, idea is spending more time in solo travel in the coming days and I wanted to make the start from places within Bangalore. There is a lot to Bangalore that I am yet to see and I am looking forward to cover them in 2018.

Okay, back to the writing update now: I am done with two short stories (spanning 6K and 4K words) and am working on the third, which I actually began before the 4K story, but is not complete yet. I am confident, at this rate, I would be able to complete the 50K goal with as many as ten stories. I don’t have ideas fleshed out for all the remaining seven stories yet (have only two more ideas left in my bucket list) and I am constantly looking out for inspiration to strike me. In fact, my Nov. 7th travel plans inspired the third story, which I started writing after putting a temporary pause on the second one.

In the past, whenever I have written stories, I have mostly completed them in a day. I find the process of writing a short story over a course of three to four days very helpful. First, it helps me get out the rut of being the the same characters’ skin for too long a time – I have noticed the plot points tend to suck and I end up beating about the bush too much if I am writing continuously for a long period. On the other hand, a day gives me fresh perspective and new ideas to fill my stories with. Because of my full-time job, I work with a lot of different people, coming across multiple viewpoints and thoughts around the clock. This helps me see life in a different way every single day. All these experience enrich me and by extension, my writing. Sometimes, I find the reflection of the current character I am writing in a coworker. Sometimes, I find a suitable dialogue for my character while I am in the elevator. This has helped me a lot in layering the characters. A charater who started out as docile will suddenly show streaks of mischief because I am in a different mood the next day.

As of work, we had somewhat of a kickoff call on the new project yesterday night. The pressure has not yet started building in and probably won’t as well for most of November, which only helps my cause of NaNoWriMo.

Fortunately for me, I have a senior team lead in the new project, which leaves me with a lot of time to focus on the details of my work instead of worrying about management. I am truly starting to think of it as a bliss. I had been leading a team of four people in my last account and it had kind of thrown me in a dump. It took me a long time to get over the emotional tiredness that the engagement has caused me. Right now, I find myself with a newly-found freedom at work, to do the things that I have always wanted to do.

Meanwhile, I am also continuing with the regime of exercises and good food at home. Any kind of routine makes me feel good about myself: the fact that I was able to get back to my word count yesterday after I staggered on Nov. 7th made me feel so much confidence yesterday.

It is incredible how much a day’s work can do for you: be it in your writing project, or your day job or your exercise routine. If, at the beginning of November, someone asked me to give them a book of 50K words by the end of the month, I would be like, “Are you kidding me?” But everyday, as I spend an hour on writing and consistently meet the daily word count, it feels as if the book is writing itself, without much effort from my side.

How’s November treating you guys? Let me know your NaNoWriMo progress in the Comments below.

Until later, keep at whatever you are doing one day at a time! I will bring you the next update soon! ❤

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Update #1

Hello fellow Wrimos, planners and pansters!

How is November treating you so far? It’s fifth of November and I just finished my daily quota of writing for the day. Currently, I am on 9K words. Yes, you read that right! I completed 9,000 words already! Yay!

As I mentioned in my last post, I am not working on a novel this NaNoWriMo. I am working on a compilation of short stories. I am done with #1 and currently working on #2. Initially, the target was to write stories of around 2K words. I overshot the target by 4K in the very first story (so it ended up being ~6K). The second one is already around 2K and it has quite some way to go.

Overall, I am really loving the experience. I am glad that I am still going strong in the daily target. I am especially happy because, I have been down with a viral infection and had been feeling very poorly until yesterday and even then I made sure I finish my daily quota.

The coming week might prove to be a little more challenging because my new project at work commences tomorrow and it can make my schedule go awry. But I am determined to be disciplined this November and really end on a good strong count.

In fact, this year, I feel much more confident as a writer than I ever previously have. A lot of that can be attributed to the variety of experience I have had this year which has made me a strong person and also brought me in contact with a lot more people. I am hoping it will make my writing only more nuanced. Besides, it had been some time since I had really bothered to sit down everyday and do some writing – I had been out of practice since Camp NaNoWriMo in April ’17, so it’s great to be back to the habit.

How’s it going for you guys? Are you going strong? Are you facing any roadblocks? Are you taking part in any of Virtual Write-Ins on Youtube/NaNo website? Let me know in the Comments below. I am excited to be part of this journey together!

Until later, write more, because we live to tell stories! ❤

NaNoWriMo 2017!

Hola novelists!! It’s less than an hour for NaNoWriMo to start. I hope you all have your plots, character sketches and outlines ready. How long has it been for you prepping for the start of November? How long have you been waiting for this day to arrive?

Ask me!

Unlike the last couple of years, I did not even remember NaNoWriMo arriving until last week. Needless to say, I have zero outline/plot/character sketch.

What I have currently are rough ideas for three short stories. So, I am going to cheat a little and go ahead with the idea of creating a short story compilation this NaNoWriMo. I am looking at 15 stories right now as a target, each approximately 2,000 words – so that totals to 30K. Yes, I am not planning on winning NaNoWriMo! I am focusing only on Writing Month for now. Those of you who have been followers of my blog from its early days know that I started this journey with the aim of writing more and more fiction. The idea was to use this blog as an author platform.

However, close to three years since I started this blog, I find myself going more and more personal in my entries, which have made this blog more of a personal journal than an author’s blog. I cannot promise that it will change too much in the next few months, but I do want to get back to writing more fiction.

The idea has always been to publish one book per year. Early this year, I published How I tamed the dragon named fear, a non-fiction on overcoming fear. It’s not been as successful as my first book, Bound by Life, a compilation of short stories. I have also tried my hand at multiple novels – none of which ended in a complete draft.

Yet, for quite a few days, I have been finding a strong urge within myself to form stories, and short stories are my natural way of self-expression. For those of you who’re interested, here’s a small one I shared on the blog earlier.

I will be back with more updates throughout November on how the book is going. But before I end, I want to give you guys a sneak peek into what I want this book to be:

“A collection of urban short stories, with a tinge of day-to-day humor.”

Until later, write more, stay creative! ❤

Day 28: Camp NaNo Winner

It’s 28th day of April and I am pleased to announce that I met my goal of 50K words today. I am a winner! Drumrolls!!

Camp-2017-Winner-Facebook-Cover

My book, however, is far from complete. I still have 30K odd words to write before I can call it a finished first draft, but this is the first time I have been able to complete at least 60% of my novelling goal.

Congratulations to all fellow Campers who took part in Camp NaNo this April. Whether or not you met you goal, I am sure you spend time thinking about your writing project. Maybe you didn’t end up writing anything/writing only a little in the end, but the fact that you signed up for Camp is proof that you’re one step closer to your writing goals. Keep the spirit of the Camp alive in your heart and keep writing! To all the others who met their goals, when is the book launch party?

Here are a couple of things that helped me reach my goal:

  • An week of outlining – I was never someone who plotted before starting a project. I tried writing novels multiple times, but in the middle of a project, I wouldn’t know what to write anymore. Having an outline helped greatly. I spend the last week of March writing down the outline in a small pad. I didn’t follow it word by word, though – but in general, the theme remained same
  • A strong start – The fact that April 1 and 2 were weekends helped. I am not someone who writes everyday, so the two day warm up gave me a head start. I wrote around 5K on the first day itself. Once the habit formed, I found it easy to keep writing everyday
  • Writing almost everyday – I wrote for 25 out of 28 days in April. That is a big deal for someone who doesn’t write daily. I used to write in office every day after lunch – treating it as important as my other activities. I think once you get into the mode of writing daily, it is easy to keep up with the habit
  • Great cabin partners – As I have mentioned before, I was part of an amazing cabin this month. There were some really motivated people in there who kept going on towards their goal at an amazing pace. That boosted my writing like nothing else

That’s it for now. I guess I will go watch an episode of The Mentalist before I hit the bed. If you have some tips/learnings from your Camping experience, feel free to share in Comments below.

Until later!

 

Day 16: Camp NaNo (April)

Lots happened since the last post, not just in terms of writing, but my personal life as well.

Today was Day 16 of Camp NaNo. Sometime this week, I upped my NaNo goal from 25K to 50K. Unlike NaNo in Nov ’15, I find myself much more disciplined this year. I have been writing almost daily and have mostly been ahead of my daily goal. I try to get a lot of the writing done on the weekends – because the weekdays are too unpredictable.

Thankfully, I have managed to write for about 30 minutes after lunch during work days as well. I think of it like an extended lunch break. At any rate, I do not have much of a life outside of work, so the writing bit keeps me sane.

I am currently at 32K words, pretty close to my target of 50K (yes, having written 32K, 18K feels like a cakewalk). So far, I am proud of what I have achieved in terms of my current project. I have never been this far into any novel. I am almost halfway through the story of Sukriti – a housewife whose husband is alcoholic and whose young daughter blames her for everything that is wrong in the family. The second part of the book will be from the daughter’s POV. For some reason, I feel writing the daughter’s POV is going to be more challenging for me that the mother’s. Somehow, inside my head, I can feel Sukriti, understand her motives. I do not know yet if I understand her daughter, Maya, so well.

I have to outline her side of the story soon, because I see myself reaching the finish line with the mother’s POV soon. And unless I have a plan for the daughter’s POV, I am going to be stuck and the word count will suffer.

On the personal front, I have been going through some tough times. Had to take a hard decision in terms of relationships this week. So far, I stand by my decision and I hope that I will see myself through it.  I need some big changes in my life right now.

Thankfully, I spoke to a lot of people this weekend, which helped me keep my mind off the immediate worries. I spoke to a lot of people who I had not spoken in a long, long time. So that way, good things are happening.

When I was younger, I was okay with loneliness. I even cherished the silence around me. I cherish it now as well. But as I move into my twenties, I realize that I am craving relationships and support more. I feel the need to connect to people, speak to them and be in touch.

Hopefully, I will be at a better place by the end of this year – have some clarity in terms of what I want to do with my life.

What’s up at your end? Did you visit some new place this weekend? Tried out some new dish? Share with me bits and pieces of your life in the Comments below. Like I said, it feels great to be connected.

Day 8: Camp NaNo (April)

It was a good first week of Camp NaNo. I am slightly over halfway through my goal for this April: 25K. I wrote about 1.9K words today. Will be doing some more writing in the evening. By the end of the weekend I expect to have at least 75% of the goal done. Besides, I am having a really good time in the Camp. We are a bunch of pretty active people: I love to log in to the NaNo website and see how have the word counts changed for my fellow campers. It a very fulfilling experience. Besides, we have some very good conversations going on, which I find very educating.

The book I am currently writing is about a two women: a mother and a daughter. There will be two different POVs set in two different time frames. The daughter’s POV is based on present times. When I set out to writing this for this NaNo, I did not intend to go beyond 25-30K. I have faced difficulties writing too long books with my last two books as well – and for me anything to write beyond 20K sounds too long.

However, today I was researching popular word counts and it appears that for a novel, 80K is the commercial standard. I am a little uncomfortable with that because I don’t know if I have enough to say in a book to make it 80K words long. At best, I am targeting 60K words. Would publishers even consider me? Haha.

Thing is if I at all complete this book, I will have completed 3 books in total. And for this 3rd book, I am actually considering being published traditionally. I have published two books directly through Amazon KDP program. I have realized that as a writer, at the moment I want to focus on bettering my writing skills. I require more time to understand my own writing: identify strengths and weaknesses and work accordingly. Besides, being accepted at a major publishing house is a validation of sorts. It is less about the money I make than the fact that somebody considers my writing good enough to put into publishing.

When I started outlining the book in the last week of March, I was thinking of going the self-publishing way only. But as I progress into the story and the word counts pile, I feel like if I am able to manage a decent word count and finish a story which feels complete when read, why shouldn’t I really go to a traditional publisher and try out my luck?

Well, wish me luck! Will keep you posted on whatever happens.

An afternoon at home

I am sitting on the tiny balcony, an Oscar Wilde book in my hand. The air, until a little while ago, was smelling sweetly of pomelo flowers. Very sweet indeed!

Then there was this smell of dust. It is that time of the year when the roads are sandy, dusty and they soil your feet. I find it hard to breathe. There is some dog smell also.

A cuckoo is cooing sweetly, while the crows caw.

There are tiny kids playing cricket on the dusty playground few feet across. I watch the child, a girl or a boy, I do not know. They are at that age where you do not get to know what the sex is from afar, when there are no curves in the body and the hair is boyishly short. I watch the kid, smartly posing as the ball comes, bending the knees like a professional would. Impressive, I think. Myself, I have always been afraid of being the batsman in a game of cricket, afraid of embarassing myself by not hitting the ball once.

Sunlight vanishes as I write this. Conch shells are being blown by the women. Mosquitoes are nagging at my legs, time to go inside.

For years, I have sat on this balcony. When I was younger, this hour would mean the hour of light snacks and getting back to the heavy books – physics or maths. Today, I really don’t have much to do. Today, I am a grown woman visiting home on a vacation. There are only couple of days till I get back to my real life, my work life. Until then, I wish to soak in the smells, the sights and the sounds of this hour. Like a much cherished pickle, for another desolate afternoon, in a city eons away from here.

Advance Reader Copy: How I Tamed the Dragon Named Fear

I am ready with the first draft of my second ebook, titled How I Tamed the Dragon Named Fear! It is a non-fiction self-help book with an autobiographical element. The theme is fear and how we can handle it.

Before I embark on another round of edit of the book, I thought it would be best to get some feedback. I want to understand if the book is working the way I want it to – and what better way than actually have some people read it!

Hence, I will be giving out Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of the book next Monday (Dec 19). An ARC is not necessarily the final version of the book that will get published. The idea behind ARCs is to get a feel of the reader’s reaction to the book and based on the feedback, make additional changes. I hope with the feedback that I will get through the ARCs, I will be able to make some important changes.

So if you’re interested and would like a copy, please let me know in the form below. In the comment, please mention the following:

  • why are you interested in reading this book?
  • the preferred format in which you’d like the book (pdf/epub)
  • the date by when you will be able to share your feedback with me

Look forward to your hearing from you!