Today, Sandcastles turned one. And it is sometimes appalling how fast time flies. There is a giveaway contest running on Instagram on the occasion until next weekend, ending on December 7th, 2019.
I created this anniversary trailer today and gave a voice-over for the first time in my life. To be honest, I am very shy when it comes to speaking or facing a camera. So, have not ventured to youtube or IGTV yet. But when I tested this today, for a moment, I felt like, wth, just do it. Go put it out there and there it is! Lol.
So, if you haven't grabbed a copy of Sandcastles yet, take it from me - I may not write like that again. It is my debut work, but there is a compelling passion stitched into its words and pages, when I wrote that book. Those people I lived with for years and some days, I miss them so badly. Even as I wrote my second novel and began the third, I miss being with Selena, Ria, Trisha, Neil and Vincent. I miss those characters who dwelt in me and lived through my fingertips so much like they are family. I miss the Sana who wrote that book as well because these days, my writing and thought process are very different from those days. My themes of interest too have undergone some change although it will always have something to do with childhood, growing up, love, traumas, family and mental health.
My writing rants aside, I have decided to do something through my blog. I get several questions from aspiring writers about writing, mostly about how-to's of which I can only speak from my experience, and much about publishing as well. And it is becoming difficult for me to answer them individually because these topics are unarguably wide.
So now on, each blog post will have something that will help you forward in your journey as a writer - lessons learned, tried and tested tips that work and writing motivation in general. I will also share links to useful articles that have helped me and guided me along the path over the years.
Hence, The Writeous Way shall become true to its name, Insha Allah. :) Are you game?
Of course I will rant at times. But I will do this, too.
So, peeps, what are you reading now? What is you favourite genre? And what do you want to know about writing? Leave your answers in the comments so that I address them in the next post.
Reading Now: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
So until next time, Adieu!
Last year, I took a sabbatical from Facebook, called it a 'virtual detox' and it went on for 7 months. I had written about it in a post about writing here - how it helped me - yeah, it helped me finish half of the first draft of the second book. Later, I had set out on an editing spree with my mentor, kneading, cutting and shaping Sandcastles into a readable,
I had a huge break from that work in progress - the second book - and it really just got stuck for me. For months, I simply didn't even open the file. I wanted to but couldn't.
Often, such writer's block is a lack of courage and sense of direction. I was overwhelmed. I knew the ending. I knew how it went that way. I just had to fill in the pages to reach there as best as I could. But I couldn't write. I let myself loose - tried not to force-write. But once my debut got settled and finally found a home, I began thinking - what next?
I had excuses not to write. I had excuses for everything. I let myself believe those excuses. And then, I realized, excuses were just justifications for lack of priority and not lack of time. And when it comes to writing, I cannot think of it as anything less than a priority. Writing is important to me but I was not getting it done!
I opened the file. I have had change of thoughts and scenes over the time. Even writer's blocks cannot actually interfere with the streaming of the story images in the head. I had to get it out if I wanted to get it read. I discussed the prospectives with my ever-supportive mentor and editor-in-one friend, Prof. Varghese C. Abraham.
This past week, I have been editing and making changes to it with my newfound brilliance. Lol. Yeah, right, wiser as we grow older. :D
Today was a lovely Sunday - one of the most satisfying one I have had in recent times. Low carb cooking is really easy on me. I spent double time on laundry, the semi-automatic washing machine giving me time to edit the manuscript written so far. Around 51K words had been down in it during the virtual detox time. Now it has dropped down to 49K. Now building up again.
And these days, I spend as little time as possible online and definitely, it works. It is a whole globe of distraction away from your brain. But just now, I realized a few things about my writing journey that called to be shared.
1. The writing journey of the first book and that of the second are totally different. A lot of factors differ. Especially the level of passion. Writing is always a passionate affair for me but when I wrote my first book, there was a blissful oblivion, a race against the destiny. I wrote to find the story. I wrote to know what happened to them and that will be obvious to the reader. I was halfway through the book when the real twist of the story flashed to me. It was like being let in on a secret. Discovering a hidden truth. Unraveling it as I wrote. I think that propelled my writing forward.
As for this book, I already know what happened to everybody. I have even the end written (which will change. Sandcastles no more has the same beginning I had written in the first draft - LOL!). I just need to tell the world what happened and why and how. I find myself having to settle down with a sense of purpose now. Nevertheless, it is a story I need to tell and that is keeping me at it. But before I opened the document this time, I made a few changes to the story-line, changed the setting and decided to add and take a few aspects in the story. So, now, it feels like I have to discover how that makes the characters behave. Voila! So, take a detour when you are blocked, writers out there!
2. I chucked my side job - content writing - to become a full-time writer. Horrifying? True that I can't go on an online shopping spree like before when I feel depressed. But that's good - I'm running out space in my room.
The reason was, being a job that took my writing skill, it really meddled between passion and profession. One was love and the other was duty/responsibility or whatever it is. I was constantly in emotional dichotomy. I was always told passion cannot feed me but it looked like for the time being, I had enough food around me.
My medical practice doesn't interfere with writing. It gives me some extra time which may not be easily available at home as a family woman. But when I had pending works and deadlines and when it called for my creativity and writing skills to complete them, it really took a toll on my creative writing.
I realized I was doing neither of them well.
I had to make the cut - now or never. I chose writing over money. I know it is a test of luck but I was more concerned about the test of faith. I had to have faith in my own words. I resigned from the job because whenever I opened worksheets, I felt bad that I was not writing what I wanted to. And whenever I thought of writing my book, I was using the job to excuse myself from my own passion, feeling guilty. I have decided to take my passion as my profession for real now, apart from medicine and psychology.
So here I am, not dichotomied anymore. I killed my excuses and opened my manuscript.
And it feels like heaven. For once, I have done the right thing by myself.
I have taken the writeous way. :)
The only regret is I should have done it earlier. But then, better late than never!
What has been that one decision that changed your life for the better?
Let me know. :)
Reading now: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn.
Just look at that. How the girl rains the sand over her sandcastle. How the sun rises behind her. How lonely she looks. How lovely the cover looks...
This is it materializing. One dream down. 😊
Thanks to some people who made this happen, especially Mr. Devbrat Dubey of Turquoise Publishing, who extended me the traditional contract , believing in my writing.
My author life story is gonna come up here over a few posts. The series will talk about writing techniques, editing tips and some things that a new writer will want to know on the journey from manuscript to book.
Meanwhile, why not pre-order your copy while it is on sale at the publisher's website? Click on the button below this post. If you dig signed copies or reside abroad, kindly get in touch through contact page with your address details.
Show me some love, yeah!
"When the soul was wanderlust, there was only one way to move on - taking the journey. The walk in the desert was a blend of reality and surrealism. Every poem an oasis, but every page a mirage. This shiny blue mirage that drew me in to dive in and quench my parched soul..."
Mirage is love from a safe distance, beauty from within, a relief to the believing eye. Mirage is what keeps the journey going on, for the sake of love and hope. Mirage is 'reflections untouched'...
This is what I think of The Mirage. :)
This is a quick and short announcement post. The Mirage is out. :) Get your copy on Amazon.com. More links later. I got the opportunity to contribute a poem to this lovely book. Thanks to the author Nithin Jacob for that.
No - not a weather update. :)
Finally, the clouds are here, rain-laden, showering upon the parched earth - not voluptuously yet, but with sun-breaks. My own smile blooms in the cool breeze that seeps in through the windows, the cool moisture that makes me feel purified. The air is washed clean. The nights have a lovely chill. I can only say so many words about how much I love the Monsoon. :)
Monsoon is here, but, oh well, I am going through a poetic drought. Seems like I poured out my soul in April during the NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) and since then, it has slowed. Must have written atleast 50 poems in April! But then, the break could be a much needed numbness. Or just plain good old Happiness. The turmoils have calmed down. I might as well find new pastures to explore. And graze. Well, mentally and insight-fully. I have yet to come up with something for a poetry anthology by June 10th.
The Songs of Motherhood series I am writing is awaiting another poem, while I am chasing my increasingly fast, quite stubborn but sweet little toddler around the house. I would compare the process to the typewriter that moves tuk-tuk-tuk to the right, is pushed back to the left for the next line. Being specific is a great thing, but when a toddler is specific, there is only so much you can do. She just turned 21 months old.
Recently, I got an invite to contribute a poem to a poet friend's upcoming collection titled The Mirage. NJ (Nithin Jacob) is a poet who wears his heart in his words - no facade between them. And his first novel is coming up, too. Soon. The Mirage is due this month. :) My poem 'The Elysium' comes in it.
A little slow on reading but still on Em and the Big Hoom.
Have been working some.
Watched The Green Mile, Into the Wild (2007) and Forrest Gump recently. And the classic American Beauty (1999) this afternoon.
Into the Wild needs a whole another post for introspection and discussion. Hopefully, the next. :) American Beauty and Forrest Gump, too. But I am sure my thoughts on them are not necessary because they are already established as classic, I was just a little late to catch them.
Next on the list are Blue Valentine (2010), Spellbound (Alfred Hitchcock's 1945 movie) and some fun ones like Laggies. Between, yes, this is still a writer's blog. I'm just warming up and will surely get there soon. When I have the news rolling in. :)
P. S. Repost because the Weebly Android App didn't work right. Had issues with editing, date, etc. So back to the laptop.
A blog on the art of writing and life as a writer.