Onto the little things of joy first - well, the first one of it! Guess what?!
Sandcastles went all the way up to the Shortlist for ARL Literary Awards for Best Author, 2018. Being one among the last five to compete for the award among a hundred and more titles is the best thing to happen to this debut novel of mine!
Here goes the Certificate of Appreciation for getting nominated!
Some Rant and Don'ts!
Although I have had a few moments of glory and pride this past month, I had been overworked and slightly off the grid due to personal reasons. Writing fell back really bad and my work in progress was literally crawling on all four. These episodes are a part of my life and I do get over it from time to time. And this time, when I finally felt better, I wrote a short piece about why it is okay to be depressed at times and how it feels during such phases.
I, for one, have been at it since long. Perhaps since my late teens. And poetry and writing in general was catharsis and therapy for me. Major life changes can be huge setbacks when we are in a position facing it. And here's my two cents about what someone who goes through such a major life change and is having a hard time adjusting to it and even accepting it, doesn't want from you:
This does away with almost everything you would try with someone who is depressed. And you are probably wondering, well, what is this woman thinking? Or why is this woman thinking for us?
I am thinking for myself. And giving you the shoes you need to wear before you jump the gun with solutions to other people's problems (which is a sugarcoated form of judging). Here's what works almost always:
Respect their spatial needs. Be there when they ask for it - that is if you want to be.
Well, now, peace!
The Art of Acceptance - there's my latest article on Acceptance and Contentment at The Post India published today. Give it a read although mostly, I wrote it as self-help. ;) What if it helped one more person? :)
And the next best thing to happen was....
Recently, I embarked on one of my all time dreams - apart from being an author - I started painting. I always cowered from getting to know the canvas, brushes and paints like acrylics and oil paints. I confined to the limitations of sketching pencils, colour pencils and lately a bit of oil pastels. When I finally touched the canvas with paints, the unwinding effect of using art for therapy was immense. Believe me, splashing some colours really does away with some amount of distraught when you are not at your prime. And when the writer's block (yes, it happened) came up very badly, this helped to purge. That is my first seascape. :) Pretty rad for starters, right? Checkout my instagram (click the icon on top or bottom of the site) for my previous works. New ones on the way!
So that's about the news. I post all updates on Social Media on a regular basis. However, getting around to writing a blog post is still a monthly or longer process for me. But then, my current project is progressing very well and I am racing towards the end of it.
As usual, however, reading is falling behind. And now I've got one more thing to do - art. Whatever it takes to fill the emptiness inside. :)
Have a lovely day ahead, all!
Love and peace,
Latest article: The Art of Acceptance
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.
It's fun to dabble with some art once in a while. So, I did this slight makeover to the website today to fix a few technical errors, update the stuffs, links etc. And also to change the header image to one with better clarity.
So what do you guys think about this new look? :) Fresher?
The former look had a dark look to it. Now, that's not me.
It's getting late but let me know how the site looks now.
Meanwhile, about the blog at the end of this website named 'The Writeous Way' is still under planning. Hence, no updates and in the midst of it, I landed a content writing job at a great digital marketing agency. Now, dreams of books and getting published apart, that is one dream down.
And I realized:
Most of the unhappiness in the world is coming from people who are in the wrong jobs or fields.
I derived it from how happy I felt when I am doing something I love, at the professional level. So far. Not that I was ever forced to pursue something I had no passion for. But yes, settling for something, choosing something and achieving something have all the difference in the world.
Okay, right now, I am thinking why I have not been writing here often enough. I have been busy. The kid is rampant often and my days are defined by the volume level of my worried screams and the number of heartbeats I miss. I guess that's pretty clear for an excuse.
The other excuse being it's almost midnight and my little bubbz is being my mommy (putting up with my crap, staying up with me) and well... doodling all over her limbs with a ball pen!
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.