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
Summer has rolled in all of a sudden here in Kerala, erasing the wintry chill without a trace. Even the night air is warm and the days are burning sunny. At times, cool breezes blow in and one such breeze held this awesome news that an author can only sometimes dream of!!!
Sandcastles was published on November 30th, 2018 - just eligible by hairline luck to be submitted for participation in ARL Literary Award 2018 - a new award launched in 2018 for various categories like Best Author, Best Debut Author, Best Poet, Most Popular Book, Most Influential author etc for books published between January 2016 and November 2018. Sandcastles being a debut novel, I submitted it under Best Debut Author Category and Best Author Category, to test myself. Well, guess what?
Sandcastles has secured a place in the ARL Literary Award 2018 for Best Author Longlist announced on February 10th, 2019!!!
Can you believe it? Sometimes I can't but maybe, you should check out the book for yourself and decide. ;)
I will be back soon - as soon as possible, that is - with some points on writing. Day before yesterday, I had an interactive session to talk about my journey to Sandcastles in the monthly meet up of The Wordsmiths Club in Calicut. In the quaint seaside Bokchoy Beach Cafe, overlooking the Calicut beach, it was a warm gathering of word lovers. However, time
constraints made me skip elaborating on writing techniques and much more.
So, soon I will be doing a few posts on what I think can push you into writing better, writing regularly and effectively. Let's see how it can fare. Yeah?
Reading Now: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Writing Now: The Storyteller
So long! Have a great week !
I know I'm not a very regular person when it comes to blogging. But then, I do juggle a lot everyday. And with Instagram and Facebook page presence, everyday, there is a kind of microblogging. But I got a few moments today and thought, I might as well tell here what I have been telling for a week. Just for the record. :)
The largest book fair in India has commenced - Delhi World Book Fair at Pragati Maidan witnesses around 25K footfalls every day of the fair. This year, it is from 5th to 13th January, 2019.
Sandcastles is shelved there and whoever's roaming the place, do get to the stall of Kharidobecho book shopping stall - Stall 78, Hall 12, Pragati Maidan.
On January 13th, I will be out there as well, from 11 AM to 1 PM, signing books and chatting. Looking forward to meeting y'all whoever's going to be there.
Reviews have begun coming in. A few book bloggers are on Sandcastles and they have had the sweetness to give me honest reviews full of love for the book. Check out the first few reviews here. Organic, unpaid reviews in return for a free review copy - totally at their disposal. :)
Well, that's about news!
Further, for the convenience of those who have any difficulties placing your order for Sandcastles at the publisher's store, I have whipped up a simple order form on this website to place your order and make your payment through secure methods like Paytm QR Code, BHIM UPI, PayPal or Direct Bank Transfer (IMPS or NEFT) without any extra steps. All you would need is Paytm, BHIM UPI or mobile banking linked to your bank account which enables easy transactions through mobile apps.
I have also added a column asking to enter the account holder name or account number or your UPI ID, so that I can confirm who made payments so as to process the orders. So ensure you enter all details correctly including the choice of payment method and you are done. Alternatively, you can opt for COD (Cash on Delivery) which will be done through VPP, but with a considerable delay since I will have to wait for the books to arrive from the publisher.
So if you are not in Delhi, go ahead and check out my brand new order form where you can grab it for ₹260 with free shipping. :)
Now, what are you waiting for? ;)
Off with Sunday stuffs now!
Good Morning, World!
And it's a Monday! The most difficult day of the week, I guess. I have to swear by the patience of mothers who send their young kids to school on Mondays. Especially kindergartners who have no idea what time is.
Finally, the book is out and ready to fly into your hands. Officially published on November 30th, 2018, a month later than we had planned, due to many reasons. But there, my dream has come true - to traditionally publish my first novel Sandcastles. Place your orders on the publisher's store to receive it the earliest. We have yet to launch it Amazon and Flipkart.
As for international orders, I am trying to set up my payment portal. Drop me a message on the contact page with your address so that I can get back to you about the shipping processes and all that. We will also make the E-book available for those who prefer that.
The book is a 340 pages long book. Quite on the higher side for a debut novelist. But thanks to my publisher who hauled it onto his shoulders to invest in it. I have ranted and babbled everything about my book on Facebook and Instagram. Do follow me there to see the updates first.
And now, peacefully back to my second work. :)
Meanwhile, I got an opportunity to write for a digital magazine named 'The Post India' last week and they published my article titled 5 Don’ts for Productive Creative Writing. Do give it a read and leave your feedback. As the title suggests, it is a list of don'ts that I have gathered from my own experience to be an effective creative artist - writer or anything.
If not all five, I'm sure you will find at least one point in it that you can relate to or apply in your life, whether you are a struggling writer, a stumped artist, an avid reader having a blank phase or anybody who wants to get work done for that matter. :)
I will be writing more for them. Keep an eye out!
I am still waiting to receive my copies from the publisher - they are on their way.
So much to do once I get them. And happily so.
Sometimes, I sit back, wonder and smile a bit. Wow, finally, I am a published author. How long and hard the journey was, is sometimes beyond one sitting time of thinking. But one thing is for sure - it was all worth it.
I will be back after I receive my books. :) Meanwhile, take a peek at the books piled up here - my publisher sent this picture to me after getting it printed. Thrilled me to see it.
Dreams materialized. What is better than that?! :)
Quite a pile of books, aren't they? ;)
Love from Sana
Keep tabs on my news and updates at:
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!
I am almost talking about revision.
After five years and four rounds of that, this is a friendly definition for revising your writing. This is an abrupt post after an immeasurably (because I don't want to count back) long episode of zero blogging. I was never good at that in the first place. Add to it my hectic, haphazard life (aka backbreaking routine).
I assume that I have a pretty good excuse though.
I have written the most in the past one year since major life changes like marriage, motherhood, medical career etc. From April 2017 until New Year 2018, except for an occasional peep for security reasons, I took a big break - a virtual detox - from Facebook, quite infamous for killing creativity and fuelling poor productivity (realized only when you do geroff), and boy, did it do me a world of good!!!
Amidst all my crazy routine, I wrote more than half a novel, learned the art of micropoetry (that you can find on my Instagram profile @sanarosewrites) and edited my first manuscript with my mentorly friend to the finl draft.
So, seriously, now I have a couple of things I can tell you from my observations:
So, because it is late here and because I'm sleep-deprived always, adieu until next time.
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!
"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 exploring the art of writing and life as a writer amidst other roles through articles on writing, creativity, books, productivity, self-improvement, better living and parenting.