Monday, February 26, 2018

The Five Inspirations: Why Should You Write? Five Authors share what motivates them

Those words are churning inside you. You want to pick up the pen and start writing. You want to rush towards your laptop and start typing those words that keep you awake in the night. 

And then, Life Happens. Your kids need you. Your spouse has some important issues that you must solve. You are working for it's the money earned that puts the butter on your bread. You must.. you must and you must... 

But how long will you ignore that niggling voice that just won't be suppressed? How long will it be before your muse gives up and drifts to trouble another soul? Weeks and months pass and soon the year waves you a goodbye. Yet you have not typed one word on that blank sheet because Life Happened.

A few years pass by and you are sitting in that rocking chair, and you will always wonder - what if? What if you had picked up the pen that day? What if you had let your character have a free reign?

Like any other profession, it's never easy. And that's why I have asked onboard some veteran authors along with those who just took that leap.  I hope their words motivate you as they have motivated me. 

Why did you become a writer? What made you pick up that pen or type your first word?

Deepti Menon, Author of Shadow in the Mirror is one writer who is full of life. According to her, 

Dear Rubina,

How did I start writing? 

As I have often mentioned, the reason I started writing was not an honorable one. There was this so-called friend of mine who would walk into my home at odd hours. She would wave a stack of poems before her favorite teacher, who happened to be my mother. Mom would read through them, and praise them to the skies. Envious to the hilt, I decided that anything this girl could do, I could do better. From then on, I began writing on pieces of paper, serviettes, envelopes and anything I could write on. I was around ten when I wrote my first poem which was titled ‘The Blue Marble’.

How did I feel when I saw my name in print for the first time?

The first time I saw my name in print was when I won an essay competition conducted by the Indian Navy when my father was posted in Vizag. I still remember feeling elated when I was awarded a certificate and a cheque with the princely sum of fifty rupees. :)

However, it was a short story that came out in Woman’s Era that was actually the first time I saw my name in print in a national magazine. I couldn’t believe that I was actually viewing my own words on paper, and that was when I started a scrapbook in which, thereafter, I would stick every piece of my writing that came out in print. I have two huge scrapbooks which have pride of place in my study.
Insecurities and how I overcame them?

Well, there were insecurities aplenty when I began to write, mainly because rejection letters came like a bolt from the blue on a regular basis. Those days, I would send a story or an article to the editor of a magazine, and then wait for days, even months for a reply. For every accepted piece, there would be a number of pieces rejected. Initially, I bit my nails down till I had none left. However, there came a point when I found magazines accepting my stories and my humorous pieces, and I felt that I had succeeded in carving out my niche as a writer.

Even today, when I see my name in print, it makes me do a jig in delight because I love the acrobatics that one can perform with words, writing them down, and erasing them, honing them till they sparkle. I rewrite till I love the final effect, and that, for me, epitomizes the drama of words.

Hahaha. Only Deepti could have said that and here's a secret. I wrote my first poem just to spite my neighbor. We just need the right motivation. :D

And then I had to ask Inderpreet Uppal, Author of GENEROUSLY YOURS: His Gift From Beyond our latest candidate in our writing world. I have seen her journey. Her doubts, her dilemma and as her pen flowed, her confidence rose.  And she says, 

Writing for me is an expression of the desire to share my stories. Not our own but the voices an author hears, the views they hear, the things they see. All of it begs to be written about. To be shared. To shine a light of vivid words that make the mundane shine and the normal become special. The need, the desire and the voice that refuses to stop whispering stories, ideas, love, hate and the plight of our world makes an author pick up that pen.

The author is not one who is an established bestseller but that child in school who writes a story in their lined notebook, misshapen alphabets and sharing it with the teacher. The author is someone who pens their thoughts, ideas, doubts, aspirations, and desires. Diaries, journal, and blogs are all an extension or a beginning of an author.

What drives the best writers and authors in this world moves me as well to pick that pen and scribble my ideas in the middle of the night. To write emails to myself with how my novel will progress. Get sudden solutions to the stalemate in my story while I have mundane conversations with people. The need to tell my story. The urge to share snippets of lives lived and yet to be lived.

I don’t remember a time when I did not write, though they were letters to friends and family. Coming from an army family, I remember my father getting me books whenever he came from his deployment. I remember writing my first letter to him when he was away to a field or non-family station. I remember devouring the books he got and always asking for more. My parents ensured we got books as often as possible and all army stations have a good library so we were never short of a book. By the time I was a teenager I was famous as a marathon letter writer since my snail mails used to be eight to ten pages long. When the letters stopped, I turned to writing diaries; I do it even now occasionally. Now my blog is the space and the books that I keep working on take precedence.

I pick my pen to express what I cannot always speak. I pick the pen to articulate the voices that are not heard. I pick my pen to write my heart out. I just write because the pen drives me.

... and the pen drives me. Beautiful isn't it. Motivated yet? And trust me, such truer words have not existed. 

And then I asked Kiran Manral, author of Saving Maya, the same question. Author of several books, she is an icon who many of the aspiring writers look up to. A social media expert, Kiran Manral is also the founder of India Helps, a network of volunteers who assist disaster victims. And here is what she says:

Why did I first start writing? I can't remember. I can remember though that I was writing stories of princesses fighting off dragons and evil stepmothers and witches in castles and all that my little mind was filled with an even illustrating them, rather well I think in retrospect given I couldn't have been more than six or seven. I was always an avid reader. Other kids asked for toys, I asked for books. My favourite place in the whole wide world to be in was in a library or a bookstore, I could spend hours in a bookstore and I am so grateful that my father and mother were ever indulgent of my obsession with reading. Of course, I ruined my eyes early with it. I would read anywhere and everywhere, in the worst light possible, with a torch under my blanket, in the dim light of the nightbulb when the torch was confiscated, at parties and family get-togethers. I was happiest when I was left alone to read. I think I still am.

I think I first started writing when the stories in my head grew so vociferous that they had to be let out. Writing is a kind of bloodletting, you release what is disturbing you with its insistence, recuperate and then feel the next round of stories building up. As a writer, there are always stories playing out in your mind, some your own, some that come from a place far beyond you which you could even reach if you tried, and some stories you get from the others around you, which have somehow percolated deep into your subconscious and will emerge somehow, at some point in something else you're writing, determined to have their place in the narrative.

Why do I write now? I write because there is nothing else I know to do. I write because I cannot 'not' write. I write because, at the end of the day, I have stories to tell.

"Writing is a kind of bloodletting, you release what is disturbing you with its insistence." Yet another emotion captured as to why you must write if that's your calling. A release from all those pent up emotions, you will be reintroduced to yourself as you grow as a writer. A very profound feeling. 

Shilpa Suraj, I met her online when her book Rescued By Love came out. I am a lover of Romance so how could I not relate to her book.  A wonderful writer, her pen has the passion of young love and the tenderness of the old school charm.  And here is what she had to say:

There’s never been a day in my life when I haven’t had a story to tell. In the whirlwind of personal
and professional commitments that is life, those stories stayed buried in my brain. Until the day I got married.

My husband was doing a six-month promotion course in Chennai and in a burst of newlywed enthusiasm, I decided to take a sabbatical from work and join him. To spend quality time together, to soak in our new relationship, to get to know each other and build a strong, stable foundation for our marriage….you get my drift? I thought it was going to be incredibly romantic. Instead, he was incredibly busy with his studies and I was incredibly bored. After all, there is only so much time I could spend burning food in the kitchen! (P.S – I haven’t improved in this regard.)

So I pulled out my laptop and started typing. And I haven’t stopped since. The stories were always there. I’m just blessed to have the opportunity and means to share them with a much wider audience than I could ever have hoped for.

"Instead, he was incredibly busy with his studies and I was incredibly bored." Didn't I tell you this already? Writing can be your best friend and will help you to improve many relationships. Er.. that is till you don't reach the marketing part. We will get there.. we will get there. 

One of the most motivating writers who has influenced me is Sundari Venkatraman, Author of The Marriage Predicament (The Thakore Royals Book 1) Her writing speed is incredible. Her fan following is huge because she has touched that nerve of the society which we call - emotions. And here is what she has to say:

I have heard of frustration, anger and many other negative emotions giving forth to creativity. It proved to be the truth in my life. I was between jobs and had gone back to being full-time housewife when I became totally bored with life. After working for three years in a school admin, and my kids in their teens, I found that being a homemaker was simply not enough. I was on a slow boil when I got back one fine day from a long walk and began to write. On the very first day, I wrote 14 foolscap pages of my very first novel THE MALHOTRA BRIDE. It pulled me completely out of negativity and I felt reborn.

"I felt reborn." I felt reborn. I have said this so many times aloud that it has now become a mantra for me. This incredible journey is nothing but a journey of finding oneself and when you do take that step then as Sundari says, You feel REBORN. 

So Dear Aspiring Writers, 

These are the women of substance who took it upon themselves to find their niche.  The best way to know them would be to read their work for those are the true inspirations. Pick up your pen and don't waste another moment thinking - Should I? For the only answer you will get from your heart is - Yes You Should. 

Rubina Ramesh
Author of Destined. 

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At February 26, 2018 at 10:06 PM , Anonymous Sundari Venkatraman said...

Thank you Rubina and #TBC. Honoured to be featured here with such awesome authors <3

At February 26, 2018 at 11:22 PM , Anonymous Rubina Ramesh said...

Always a pleasure to have you onboard <3

At February 27, 2018 at 8:23 AM , Anonymous Inderpreet Kaur said...

Thank you so much for featuring me with such stellar company Rubina.
Do honored and humbled to be here.
Thank you #TBC & Rubina.

At February 27, 2018 at 8:51 AM , Anonymous Rubina Ramesh said...

We are all rooting for your journey Inderpeet. You are making us very proud.

At February 27, 2018 at 6:02 PM , Anonymous Ls said...

Very inspiring interview.. loved reading them.

At February 27, 2018 at 6:06 PM , Anonymous Reshma Ranjan said...

The inspiration one needs when one feels like letting go of the pen disheartened. Five ladies absolutely inspiring.

At February 27, 2018 at 9:02 PM , Anonymous Rubina Ramesh said...

Thanks LS :)

At February 27, 2018 at 9:03 PM , Anonymous Rubina Ramesh said...

Aren't they?!! I personally enjoyed every bit.

At March 13, 2018 at 10:10 PM , Anonymous Rajlakshmi said...

I loved how each of them followed their path... Takes a lot of strength and will power to pursue your dreams without fail. They truly are inspiring ��

At March 15, 2018 at 10:49 PM , Anonymous Shilpa Garg said...

Some great food for thought and oodles of inspiration from these young ladies. Thanks for this dose of positivity and nudge that I needed today, Rubina!

At July 23, 2018 at 10:52 PM , Anonymous D. R. Downer said...

Absolutely inspiring article!


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