Let's pass it on now. But to whom, ho, that's the question? Five bloggers, at least, are the instructions.
How about chandni, mandira, Aneela, roop and Perakath? Take it away, ladies. And P.
In other news, a bit of attention came my way recently when an interview of mine appeared in New Woman magazine. The article, written by our very own Kiran Manral covers dream careers and ways to get there.
Here's a scanned picture and since you cannot make a single word out because we have scanned it badly and then not edited it, the interview follows.
(Honestly, I am a little stunned that I am giving career advice to other folks but well, what is life if not full of surprises? Just a figurative question, you don't actually need to answer it.)
HOW PARUL SHARMA MADE THE SWITCH
Parul Sharma quit her job as a market researcher to get into writing full time.She recently had her first book, Bringing up Vasu, published and is now working on her third book. She studied Economics at Delhi University, and post-graduated from the Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad. A string of jobs in brand communication followed before she decided to return to what she loves best : writing.
What made you decide to switch to writing full time from market research?
Writing full-time was something that I always wanted to do but circumstances did not permit it for many years. Finally, as I approached my thirtieth birthday, I realized that a corporate life would never allow me the kind of environment and time that I needed to write. With an express promise from my husband that he would not let me starve, I quit my job and started work on my first manuscript.
Did you do any research/ preparation, etc, before you took the plunge?
Well, no, not really. If I had found out too much, I don't think I would have had the courage to do it.
Were there doubts, misgivings?
Oh yes, more than my fair share. I regularly had serious attacks of anxiety and panic, with 'what have I done' running as the background score. In fact, because I was so unsure of where and how it would all go, I continued to freelance as a market researcher, not wanting to let go of that option so completely that I could not return to it if I failed at writing. Whenever I had these phases, I wrote.
Did you have to train in any way?
No but I did write a blog for writing practice. I still do.
Did you put aside a "nest egg" before quitting full time work, and was
going back to work an option?
I did have some savings but more than that, I had my husband's assurance that he would look after the family's needs while I pursued my dream. Also, I continued to freelance till I finally had my first book deal in hand. Yes, I would have gone back to market research if this had not worked out. I quite enjoyed it, just not as much as I do writing.
Did you set yourself a deadline?
Yes, I wanted to give it a full year of concerted effort.
What tips do you have for folks who want to get into writing full time?
Treat writing as work. Just like one gets up in the morning and goes to office, you need to show up at your writing table. There will be good days and bad days, just like in any 'regular' work profile. It doesn't matter, just write. If you think what you have written is bad, scrap it out later. Waiting for that one divine bout of inspiration only wastes time. Complete your play/novel/short story and then think about the next step of publishing it.
If you are having trouble finding your voice, again, just keep writing. It will come after you have warmed your pen enough.
Don't worry if you think you are sounding like your favourite author. Once you discover your voice, that fear will be taken care of.
Play on your strengths, be it character creation, humour or description.
Read the book 'On Writing' by Stephen King. The best advice I have received has been from there.
I know, I know there's nothing in there that you have not already read here on the blog. That would be me being consistent.
I have been on something of a writing spree these last few days though the kind of image 'spree' conjures is more of a joyful party than the lonely process it actually is, I am quite happy with my progress. I figured that was the best way to lift myself out of the blue funk that I had settled into after being unable to go to the Jaipur Lit Fest. Let's not get into the reasons here though, the blue funk might make its way back.
I wish sometimes that writing was something you could go out to do, it would provide me with some motivation to dress in clothes other than faded pajamas but then I am not the coffee-shop-paper-napkin-JKR sort of writer, being a little ill at ease in settings other than my own study. So there I am stuck.
Anyway, the writing is progressing well in terms of quantity at least and so I have been rewarding myself with movie screenings and new music. I watched 'Malena', 'Milk', 'Remember the Titans' and 'In the line of fire' recently. Out of these Malena was pretty unforgettable and I have to say that it stayed with me far beyond the day I actually watched it on. Although 'auraton ka shoshan' as my mother terms it is not one of my favourite themes for movie-viewing, the gorgeous, gorgeous Monica Belluci made it the movie equivalent of unputdownable.
Music-wise too, I am doing well, having introduced myself to Glasvegas and Wilco, both of which I liked a fair bit. Other than that, it's been The Kinks all the way this last week. Also a bit of Johnny Cash which means you can find me warbling
what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
in my most soulful voice, channeling a bit of Mina Kumari as I go along.
I know from experience that music and movie posts elicit absolutely no response from the readers of my blog and I sometimes wonder why. Are our tastes really several poles apart? Tell me, I am listening.