Saturday, July 29, 2017 0 Comments

New to Freelance Writing? Things You Need To Know


I am a freelance writer and author (of We Will Meet Again, a contemporary romance). My works have been published in magazines like Good Housekeeping India, Child India, New Woman and Woman's Era. 

So, naturally, anything related to freelance writing interests me. Recently, Blog Chatter, a wonderful blogging community (if you are a writer or blogger, you must follow Blog Chatter) initiated an interactive and enriching discussion on freelance writing. There were some questions that we discussed on Twitter that (and Blog Chatter of course) prompted me write this post.

Here, I am trying to answer some questions and share my learning and experience. Question & image credit goes to Blog Chatter. 

Freelancing is a very broad term. Since, I am a freelance writer, I am going to talk about freelance writing.



My answer to this questions would be 'Yes' but I can't resist myself adding that 'it's difficult'. If you want to consider freelance writing as a full-time career option, you need to be focused and dedicated. It demands a lot of patience as it takes time to flourish. It involves extensive research and smart marketing skills. You need to make serious/long-term professional contacts and most importantly, you must be very prompt when it comes to ideas and deadlines.

Your chances to succeed as a freelance are fairly high if you manage to get frequent international gigs.







Or Do you have a modus operandi for freelance jobs?

The first thing you need to do is to find suitable markets, and for that you should study the market. Never send your ideas without studying the market (magazine/newspapers/websites) and its guidelines. Because if you do this, there could be two adverse effect - 

1) You may not know if your ideas/style is suitable for that particular market. 
2) The editor would know that you are not familiar with the market and it may ruin your (first) impression thus your chance of getting the gig. 

Also, always address the editor by her/his name.

The second important thing is to learn to write striking pitches. Your pitch is your first impression. And, do not hesitate to follow up. Editors are busy people. Sometimes, you need to remind them, and it's okay.




In my opinion, the biggest challenge of freelancing is to market yourself as an efficient writer. Making contacts and building relationship. If you are smart enough to develop the trust and a long-term relationship with the editors, your chances are high. 

Another challenge is to keep your pockets full of different ideas. It is advisable to find your niche, but I believe you should learn to work out of your comfort zone to maximize your success as a freelance writer. You need to find unique ideas (This is another topic for some other time) to stand out in the market. Even if your idea is common, you must learn to tweak them. Think out of the box.

Then, you must have the ability to reach out to experts for interviews to make your pieces authentic. And, last but certainly not the least, you must meet your deadlines!





Honestly, I haven't worked much with foreign clients, but whatever my experience is, I believe they are more approachable and responsive. Money is smooth. But yes, you can't trust blindly just because it's an international market (and money is good). You must check with fellow writers who have worked with international magazines/newspapers. Connect with successful Indian-international freelance writers. LinkedIn can be a helpful source for this.

You may follow 'Make Living Writing'  and 'The International Freelancer' to understand the International freelance writing better.

If you want to succeed as a freelance writer, I would advise you to read 'EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT FREELANCE JOURNALISM (BUT DIDN’T KNOW WHOM TO ASK' by Kavitha Rao and Charukesi Ramadurai. It's a must have for new freelance writers as it will answer most of your questions.

So, that's all for now. I hope you find this post helpful. Please share your insights (even queries, if any). I am all ears! 




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Thursday, July 27, 2017 1 Comments

Book Review: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie





Purple Hibiscus or rather Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was on my TBR list for a long time. I heard a lot about the author and this book, so I finally ordered this book. It took me some time to finish this this book because I am not that old Tarang (there are so many other engagements/responsibilities that turned me into a relatively slow reader) who could finish a book in a few hours. Plus, I wanted it to go slow. 


Purple Hibiscus tells the story of fifteen-year-old, timid Kambili who lives under the shadow of her wealthy, over-religious and violent father. Kambili, her helpless mother and her brother Jaja are forced to live an entertainment-proof life within the confines of high walls around their house and 'to-be-followed-strictly' routine.


Kambili yearns for her father's 'conditional' love and makes efforts to please him.



'I wished I had said that.' She often thinks when her brother says something thoughtful that makes her father smile.

Her only companion is Jaja. "We did that often, asking each other questions whose answers we already knew. Perhaps it was so that we would not ask the other questions, the ones whose answers we did not want to know.”


When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and her brother get a chance to stay away from their authoritarian father and live with their fearless and lively aunt, Ifeoma,  a University professor in Nsukka. Though financially weak, aunt Ifeoma’s house if full of life and laughter. In her aunt’s home, Kambili understands the true meaning of life, love, freedom and togetherness.


“It was what Aunty Ifeoma did to my cousins, I realized then, setting higher and higher jumps for them in the way she talked to them, in what she expected of them. She did it all the time believing they would scale the rod. And they did. It was different for Jaja and me. We did not scale the rod because we believed we could, we scaled it because we were terrified that we couldn't.” 

But, how long can she live in her aunt’s house? How her (and Jaja’s) life is going to change? Read Purple Hibiscus to know the story of Kambili’s life.

I like fast paced stories, and Purple Hibiscus is a little slow in the first half, still I did not find it boring because of author’s soothing writing style. I instantly developed a fondness for her writing. It's so beautiful and authentic. It creates vivid imagery. The characters are very well defined. I personally liked the character of aunt Ifeoma, her daughter, Amaka and Father Amadi, a young priest.

There's a reason for every situation and character's behaviour. For instance, Kambili is so timid and silent that sometimes I felt she was not present in the story as a character (however, her fears and anguish are well expressed) but was a mere narrator. But, there is a strong reason of her odd behavior.


For me, Purple Hibiscus is a memorable book, a book that stays with you for some time (even after you have finished reading that). I loved Adichie's writing. Just one thing bothered me - there are so many Nigerian words (without glossary). It did not affect the gist of the story but it disrupted the flow of reading because these words are so frequent that I felt compelled to google search them to get the meaning. 

I'd recommend this book to everyone who loves intense stories and meaningful writing. Even if you enjoy light, fast-faced stories, I'd suggest you to read this one. I am looking forward to reading Chimamanda Adichie's next book, Half of a Yellow Sun. 






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Thursday, July 20, 2017 4 Comments

Show, Don’t Tell – do you follow this rule?




Show, Don’t Tell – this is one of the most common writing advices we often hear. However, you might have read some articles that say, ‘Show, Don’t Tell can be a terrible writing advice.’

Well, showing 'too much' can be a little annoying if not handled well, especially if the writer is not experienced. The new writer may become over-enthusiastic and write in an over-descriptive manner. It may tempt the writer to use too many unnecessary dialogues, in order to erm…‘show’. So, it’s very important to keep the balance.

I understand, as a writer and a reader, the beauty and importance of crisp narration, still I strongly advocate the concept of  – ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ for certain reasons –

It makes the writing authentic – as a writer, when you apply this rule, you use your observations. Things you notice happening around. Like the setting of a room or if the neighbour is watering plants in the her garden etc.

The way people speak. Their facial expressions, body-language and activities when they speak. Like someone tucks her curls while speaking. Or if someone is arranging clothes or fiddling with her mobile (or any other activities) when talking. 

These things are very important for authentic writing.

It creates vivid imagery. Let’s take this example –

Telling – I look out of the window. The weather is mesmerizing.

Showing – A gush of cool breeze caresses my face. I smooth out my curls as I watch colourful blooms flutter playfully. Champa tree, so close to my window that I can touch it if I try, effuses heavenly fragrance. Water droplets, hanging off the leaves, glint like diamond nose pins as sunshine kisses them. 

Get it? Descriptive but it creates nice imagery, no? Writing/narration seems more interesting if it creates vivid imagery.

It helps the story move more smoothly. If you tell everything, you become the narrator; your voice may sound similar. Every character of your story sounds like you, the narrator. And, if it happens, the writing seems dull and tiring, and it may disrupt the flow of the story.


So, these are my reasons. What's yours? What type of writer or reader you are? Do you follow this rule? Please share your views?









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Saturday, July 8, 2017 5 Comments

Rain And Memories









The house is breathing silence, reflecting solitude. Sitting on the wide window sill, with a mug of coffee, she watches the weather transforming dramatically. It looks like a shadow of an enormous bird who has started to spread its wing.

The dusk is about to fall. People have started to emerge, gathering in different groups. Even birds have claimed their favourite spot. They sit on a distant power line as if getting ready for an assembly. She likes to watch them, everything out of her window, but never wants to go out. She can stay at home for months without stepping for weeks.

She sips her coffee, feeling calm as cool breeze caresses her. Suddenly, lightning flashes. Now she waits for that thundering sound that would follow. She feels cool raindrops on her cheek. Her heartbeat rises as she looks at distant trees that are swaying classically. An exotic bird, perched on a wooden pole, flutters her wings and flies to joins a group flocking around, returning to their homes. 

This is it!

This collective occurrences affect her in a certain way, it happens quite often. Her heart fills with a deep sense of nostalgia, and a freshet of memories rushes in. It has now started to rain heavily. Fat raindrops hitting the ground furiously, making circular waves. She shuts the windowpane.

Memories – you can never be sure what stirs them.

The emptiness of her house tugs her heart. The soothing solitude is screaming now. She looks at the nicely made bed. He was right there. Just two years back. Lying silently. Smiling voicelessly. Looking everywhere without actually looking. There’s an assurance of togetherness even without words.

All togetherness don’t last forever. Sometimes, they come with a date written on it when goodbyes are scheduled. She learned to move on or she thought so. It’s easy to create new memories but can anyone learn to leave their memories behind and move on? 'I wish goodbyes didn’t leave haunting memories.' She thought. But, sometimes these memories are soothing as they connect you with someone who has become a memory. This thread is precious.

She gets up and lies down on the bed. Trying to search that familiar fragrance. That familiar touch. She closes her eyes and takes a foetal position. This is the place she finds solace. This is the place where slumber claims her amicably.


Sharing with  Chatty Blogs





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Saturday, June 24, 2017 6 Comments

Anything But Books Tag





It's been a long time since I've written a tag post. Okay, let me rephrase it. It's been a long time since anybody tagged me. Thanks to Shantala who tagged me for this interesting tag post called 'Anything But Books Tag'. 

You have to answer some interesting questions that are not related to books. So, here it goes:

Name a cartoon(s) that you love.

I used to watch Tom and Jerry. Now, I watch whatever my 4yo likes (However, now he has upgraded his choice to 'regional' News channels, I wonder why). However, I like watching Max and Ruby, Motu Patlu and Peppa Pig.

What is your favorite song right now?

My current favourites are:
‘Channa Mereya’ (I can't get enough of it. I love Arijit Singh’s singing right from the Fame Gurukul days)

What could you do for hours (that isn’t reading)?

Internet browsing. If you think it’s reading in some way, then it would be watching TV, alone. 

What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

Followers? Don't know if anyone would be surprised, but I love singing and I can sing well (Not a very good singer though). Sometimes, I keep humming same song that I annoy myself.

And, I love interpreting my dreams (I mostly remember them).

What is your favorite unnecessarily specific thing to learn about (this can do with books, I guess)?

Learning is beautiful, and I am a careful learner. I am learning to write better (Love to read on writing posts. Sometimes, sharing my On Writing experiences). I want to learn watercolour painting. (I have done quite a few. I know they are childish. But am I not courageous enough to share these?).

What is something unusual you know how to do?

I can touch my nose with my tongue. Can you do that?

Name something you’ve made in the last year (and show us, if you can).

This questions makes me feel ashamed because I can’t make anything (except my 4 yo’s craft projects.)

What is your most recent personal project?

My second book (Working on the first draft) and weight loss (Okay, it seems to be a never ending project but this time I’m serious). Working on some easy, small fitness goals.

Tell us something you think about often (maybe while staring out of windows).

I have an always occupied mind. I can’t recall when I am not thinking anything. Maybe, when I am engrossed in an interesting book?). I still think about my first book. About writing. Ephemeral ideas and 'I wish, what if' thoughts make my mind a mishmash or if I can say, a Farrago :). 

At this point of time, it’s mostly about my second book. Scenes, dialogues, situations…

Give us something that’s your favorite, but make it something oddly specific, not like your favorite food, but like your favorite food when you’ve been studying for hours and forgot to eat. Or, you know, something like that.

Studying for hours and forgot to eat? Well, it hasn’t happened. In fact, I used to keep several packets of biscuits and cakes while studying. But, my attention hovered around those packets and I couldn't focus until I finished them off!

Actually, I didn’t get this question. Still answering. I am fond, extremely fond of anything that's sweet or made from milk. 

That’s all from my side. I am tagging Kanchana, Namrata, Gayatri, Preethi, Harshita, Sakshi, Arti, Jyoti. Consider yourself tagged if you are reading this post. It's a fun tag and you would like to do it, won't you? Please leave your links if you decide to do it. Would love to hear your answers. 






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Saturday, June 17, 2017 4 Comments

Book Review: The Tree With A Thousand Apples by Sanchit Gupta





A Poem From The Book
.
.

'Stand for your right',
You tell me,
And when I do
You beat me down
Break my bones
And crush my soul?
I may raise my voice
Close my fist, and demand;
Or seek and desire
With polite words and a patient heart
So that you and I can live in peace
Forever, I wish;
You should pray
I choose the latter


The Tree With A Thousand Apples by Sanchit Gupta (Niyogi Books) is my third book that's based on Kashmir and its people, their lives.

The author says the incidents are inspired by true events, and he has visited Kashmir and met people to know the culture, lifestyle and their problems. It shows. The book seems well researched.

The Tree With A Thousand Apples is a poignant, heartbreaking story of three childhood friends - Deewan Bhat, Safeena Malik and Bilal Ahanagar, living in Kashmir - their families so close - at the time of insurgency.

'For us, Deewan bhai, whatever it takes,' says Bilal.

As the conditions in Kashmir worsen, Deewan and his family have to leave Kashmir for the sake of a safe life while Safeena whose mother becomes a 'collateral damage', and Bilal are left with no other option but to learn to live in the dark battlefield that the paradise, Kashmir has become.

After 20 years, Destiny brings them together and they try to fix things in their own possible ways. And then one day, a *letter* - a dangerous letter - comes that brings sea changes in the circumstances and eventually their lives.

So, what happens? What this letter is all about? How their lives transform? What about their friendship? What about the brewing love? You will have to read the book to find these answers. Finding these answers would be a moving journey, I can say that.

The author has an interesting writing style. The language is beautiful and clean, narration quite smooth. The life of Kashmir is very well described. The atmosphere of insurgency, every aspect and impact, is captured well. The story is peppered with regional language but it has a helpful footnotes (plus a glossary).

Here are some thought-provoking quotes :

'You brought your Indian Identity Card? It proves that you are an Indian.'
'Who else am I?'

'Why do you worry, the curfew is over.'
'You foolish children! Curfew is never over.'


'It was too ambitious to think ahead. It was too luxurious to be alive.'

However, in order to capture the essence of Kashmir and rage of insurgency, the author has missed the protagonists' personal feeling (and its development) for each other. Also, the *letter* (I mentioned above) confused me. I wondered (and wanted to know) what caused that sudden provocation.

But over all, it was a beautiful, thought-provoking and engrossing read. Very well written. Recommended to any book lover, no matter what your preferred genres are.


I received this book from Writer's Melon for an honest review.





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Thursday, June 15, 2017 2 Comments

Self Editing On Your Mind? Try These 8 Practical And Effective Methods



‘I am not a very good writer, but I am an excellent rewriter.’ – James A. Michener

For a writer, I believe, this is a very good quality. 

Writing is all about re-writing and editing, and careful editing is the essence of writing. No matter how beautiful your writing is, it loses its charm if it has silly errors in it. Also, good editing is not just for published books. It should be practiced even before submitting your manuscript to the editors. It enhances your chances to get noticed.

It’s true that hiring a professional editor is always a better idea because it’s a little difficult to spot your own mistakes and get merciless towards something that you simply adore.

But, self editing is not that difficult. Also, when it comes to hiring a paid editor, you may face two problems :
1. You have to choose wisely, after thorough research because there’s no guarantee of great results.
2. Money. When you are going for traditional publishing, you find spending money on editing unnecessary. And, if you are going with self/paid publishing, you consider it as extra expense.

However, in any case, your manuscript should be error-free. Period.

So are you writing a book? Self-Editing on your mind? Read my article on Writer's Melon. I have shared some practical and effective methods. You may find these helpful. Before I start, I must tell you that these are the tips that worked for me or something I skipped doing and regretted later.

Read The Full Article HERE

You may read my other recently published articles –  






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Monday, June 12, 2017 10 Comments

The Curious Case Of Déjà Vu





Lord Ram refused blatantly to take Sita along when going for his 14 Years exile, but Sita was adamant, especially when she heard that Lakshman was accompanying him.

Out of reflex, she said, 'I go with you in every Ramayan, then why not in this Ramayan?'
She surprised herself. 'Every' Ramayan?

Was that a case of déjà vu, which means 'already seen' or 'been there before'?

Life is a vast cycle of occurrences. And mythically, History does repeat itself. Every moment we are living now has been lived before and it will be lived in future. Exactly the same. And, the cycle goes on. Isn't it spooky? I wonder if this is the reason of déjà vu.

It happens with me a lot. I still remember the first time (probably) I felt it in my childhood. I was sitting on the threshold of a door, my feet crossed in the corridor that stretched along and my eyes were on the sunny courtyard. And right then, my grandmother said something to me. I looked at her and she was smiling. This was the moment! I felt that it has happened before. Obviously, talking to my grandmother and her smile was not new, but that exact setting, our positions and the moment made me feel like that.

Also, while listening to any song, certain tune or lyric creates a sudden imagery, an unknown picture, place or setting in my mind, and then a flood of emotions hit me. Like I have seen that setting before. Like I had been to that place before. Like it is related to my life.

Is this anything psychological, something related to the (dis)functioning of our brain? Or something related to previous/next life?  Does this happen to you? Do you think I am insane?


Sharing with Chatty Blogs

P.S: Maybe this post seems unconvincing, but if you like reading romance with convincing situations and realistic characters, you will like my book, We Will Meet Again.






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Thursday, June 1, 2017 11 Comments

It Hurts



Image from Haiku My Heart

Crimson sky of love
                Turns dark, colours fade slowly
                      Fake feelings sneak in

The words she heard were not meant for her ears. This revelation was purely accidental, but some accidents are eye openers. She thought.

All her kaleidoscopic dreams started to merge with a black patch of despair. Just like the darkness of this silent night where the voice resonated without any barriers.

Why can't love be as clear as any other emotions? Why do people double cross? She had heard somewhere that real artists don't starve. Fabricating emotions is an art, isn't it?

It hurt and it was deeper and more painful because this emotional laceration was intentional.



Written for: Three Word Wednesday
                        Write Tribe

PS: My book, We Will Meet Again, a contemporary romance, got selected for KDP promotions by Amazon. You can get it @ a fab 75% discount!

From :
Amazon India
Amazon.Com


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Thursday, May 25, 2017 9 Comments

I Trust You





Niyati flinched the moment Shukla aunty left her house. She hastily walked towards her room, trying to avoid any cross-questioning from her mother.

‘Niyati,’ her mom called.

Niyati turned to look at her mother, feeling nervous. ‘It doesn’t matter what others say,’ her mother said. ‘I trust you, completely!’ Her smile reflecting warmth. ‘Come here.’ Her mother settled on the sofa. 

‘You know what, criticism is inevitable. Take it as a challenge. It encourages you. It makes you strong.’


Niyati gaped at her mother, she could feel her tension melting. ‘So I managed to fool you.' Niyati thought as she forced a smile.


Sharing with Write Tribe
                      Three Words Wednesday


PS: If you like reading contemporary romance, if you like realistic characters and convincing situations, you will like my book, We Will Meet Again. If you are Kindle Unlimited subscriber, You can read it for FREE. Do read and please share your views (On Amazon and Goodreads). Honest feedback is really important for a writer.




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Tuesday, May 9, 2017 13 Comments

Tricks For Distraction-Free Writing




In my opinion, the most challenging thing is to take a start - that's finishing your first draft. If you are a new writer, you can read my post, 6 Reasons You Can't Finish Your First Draft.

You are an achiever if you are a disciplined writer. Being a disciplined writer is tough. There are various distractions that inhibit the flow of your writing. I have tried and discovered some tricks for distraction-free writing.

Don't Wait For The Right Time

Whatever free time you get, sit down and write (even if it's 100 words). You don't realize how much time you waste just waiting for the right, relaxed and uninterrupted time.

Use Paper-Pencil/Pen

You don't (necessarily) need to open your computer/laptop. It's difficult to shut-up the editor in you - ignore the errors, those red-green-blue lines, that backspace/delete key. Even if you type in your document, turn off the spell-check. I prefer using pencil and notebook. I have written this post in my notebook in just 5 minutes before I typed.

Use Timer - It Works!

Set it for just 5-6 minutes and write. You will write 100-125 words approximately. Just make sure you have plotted the scene/description/dialogues before you start writing. It's important to write but meaningful writing is more important. Your story should make progress. Scribbling just anything won't be helpful when it comes to finishing your first draft (of novel/short story/article). Free writing is for overcoming writer's block (I don't believe in Writer's Block or forced writing).

Make a promise that you would do whatever distracts you most when your time is up. Take a break after this short writing session and then come back again with the timer (It's a great motivation, trust me).

One more thing that disturbs is that you think your writing, scenes or dialogues are not good enough. It's normal. Don't think about it. Trust me, you will get plenty of wonderful ideas later. Writing is all about re-writing.

So, what distracts you when you are writing? What's your trick to beat them?


Sharing with Chatty Blogs @ Shanaya Tales.






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Wednesday, April 26, 2017 5 Comments

6 Reasons You Can't Finish Your First Draft




When you plan to do something, the toughest step is to start off. It's scary, I know. But, once you dare to take that first step, everything seems to fall into place.

In writing, finishing your first draft is that first, crucial step. But, it's difficult, completing the first draft. After my first book, We Will Meet Again, I am struggling to write the first draft of my second book.

Reasons? Many. Here, from my own experience, I am pointing out some.

You don't have a story

In a sense, everyone can be a storyteller. But, having vague ideas and having a clear plot are two different things. If you want to write a novel, be clear about the story. Creating chapter outline helps you to progress. Make a rough route of the story. And, in my opinion, you should know the end of your story because if you don't know the destination of your journey (story), you may find yourself wandering.

You are over-thinking

It's true that you should be clear about the plot and the ending, but a novel is not just about a story and ending. Execution of your story makes a lot of difference. How do you want to take your story forward in an interesting way. Creating interesting incidents and dialogues - BUT, you don't need to know all of these when you take a start. Sometimes, your story, characters take the command and you just go with the flow. Sometimes, you get inspired by some real-life incidents or observation. You can add these things later.

In my novel, there are several things/incidents/even characters that I added after finishing my (messy) first draft. So, relax. Don't think you can have the entire story graph in your mind. Research is important but not in the first drat. You need to collect (and save) your thoughts and ideas first - this is the gist of writing first drafts. Stop over-thinking and start writing.

You are waiting for the right time

You may call it procrastination, and this is the biggest hurdle on the path of your writing journey.


There's no right time or every time is the right time if you think like that. I have wasted a lot of time after my first book. It amazes me when I see some writers working on several manuscripts.  But, admiring other writers won't help you until you take inspiration and start writing. 

You don't have to write x thousand words daily. Keep your goal small. It's okay if you write 200-300 words. Just make sure that your story makes progress everyday if you are working on a manuscript.

You seek perfection in your first draft

Attaining perfection is a myth. You will always find some faults in your manuscript. And, you will always someone better than you.

It's perfectly normal if you think your first draft is bad. Thinking that it's really good is highly delusional. Yes, First drafts are supposed to be messy. There is a term called 'Editing' and this term has a serious meaning. :)

Your first draft is not your final craft. You will get many chances to make corrections - you will have to revise and edit your manuscript - several rounds. Trust me. Editing is basically re-writing. So, don't seek perfection. Write your story first. Then, edit. If you can't resist editing while writing your first draft, your craft will go nowhere or even if it goes, it will move at a snail's pace. Want that?

You can't manage your time

Time management is all about your lifestyle. If you can't manage your time in 24 hours, you won't be able to manage if you got 48 hours in a day.

There's only rule that works - your own rule. Try and see what works for you. Early morning schedule or late night schedule. Avoid watching television (However, watching good movies is good for your writing.You can read about some good films I watched recently). Try to finish your chores on time. Try to fix a schedule. It helps.

You can't detach yourself from internet

This is the greatest distraction. I know it's tough as internet is addictive but controlling your online availability can be fruitful for your writing. We are writers because of our writing, not our online presence. Internet is useful but when you are writing, stay away from social media.

What works?

As Namrata (author of Metro Diaries 1 & 2 and many other anthologies) suggests, transcription (recording your thoughts/scenes/ideas when you feel lazy or doing something else, and ideas flash) works. Have you ever tried this?

Find a writing partner. Set a daily writing challenge (it's okay if it's 300-400 words) and share your word count and try to beat each other. This healthy competition is very motivating and actually works! Trust me.



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Tuesday, April 4, 2017 2 Comments

My Favourite Non-Fiction Books (Even Though I Don't Enjoy Reading NF)


I am an avid reader, but I enjoy reading fiction. I am not fond of non-fiction, but interestingly, I have read some non-fiction that really turned out to be interesting, insightful and helpful. Here, I am sharing four non-fiction books that I really liked. Moreover, you can re-read these books for motivation anytime, any chapter.

Kissing the Demon by Amrita Kumar (Harper Collins India)

Image result for kissing the demons by amrita kumar

I received this book from Writer's Melon for an honest review. As a writer, I find writing tips/quotes interesting. So, there was no reason to not get this book to read. And, I'm glad I read this book. You can read my detailed review, '6 Reasons Kissing the Demon is a Must Have For Writers' on Writer's Melon's website.




Don't Diet - 50 Habits of Thin People by Kavita Devgan (Jaico Books)

Kavita Devgan is one of the nicest person I have ever known (online - yes, I have never met her). When I got a chance to review this book, I grabbed it immediately as I find the theme of health and fitness interesting. However, there are chances that such books turn to be preachy, factual and boring, but here this books scores high. The author's friendly voice makes it interesting and motivating read. You can read my review (4 Reasons Don't Diet Will Keep You Motivated For Weight LossHere. Must have for those who are conscious about health and fitness.



Our Moon Has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita (Penguin Random House)

This was the first non-fiction that I read. I found the title intriguing (and, for me, title matters). It's a memoir - deep and touching, enlightening and sometimes, shocking!

If you are interested in the history of Kashmir, you must read this. You can read my review Here



Everything You Wanted to Know About Freelance Journalism by Kavitha Rao and Charukesi Ramadurai (Westland Books)

Kavitha Rao is a very successful freelance writer who frequently writes for international markets. If you are a new or aspiring freelance writer/journalist, you must read this book. It would be really helpful as it carries several tips and ideas of successful (International level) freelance writers. Will help you to understand the national and international market.

Have you read any of these? How did you like them? Which one is your favourite non-fiction?






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Tuesday, March 7, 2017 9 Comments

Books I Love - Do You Reread Books?




'My Favourite Book' - these simple 3 words have very broad meaning. If you are an avid reader, you can't name just one or two, not even three books as your favourites. Different books affect you differently. Sometimes, three completely different books can evoke similar emotions.

Reading books is the fastest way to travel to different places, lives, without actually going anywhere. I think reading is one of the greatest forms of love. It keeps you happy. It diminishes your worries (for the time being). And, it has the capability to keep you awake all night.

There are many books I have loved (especially when I experimented with the genres) . But, I believe that apart from neat writing (of course) good books are those which keep you engaged throughout. You may close the book for some time, but it must have the hook that pulls you the moment you are free. While reading that book you don't care about your favourite TV show or social media. You don't want to sleep without finishing the book. The characters stay with you for a long time. And, most importantly, a book that you can read again!

No matter how much I like the book, I (usually) don't re-read any book. Usually because there are four books that I have read twice - just after finishing the first time! My first book that I re-read was Swami by Saratchandra, my all time favourite (Modified by Mannu Bhandari). It's a quick read, a simple yet beautiful take on love, marriage and family.

Alampanah is one of my favourite romances. A very popular serial 'Farmaan' was based on this novel. I regret watching that serial after reading the book. It badly affects my imagination. I don't watch the movie if I have read the book and vice-versa.

Then, it's Shukra Grah Par Dhawa by Prof. Diwakar that I had found in our mini library. It's a science fiction about an Indian scientist and his adventurous trip to Shukra Grah (Planet Venus) where he encounters a mad scientist. I read it first as a teenager. I re-read it after my marriage and loved again!

And, This Matter of Marriage by Debbie Macomber (one of my favourite authors. I love her delightful love stories).

Last year, I read a book Love Virtually. I couldn't believe I enjoyed reading emails - just emails! I was quick to order the sequel - Every Seventh Wave, and enjoyed that too. I feel I can re-read these books someday.

Have you read any of these? Do you re-read books? Share your absolute favourites!

Written this post for Blog Chatter (Prompt - Books I Love)




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Saturday, March 4, 2017 0 Comments

Book Review: Zoon by Selina Sen





Na pooch ehd-e ulfat, ek khwaab pareshan tha
Do not ask of the time of love, it was a bewildering dream

Faiz Ahmed Faiz


Set in the Kashmir valley, Zoon by Selina Sen (Westland Books) is a long journey of film making. It's also about love (two love stories both set in Kashmir but in different era), loss and betrayal.

Joya Banerjee gets an opportunity to work with Shantanu Rai, a reputed filmmaker who is planning his dream movie, Zoon that's based on a 16th century Kashmiri poet and musician, Habba Khatoon. With the progress of Zoon, Joya's relationship with Rashid, a Kashmiri Historian (who is also working on the project) progresses too, slowly and passionately.

A shocking incident brings the shooting to a halt. Brimming with guilt and a deep sense of loss, Joya returns to the valley after 10 years, to complete the movie, Zoon. How would she manage to create the same effect after 10 long years? Would she be able to complete the film despite the adverse working conditions in the valley? And, what about Rashid and their lost love?

Read this book to know the answers.

Humko maloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin
Dil ko khush rakhne ko Ghalib ye khayal achha hai

Zoon has an intriguing plot. Who wouldn't want to read two different love stories rolled into one with a mesmerizing backdrop of Kashmir? But, this book lacks the passion and beauty that are required for such a story line. 

The first part of the book is painfully slow and dull. It reads more factual than fictional and imaginative. Overall, it seems like 'the making of Zoon'. It takes more than 160 pages to happen something shocking and significant (Had it not been for review, I would have left this book unfinished). No doubt, after that incident, the book picks up the pace and turns really interesting and gripping (So, the patience was fruitful).

Still, there's something amiss about the storytelling and the setting even though the language is good. The situations and characters are underdeveloped. There's no spark between Joya and Rashid. There's no expression of their feeling. The title character, Zoon aka Habba Khatoon hasn't got any exposure. I wanted to know more about her. I liked the character of Rashid but again this one is a half-baked character. Joya is the main protagonist, but she fails to mark any impression. Nothing concrete reflects from her personality. 

Also, the story covers the time-frame of 1989-1999, but the timeline is confusing. I really liked the starting chapter, maybe prologue of the book. The valley and its life are very well described in the second half. Poems by Habba Khatoon are nice but not sparkling. I did not like the cover. I mean why would anyone design such a boring cover for this intense story set in Kashmir valley? 

I picked this book with a lot of expectations, so for me, this was a disappointing read. You may pick this book if you are looking for a different plot, you like History and intense reads.





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Monday, February 20, 2017 5 Comments

Revisiting Memory Lane





Cursed by misfortune, 
Crushed by desolation
Clutched by the void within
I seek out a path to walk down memory lane
The familiar sunshine of smiles,
Bouquet of joy greet me
Oh, the whiff of bliss and solace!
Missed opportunities and zest clustered
A bunch of follies
Josh me
Laden with nostalgic emotions
Memories reach my eyes, 
Gleaming
Just like dewdrops in the sunshine


Through the blurred vision, I see a girl sitting under a tree. Her long skirt sprawled around the stone she is sitting on, her curls fluttering in the gentle breeze. She is my (much) younger, brighter, happier and care-free version. How happy I feel to see her! She looks at me and smiles brightly, the smile reaching her twinkling eyes. Golden sunshine filtering through the tree branches makes her face radiant. Then, she frowns. 'Why are you crying?' she asks innocently. Oh! I forgot I was crying. I shrug.

'Does crying change anything? Does it solve any problem?' she asks, I am surprised at her wisdom. But, you see, I am her older version, more experienced and wiser.

'No. But, crying gives you two important things. Some solace and strength. Tears rejuvenate your soul,' I say with a teacher-like look.

She doesn't understand this fact, and I am glad.

'Okay, can you pass me some happiness?' I ask.

'No. How can I? They're mine. You've had your share of happiness. But, you are supposed to create new forms of happiness. Haven't you created any?'

Her question feels like teasing. How wise she sounds. 'Can I have some wisdom?' I ask recalling the bunch of missed opportunities and follies.

'Oh yes!' She picks up a pebble and throws in the river nearby, the expanse so familiar.

'Why? Haven't I had my share of wisdom too?'

She rises to her feet, curling her lower lip. 'Maybe, but you can still take it. You have earned that out of your experiences, haven't you?'

Oh yes! Happiness is ephemeral, keeps changing, but wisdom - it remains with you. It keeps growing with your experiences, choices, mistakes. You just need to pay attention, and learn.

I open my mouth to say something, but vision starts blurring making her slim figure sway. I am back to the reality. But, I haven't returned empty handed. This revisit was a gentle reminder. The momentary happiness. New enthusiasm. And yes, I have to create my new share of happiness! I smile. Do I look like her?


Sharing with Blog Chatter (Prompt - Down the Memory Lane)
                      Poets United












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Thursday, February 9, 2017 23 Comments

Warm Memories





With every wave comes
A gush of warm memories 
Carved like names on rocks.

Fragrant emotions 
Wash over me, I smile
Like a crimson dusk

Screaming solitude 
Lingering sadness, I weap
Like a dewy dawn


Sharing with: Daily Post (Solitude) 
                   Haiku My Heart 
             Poets United 


P.S.: Wanted to say something about my first book, We Will Meet Again...The ebook version will be free for Kindle readers on this Valentine's Day. So, if you enjoy reading delightful romance with relatable characters and situations, my book can be a enjoyable read for you. Please download and read. I'll be waiting for your feedback. It's very important for a new author. Thank you for visiting! :)




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