27 February 2015

Guest Post #1: There’s no perfect writing environment by Vani

When I was fairly new to writing, I thought most writers sat in front of their desks, pen in hand, their notebook open in front of them, fire burning in the hearth, a cup of tea right by their side, and words just started flowing. My ideal workplace had to be like Bilbo Baggins’s hobbit hole: warm, cosy, comfortable. I was in London at the time and the cold weather helped fuel my fantasies. I had recently bought a laptop and though not the type to write longhand, I invested money in buying new stationary before I sat down to write my first novel, The Recession Groom.
I’d done everything to create a perfect environment, but the words just wouldn’t flow. And I needed only to look at my life to understand why. I was working as a management lecturer and my work entailed long hours of standing and lecturing in front of the students. I’d then come home and spend hours working on power-point presentations and case studies. Add to that groceries, cleaning and cooking and one compact bedsit (which looked nothing like a hobbit hole!) By the time I sat down to write, I felt so wrung out and exhausted, nothing came to my mind. Clearly, this wasn’t anything close to my dream. And yet, there were many like me who had managed to write novels whilst working full-time jobs.

E. L. James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey, wrote on her Blackberry while travelling to work. American novelist John Grisham was a practicing lawyer when he started writing his first novel, A Time to Kill. He’d get up early in the morning to write and then work during courtroom recesses. I knew my mistake. I was so focused on getting the environment right, I forgot to make the most of what I had. Once I’d learnt my lesson, there was no looking back. I wrote during my lunch break, tea sessions and staff meetings, and wrote when my students worked out case studies. I wrote while correcting their assignments and didn’t stop when I took the bus back home. And while I still dream about that perfect writing space, I do not limit myself for the lack of it. These days, I could be sitting in a noisy café, watching a movie or reading a book; as soon as I have an idea, I write it.

Quick Tips:
1.      You could be just a step away from your fantasy writing world, but until you get there, make the most of what you have.
2.      The rents were always rising, vegetables were always getting costlier and it was always either too hot or too cold. Don’t wait for the perfect writing environment to get going. If you have an idea, now is the time to write it.
3.      If my blog post helps you write something today, I’d love to hear about it. 


Vani's Bio:

I was born in Garian, Libya, in a traditional Hindu Punjabi family. My parents prized good education above all else, and when I was still small, they decided to move base to Chandigarh,a modern city in the North of India, famed for its educational institutions. As a child, I loved reading, but writing stories of my own never occurred to me, much like everything else. Becoming a doctor wasn’t an option, for the very sight of blood made me retch. Mathematics and Excel sheets bored me no end, leaving Humanities as a last resort. I could easily compete for the civil services, my parents reasoned, although, sitting for an exam with a million potential candidates vying for one job didn’t make much sense to me. Fortunately, life took a better turn and it was a Masters degree in Economics alongside a programme in Mass Communications that set my foundation for a career in business journalism. Luckily, I got to work in some of the best organizations in India, like ‘The Times of India’ and ‘The Financial Express’.
In 2004, I was hit with the desire to write a novel. However, a few drafts and several ideas later, I gave it all up to pursue an MBA degree from Kingston University in London. Of course, I dreamt about MNC firms coveting me, the Deloittes and the McKinseys of the world chasing me with multiple job offers, the likes of Accenture begging me to work for them. The reality was quite different. The completion of my course coincided with the start of global recession and my dreams could never be realized. My situation, nevertheless, prompted me to write my first novel. So, it was all okay in the end.


Connect With Vani On: Facebook | Twitter | Author Website

Read the review of The Recession Groom here
Read Van's interview here


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