My Blog to Book Journey

This post about my eBook is part of Blogchatter EBook Post Chain.

I take on the Baton of Blogchatter Ebook Carnival from Lavanya whose ebook ‘The Cockatiel Confessions and Other Collected Works‘ is also part of the mix.

About Lavanya’s ebook: Do you know why the moon is blue? Or why the cockatiel complains? A poor little rich girl & another girl who likes to gamble away her life credits. A tribal warrior & a time traveler. A celestial journey and a missing damsel.

My EBook Journey: When Love takes You Places

I am a compulsive list maker, in my daily life. I love writing listicles, in my blogging life.

For my readers who have been with me for some time, this wouldn’t come as a surprise. Last year I started a weekly listicles feature called Friday Listicles. I talked of how and why I loved listicles. I talked of books, of quotes that inspired me and the learnings in my writing journey. It was a busy time for me, non-blog wise and I was struggling to write regularly.

Sometimes I would wonder how to keep my inspiration strong. At other times, I struggled with being productive, having to juggle various projects. I was also editing my first draft of the previous year’s NaNoWriMo. Editing can be a frustrating and prohibitive experience.

I was sure that there were other writers out there facing the same problems as I did. Sometimes, I would settle down to think deeply about the writing itself, not just the words I was writing but the entire process of coming up with something I wanted to write about, keeping at it and making a good thing out of it. I realised that writing is not just writing the words but also the thinking, the researching, the editing, the rewriting. If I wanted to be good at the entire spectrum, I must acknowledge the stumbling blocks and know how to work around them.

My musings on writing came to the blog in the form of listicles. I was also aware that this would benefit many others who were struggling with some or the other aspect of the writing.

I wanted to put my blog posts in the form of a book.

When I joined Blogchatter this year, my dream seemed to be getting wings. Blogchatter is a community of bloggers on Twitter. It is an amazing place, a wonderful group of dedicated people who give support, provide information and opportunities for bloggers to grow better.

For Blogchatter EBook Carnival, bloggers curated content from their blogs to publish as eBooks. And that is how my own eBook came into being.

About my eBook

Finding Your Writing Flow will inspire you to pick your pen and explore your authentic voice to become the writer you want to be.

Simple and profound at the same time, the book guides you through self doubt, offering tips on recognising your passion for writing, finding inspiration when you feel stuck, staying productive in your writing projects, getting better at your craft and renewing yourself as a writer.

Experience a sense of calm, unleash the writer within and stay motivated with this book.

You can download the book from here. It is free for a limited period of time.

I pass on the Baton of Blogchatter Ebook Carnival to Mayuri whose ebook ‘26 Favourite Foods & a Little Bit of Me‘ is also part of the mix.

About Mayuri’s ebook: Food and Memories – that is what her book is all about. Food has the power to keep you connected to your past, even as it evolves to fit the future. Come walk down memory lane with her as she shares with you her favourite foods, and memories.

Do click on the links and download these excellent books and support the authors.

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Rains

Rains are always welcome after the scorching hot Indian summers. Usually, a fair amount of praying to the rain Gods is done. The first showers, called the premonsoonal showers bring much rejoicing.

When I moved to this city last year, my greatest excitement was that I was going to be near water. There are so many beaches here and I could live out my fantasy of spending hours near crashing waves, looking at the endless expanse of water.

The apartment we chose to live in was near a small lake, nearly a pond in dimension but to me it was the most magnificent water body I had ever seen. I could see the lake from the windows of my rooms. I would look at the changing colors of the water as the morning progressed. Most evenings were spent admiring the sunset and the shimmering water of the lake.

The Happier Times

And then, this summer they drained the lake. A lot of effluents were flowing into the water, the area around was smelling rotten, the mosquitoes bred faster. So, the water was drained and all that remained of a shimmering water body was dried up baked earth. It looked sad and I feverently prayed for rains.

Soon, the lake bed looked quite busy. Many people climbed down and measured something or the other. Earth moving equipment was used, some sort of digging was going on. When I asked the locals what was happening, I was told that the lake was being deepened so that the Ganapati Visarjan this year could be easier.

The Diggers

Hail the Lord! I think in Mumbai, everything revolves around the Elephant God. Now I can barely wait for the 10 day long Ganapati festival.

The rains are nearly here, we have had the refreshing first few showers and water is filling up the lake slowly.

Hope

Interrobang?!

Interrobang?!

Two punctuation marks used together are called the interrobang. The question mark and the exclamation mark. Really?!

But why together? For a greater impact!

They sound like friends walking hand in hand.

Also known as Interabang.(Just girlfriends maybe)

Interrobang is the combination of the interrogation mark and bang, which is the common name for the exclamation mark.

What is their correct placement? Who comes first? Should that ever be asked among friends? In friendship, all are equal.

In tune with that sentiment, I have encountered the interrobang both ways. The question mark precedes the exclamation mark or vice versa. Possibly the former is more common, as is agreed by the internet community.

How does it make me feel?

Friends. Complicit. Complimentary.

Alone they are good and effective but together their impact is so much more.
A question mark is well, questioning, curious, incredulous.
An exclamation mark is, amazement and excitement, going overboard.
Together they rock!

Technically, they are fused together, the two symbols, to show even greater solidarity. It is called the Glyph.

They can even be used as strings?!?!?!

***

(There, I just used a Dinkus)

Interrobang is also a very useful chess notation.

In Chess, the combinations “!?” and “?!” are used to express judgements of particular chess moves. “!?” denotes an “interesting” move, while “?!” denotes a “dubious” move.

Interrobang has been around for quite some time, though still not accepted for formal communication. I have seen it used in Asterix comics. And yes, Tintin too.

Interrobang is informal and fun!

Do you like the interrobang much? How do you use it? Which symbol first?

Finding my Writing Pace

My favourite grudge is over the writing advice I see plastered all over the place. Everyone has an opinion (and here I am airing mine). When to write, where to write, how much to write every single day. It all seems to boil down to discipline. Write every day. Write consciously. Write beyond your comfort zone.

I am not an adept writer. I should have put this disclaimer at the beginning. I am not published, I don’t get paid for what I write and I don’t have to manage rejection. I call myself a writer because this is something I am passionate about. I am besotted with words, etymology, nuances. I feel that words can move mountains or be the refreshing founts of peace.

But the very helpful advice that I encounter somehow makes me feel off my pace.

Write everyday. I try. But there is life. There are moods. And if I do not crank out a few hundred words at the end of a session i feel like a failure. Which makes me shrink back from the entire thing. Am I trying out others expectations as my size and disappointed that they do not fit?

Find a space that you can reclaim again and again as your writing nook. I have one of those. It doesn’t work everytime. I only need solitude. I can write on the bed, couch, floor, on the window stoop, in a crowded temple with blaring hyms. The only thing I need is solitude or a disconnection from the world around me and a connection with my own self.

Write at the same time everyday. I find that constricting. I need the expansiveness of space and time to be able to write. I want a flow and to get that I want to be unhurried, to be away from deadlines such as the one, ‘write for the next one hour and try to get down a thousand words.’

Am I creating art? With these rigid deadlines and guidelines, I am not. Do artists/writers need angst? Or do they need to sit down everyday with discipline and determination and write words?

I need discipline to grow but I also need a teeny bit of angst so that I don’t forget that writing is also a calling. With that, I find my own pace.

Which is the writing advice that you love to hate?

Introducing Dinkus

DINKUS

Is that a word? Or a sound?

It seems that there are many symbols used in the printing of a book that indicate the closure of a section.
***
Like these.

It’s not something that has been beeped out or censored because it is offensive. Yes, that too, but in a word. Like, f***ing.

But, stand alone.

Three asterisks in a row *** are the typographical symbols used to indicate a section break in writing.

I never knew they had a name!

DINKUS also feels like a sound.

I hear DINKUS in my mind as a ding that signifies the finish of something and the beginning of yet another beautiful thing.

Looking at the odd word, at the different sounding word, I feel a sense of newness. I can say it slow, savouring it, rolling the letters but it comes out quick, like the joy of a little child that is spontaneous and knows no bounds.

It tastes like sweet, sticky jelly of my childhood that was not even set properly but we still scooped it up and ate the semi liquid, smearing our faces with it.

I can smell the word, sweet and pungent at once, like cinnamon.

I can feel it slithering sinuously, leaving a trail in my mind.

I always want to use all caps, because it conveys so much joy.

The plural is DINKUSES!!

If I close my eyes, I can see a series of little pixies, marching on, in a single file. How cute they look!

***

Being a DINKUS means being idiotic, as per the online dictionary that I consult. Which is quite true of this post.

That’s how some words evoke a lot for feeling in us. Its more about their sound and feel than their meaning. Which word is it for you?

I took this picture on a rainy day, having gone out to capture the tiny flowers near the sidewalk. The delicate petals drooped with the weight of the water droplets but I looked up to see this fruit hanging down from the tree, ready to be plucked, as the others had been, before this.

Looking at the verdant green makes me long for the rains again, the steady beat of the drops on the tin roofs of the balconies and leaves and buds sprouting everywhere.

Winter is mild here, a touch and go affair. It is getting warmer and the dried foliage around, however, means that I can see more of the lake from my windows and admire the sun shimmering bright on the water.

Big mercies.

I am inspired to post this picture for Becca’s Sunday Trees.

Sunday Trees #326

And This is Where I Summarise

The things we do for the love of reading and writing! Here are some of the things that I put up on my blog this year.

Book Reviews

I have written a lot of book reviews this year. But the most fun I had was in the months of September and October, when I raced against time to read the Booker shortlist, before the winner got announced. I managed to read five out of six, Paul Auster’s 4 3 2 1 being too long for me, even in the best of times. Reading these excellent books back to back provided me with some great insights regarding the storylines and the plots. I was excited to read these vastly different voices, from the richly imagined Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (the 2017 winner) to the ethereal History of the Wolves by Emily Fridlund (an excellent debut). There was another debut work, Elmet by Fiona Mozley, which had excellent world building. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid has received effusive praise and I would let others do the talking here. Autumn by Ali Smith made me long to write something on those lines; light, contemporary, witty and yet poignant. It sounded from the heart; it talked of things close to us, the ones that touch us deeply in life.

I also marveled at how these adept writers broke the rules and how books are wonderous even when they are flawed.

Listicles

This year, I made public my love for writing lists. Ideally, everything I know or think of can be written in the form of lists. It isn’t just the satisfaction of ticking off things; it is the fun of enumerating things without having to structure my thoughts much. So, I kicked off 2017 with a weekly feature on lists. Those listicles ruled the blog till October when I realised that I was repeating myself and would do so unless I found different things to write about. Most of the listicles were about the writing process and really, nearly all of them are my favourites. Still, I would recommend this one on keeping the writing inspiration strong. And this one on the Muse. Also this on creativity. I wrote one on goodbyes. And why I write.

NaNoWriMo 2017

I completed the NaNoWriMo this year too and saw the difference it makes when one writes a lot, even though initially a lot of it may be crappy. I learnt a lot more about the writing process and what my strengths (obstinacy) and weaknesses (outlining) are.

If we were having coffee…

I wanted to write many coffee posts and have a heart to heart talk with my readers but this year, I was also stuck in the bubble of not wanting to talk much about myself or what was up in my personal life. I wanted to cut out the I, Me, Myself completely but our blogs are essentially a reflection of our selves. I need not have played the hide and seek. Hopefully, in the coming months, I would be able to talk more of my experiences.

Through the Mist

The best thing in the journey of reading and writing came in the form of a collaborative book that got published this year. I got together with four other writers and penned short stories for a collection titled, Through the Mist. Writing with others turned out to be a new and fun experience and having my own published book in my hands is a priceless feeling. Being part of a very supportive team of writers, the editor and the publisher has been an enriching writing experience.

Sunday Trees

This year has also been about the trees. I cannot help noticing them wherever I go. I am incredibly fortunate to be in cities that are teeming with so many of them. And as a blogger friend pointed out, we appreciate and take care of trees and that’s a fantastic thing on our part.

I was also very fascinated with flowers. For some time, I happened to be in a place where the houses are fronted with magnificent gardens, a plethora of flowers in every yard. I was hooked as I saw their colours and forms with new eyes. And then we moved places and there are no flowers in the boxed apartments. I have taken to clicking leaves of the potted plants. But that’s a story for another time.

Thanks and good wishes to each one of you in the blogging community. I wouldn’t be here, if not for you.