10 rules- I can share about writing a book :)

First of all sorry for being away from writing for so long… I totally missed this space…but sometimes life throws unexpected darts at you – you dodge some, you catch some and even get a few ouches! Yes, Yes…I know, you’ll say- It’s all a part of learning, the bigger plan of life and growing up blah,blah, blah…but honestly I finally understood that there will always be some chapters that will, unexpectedly appear without you remembering to have ever written them. Honestly last 1 month has been something of that discovery for me.

But here’s what I wanted to share with you, I have been wanting to write this one for the last month…my experiences with writing my first book, but let me tell you that’s just part 1, writing that is…its the part 2- the creating and publishing… which is where a completely different set of dynamics come into play and you go wowww! Thank god I never started writing a project milestone plan for this one…I probably wouldn’t have embarked on it! And I’m glad I never wrote one because the feeling of holding a published work in your hand is worth a thousand solitaires and clearly worth all the trouble 🙂

So here’s my rule no. 1never plan to write…just do it…enjoy words flowing from your fingertips, if they flow, someone somewhere will love to swim with them. Easier said than done. huh? It was this evening and I had just started to write, what you’ve just read, and lo…my 5 year old darts in and starts to rattle off  his non stop wish list of make-believe stories that he wants me to enact-“shush, I’m trying to focus, after a whole month and a half, could you go outside and play (with dad and your brother) in the gar…?” before I finish the sentence, the trio is there, talking all together, so I shut it right there and here I am back again, it’s10:40 at night and I love the quiet! so 1a- come back to it at a better time.

The other bit is about the times. Honestly, you couldn’t have been born in better ones. As a growing up teenager I used to feel what it must have been, to be young in the times of Gandhi or Marx or Shakespeare…but for those who create…you have come in the age of Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg…heaven is here, create and enjoy….so my rule no.2 Embrace technology, it can make happen what you thought, could not? Follow or like the choice is yours but there are infinite possibilities…just google them and bing…your wishes will be granted even before you finished asking for them.

Technology and resources sorted, now the ball’s in your court…so rule no.3 forget self doubt- there is just no room for it. Go to any Youtube video – there will be people who’ll like it and probably those who won’t…well, everyone to his own, who the $%&# are you to decide what’s going to happen tomorrow…go on… when you choose a course,stick with it. Perseverance is still not out of fashion.

I must tell you what funny things happened with me during the course of my project- innumerable and unthinkable changes happened- so much so the photographer (halfway into the shoot…can you believe it!) and even the publisher changed…but you know what- “cheese does move”…so don’t ask “who moved it or why”- because change happens as do delays, rejections and setbacks, for reasons beyond your comprehension or requirement- the best way to deal with them is my rule no. 4– Change will happen- let it…nothing and no one is indispensable..and oddly the best part is whatever happens is usually for the better:)

Do you always love what you create, write, cook or draw? My kids do that – “mom, I made this for you-a picture of you” and I am looking at a circle, in the middle of a page, with a couple of standing lines for hair, two sticks for legs, two eyes and a slanted line for a mouth, if i’m lucky I get a nose. I start to smile and then I hear- “Can we make a book out of it, then we can sell it and make money?” Whoa! kids learn fast but folks you are not kids- rule no. 5Do not get emotional about your creations, infact be ruthless…whether it is a recipe, a photograph, a chapter or a cover…you can always do better…take good advice and never can an idea without thought. Remember a way of seeing is a way of not seeing.

That said rule no. 6: Follow your instincts- deliberate and analyse, write and rewrite but at the end of it all- it is your baby- go with what your gut has to say and keep walking- for you are in the lead.

If you do get stuck on something- here’s what you could try rule no. 7: Sleep over it- I mean literally. Our brain registers a lot of things subconsciously and it is when you’re asleep it all comes back to you… a new idea, a great insight, something that you probably totally missed…so sleep over it for you’ll be amazed with what might happen at 4 am! Believe me you have these hidden powers inside that you never got a chance to see and that brings me to my to my rule no. 8: When things don’t progress the way you planned, remember to look inside yourself. Don’t be scared to try the new, something that you never ever did before. Julia Child also, once skinned and stuffed a whole duck for the very first time- try, learn, acquire new skill set. A little self confidence and zeal comes in handy.

For the self funded projects out there I have my rule no. 9: Watch your costs- self funded projects require upfront investment, don’t be scared to invest in a new idea but don’t be foolish with your money. You do want a great project but not a bad return on your investment. There will be a lot of super enthusiastic sales people out there. One of them asked me to spend 12K pounds on a single press ad (that too in a weekly magazine, can you believe it, she called me atleast 5 times and wrote me 10 emails…till I finally told her to buzz off). So learn to separate the chaff, sleep over cost decisions, hire expertise and spend money where it adds value but learn to say no when it doesn’t- remember, that money is for sure yours, till it is in your pocket.

Lastly I come to my Rule no. 10: Once you decide to pay,ask for your due. Whether you hire a designer, or an editor, a translator or a photographer…do your homework and ask them to do theirs. If it does not feel right, it definitely is not. Do not fear asking for more, more options and alterations and unless you’ve tried them before do not pay 100% advance. Yes, that happens too.

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