Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Vinodini Parimi On Writing 'Before You’re Not Little Anymore'


Today on 'On Writing', let's chat with Vinodini Parimia design professional who reconnected with her childhood love for writing. 'Before you’re not little anymore' is her solo debut as an author. Her short stories, “Luscious Aspirations” for Blank Space and “Beyond Eternity” for A Little Chorus of Love were published in anthologies in 2015. Her travelogues were featured in Musafir, a coffee-table book published by Nirvana Foundation, Mumbai, in 2018. She writes on parenting, self-help, fashion, travel, and fiction on her website ifsbutsandsetcs.com. She also freelances as a content writer for various brands, portals, and websites.




Vinodini Parimi



Welcome to 'On Writing', Vinodini. Tell us about your journey as an author. 

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Preethi. I started writing at a very young age. I would randomly pen poems on the back page of my school notebooks during boring math classes. Decades later I reconnected with my love for writing through my blog ifsbutsandsetcs.com. Over the last few years, my short stories were published in anthologies. Last year my travelogues were featured in a coffee-table book. While I am primarily a writer of fiction, my first solo debut as an author has been for a non-fiction book which still amazes me at times.

What triggered you to write ‘Before you’re not little anymore’?

In the summer of 2017, my son was applying for admission to universities abroad. I was apprehensive about how he would cope with his new life after leading such a protected life back home in India. Like most mothers, I worried about how he would manage himself in a foreign land. Would he eat well? Would he keep himself warm?  What if he got homesick? These were the kind of worries that plagued my mind.
Around the same time, the Blogging from A to Z Challenge was about to commence. While I had previously participated in this challenge which required you to write on topics ranging from A to Z for each weekday of April, that particular year I was unsure if I would be able to participate with so many thoughts in mind about my son’s future.
There was so much I needed to talk to him about, but it was difficult to sit him down and verbalize all of it. So, suddenly on a whim, I decided to write letters to my son. These were letters on a range of topics that would help him cope with various situations and emotions on his journey to adulthood. I wrote about various topics like anger management, coping with depression, setting goals, recognizing and tackling infatuation, to name a few. I’ve shared my own experiences and lessons in life while dealing with these issues.
 A lot of people who read these letters on my blog felt that they should be published in a book since it could be of great help to other parents and youngsters. At the end of the challenge, I had the letters published in an exclusive book that I gifted my son on his 18th birthday. My son still refers to those letters in times of confusion or when he seeks guidance on certain issues.

What is your writing process like? Do you write every day? Is there a favourite place to write?

I am rather inconsistent with writing regularly. I plan to change that in the coming days. I tend to write in phases. Sometimes when I get a spurt of ideas, I key them as notes on my cellphone to be referred to later. I write better when I am curled up comfortably in my bed with my laptop.

What is different about ‘Before you’re not little anymore’?

Before You’re Not Little Anymore is not just a self-help book for growing youngsters but is relevant to people across age-groups and genders. It addresses all the common emotions and situations most of us go through at some point or the other in our lives. It serves as a reference guide for students who are leaving the comfort of their nests after leading a sheltered life at home.
Another aspect that I have tried to address in this book is the attitude men should inculcate in themselves to treat their women right. The values we instil in our sons go a long way in giving women their due respect in the society.

What was the reaction of your son when he first saw the paperback copy of the book?

My son has yet to hold the paperback copy in his hands. He is at his university abroad and has not yet laid his hands on the book. But he was overjoyed to see the first copy in my hands when I showed it to him over a video call. This book has been more of a teamwork by both of us. We brainstormed each aspect of the book, right from the thoughts expressed in the book to the details of the book cover design. My son has played a big part in making the book come across as healthy and interactive rather than preachy and authoritative.

How long did it take to finish writing ‘Before you’re not little anymore’?

While the first draft of the manuscript was written on my blog as a part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge in 2017, it was still too raw to be published into a book. I took me two more years to work on it, adding a lot more thoughts, insights, and anecdotes to compile it into a book worthy of publishing.

Which do you prefer as a reader? EBook or Paperback?

Without doubt a Paperback! I love the smell of paper. Being from the design background I also like to glance at the book cover from time to time. So, personally, I would go for a Paperback but one cannot deny the convenience of reading an Ebook, so I also relate to people who prefer reading Ebooks.

How important do you think is marketing in today’s world for any book?

While I would like to believe otherwise, in spite of coming out with great content and a compelling read, one cannot deny the fact that a book can only reach its deserving audience if it is marketed well. Writing a book is just 50% of the job done. The rest depends on its marketing for sure.

Please share a passage or quote from ‘Before you’re not little anymore’ for our readers.  


Talking about how anger could be used constructively, have you reflected on those times when you are faced with criticism and scorn? No matter how good you are as a person or at your work, not everyone you meet will appreciate your good qualities all the time. Some people can be downright critical about everything you do for their own reasons. It can get to a point where things might not be pleasant. It is a surefire way to get you angry. But this kind of anger is healthy. It makes you reflect on your good and bad qualities and wonder where you're going wrong. Once you've confronted the person about what he must say, go back and think through it carefully, filtering out the things that you might agree to from all that they have said. You've got to be completely honest with yourself here, absolutely no cheating. If you feel there is an element of truth in the criticism, try to work on it to improve yourself. But if you have the conviction that some of the things pointed out were false and baseless, treat them as that person's ignorance, or, better yet, feel happy about those points because those are your strengths. And probably these are strengths that have brought out the insecurities of that person on the surface, which he chose to hurl at you in the guise of criticism.

What are the three tips you have for readers of this interview who are aspiring writers?

1) Write consistently. This book was possible because I wrote consistently for an entire month.
2) Read a lot. If you’re unable to keep up with fat novels, read short articles, posts, and stories. Anything that feeds your mind works!
3) Don’t be shy or afraid to share your experiences with the world. Write as though you’re talking to a friend. You never know how it could help others.


Thank you, Vinodini. So happy we had this chat. All the best to your book.

Now, what are you guys waiting for?
Go buy this amazing book and gift it to your not-so-little ones.