Today on 'On Writing', let's chat with Vinodini
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
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.
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.
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’?
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,
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.