My writing life has been a topsy-turvy one. On some days the mind is fertile and brimming with amazing ideas. You are literally flying and spoiled for options for even a complex situation. On the other hand, on a bad day progress is pedestrian and you struggle for even a simple solution.
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This is universal and not an odd case. So, how does one balance it? The way I tackle it, I spend longer spells in writing on good days and curtail it on the off days or even skip it and instead, go for long walks to rejuvenate the mind. It would be a good idea to indulge in reading on those days, which goes a long way in fertilizing the mind.
In case the knots refuse to loosen up, it is best to lay-off the writing altogether for a few days, letting the mind to recoup. Personally, I have gone through the entire gamut of emotions while writing my first book, “Bheem – The Saga of Madhavpur”. It took me a mammoth five years to complete, which includes a break of over a year when I was stuck for direction at a crucial juncture of the story. Midway, I struggled in vain to steer it in a satisfactory direction and even reached a stage where I was thinking of shelving it. But the very thought of the humongous amount of time spent on the book, brought to the fore the will to continue. I needed time to steer the mind back on track and they say time is a great healer. So, I decided to leave in on the back burner and left it there for almost a year.
In the intervening period, I hit upon the idea of a scientist being hounded by a powerful mafia gang – a protagonist, against a powerful antagonist - a formula that I had hit upon with success in all my four books. The result was my first published book titled “This Nightmare is for Real”. To me it was a great story and I naturally I dreamed that a few publishers would vie to publish it. Little did I know that the experience was going to be traumatic! The wait was long and in the end, my dreams were dashed as I received rejection letters from a few publishers, while others didn’t even bother to acknowledge.
I wasn’t going to let my book go into obscurity. That made me clutch at every straw I found. Consequently, in that gloomy period, I was easy prey for vultures with soothing words how I was getting a raw deal from the traditional publishers and how they can help publish my book! They were supporting so many new authors and the irrefutable proof the number of new authors finding their books in print. Of course, they couldn’t manage to do it entirely on their own and I would have to share the cost. Also, on the brighter side, the royalties were generous as compared to those offered by the traditional publisher and I stood every chance of recovering my cost swiftly. Much later, I came across an apt summation from an experienced author about the self-publishers: When someone receives his or her full remuneration in advance, there is nothing left to gain by putting in additional efforts!
I’ll leave the rest to your imagination, but with an earnest prayer that God forbid you tread that path laden with pain and despair, ending with utter disappointment, not to mention the loss of hard earned money.
In the intervening period, I had begun work on my fairy tale and took it to a satisfactory conclusion. Once again, began the painful process of submissions and the ensuing long wait and then the inevitable rejections. Of course, I received offers from a few self-publishing outfits, but being wiser from the first shattering experience, I politely declined. Ultimately, I decided to publish it on Amazon Kindle.
The above is by no means meant to dissuade new authors from taking to self-publishing. My intention is to caution them and if they are able to find ways to safeguard their interests, it is their call.
About the Author
After spending over 25 years in the Middle East, the author, aged 75, now leads a retired life. He lives with his wife and son in Thane, near Mumbai. He has been passionate about writing from his early days.
His first book was a fast-paced sci-fi novel titled “This Nightmare is for Real”, was self-published. That was followed by a historical fiction titled “Bheem – The Sage of Madhavpur”, again a self-publication. A third book, a fairy tale titled “The Missing Fairy Princess” which was published on Kindle Select during the first week of June 2019, while a fourth on the oft-discussed topic of cross-border terrorism titled “The Carnivore has a Heart” is slated for publication shortly thereafter again on Kindle Select.