Category Archives: Peptalk

Shatrujeet Nath

Already on the other side – A peptalk by Shatrujeet Nath

What can one do in 72 hours? Write a lot of words? Perhaps you have 30K words left to write? Or perhaps you came to know about NaNoWriMo today and are wondering if you can do the 50K words in 72 hours? Shatrujeet Nath, well-known author of The Karachi Deception, and the The Guardians of the Halahala and The Conspiracy at Meru, the first two books in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series, tells you how it is done.

Over to Shatrujeet Nath, then:

A young Buddhist monk, journeying home from his monastery, took an unfamiliar road in the hope that it would get him home faster. His path, however, soon brought him to the banks of a deep and wide river, boiling with rapids. The monk stared in despair at the seemingly impassable obstacle barring his path, wondering how he would battle the raging currents and get to the other side.

He was on the verge of giving up his journey and backtracking when he noticed a famous Zen Master walking on the opposite bank of the river. The young monk hollered over the noise of the river’s churning waters to make himself heard. “Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river?”

The Zen Master stopped and looked at the youngster who had hailed him. Then, pondering for a moment, he looked up and down the river bank. At last, he cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted back, “My son, you are already on the other side.”

Often, when we are in the midst of a pursuit of our own, we come across our own personal ‘impassable rivers’, and we struggle to find a way to the other side. The prospect of crossing over and completing the journey seems so bleak and daunting that we are even willing to forego the journey and turn back.

But, as the Zen Master so rightly pointed out, we are all already on the other side; it is just that we are so intimidated with what lies ahead of us that we discount the value of everything that we have put behind us in our journey.

To use another Zen example, a master and his young pupil are climbing up a steep mountainside. The climb gets more and more arduous higher they go, till they reach a point from where the last mile to the mountaintop is bare rock. The pupil throws up his hands and tell his master that he is prepared to give up on that last one mile that will take him to the peak. The master tells the pupil to turn around and look down into the valley from where they have ascended.

Pointing, he tells the pupil, “You are not giving up on the last one mile. You are giving up on the 20 miles that you walked to bring you here. You are giving up on that stream whose cool, clear waters refreshed you on the way up. You are giving up on that great tree that shaded you from the noonday heat. You are giving up on this gentle path that made it easier for you to walk. You are giving up on your faith that has carried you so far up the mountain.”

We all make ourselves a promise and get into a contract when we set out to do something. There is so much of ourselves that we then put into what we want to achieve and make happen. Throwing all away after having come so far is the greatest injustice we could do ourselves. It is just so much easier to persevere a little more, stay the course.

As the Zen Master said, we only have to realize that we already are on the other side.

 

About Shatrujeet Nath:

:Shatrujeet Nath

Door-to-door salesman, copywriter, business journalist & assistant editor at The Economic Times; Shatrujeet Nath was all this before he took to writing fiction full-time. He debuted with The Karachi Deception in 2013, followed by The Guardians of the Halahala and The Conspiracy at Meru, the first two books in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series. At present, he is writing volume three of the series, and is also scripting an ambitious Bollywood movie project for a large, Mumbai-based production house. Shatrujeet lives in Mumbai, but spends much of his time in the fantasy worlds of his stories. He can also be found at facebook.com/Shatrujeet Nath and @shatrujeet.

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HOW TO GET OVER THE NIGHTMARE OF MID-NOVEMBER – A Peptalk by Aastha Atray Banan

For me, the thought of writing is fascinating. But the actual exercise a nightmare. I find it very hard to sit down, collect my thoughts and then just go at it. But when I do, I usually don’t think much about it, but write as it comes to me. I don’t make plans, or strategize what which character is going to say or do. I just write as it happens in my head, in that moment.

Long periods of writing nothing have taught me that sometimes, cliché as it sounds, reading is the only way to get inspired. I read when I have nothing to write about, or can’t get myself to articulate what I am thinking or feeling. But I don’t just read anything. I re-read. I re-read books I have loved along the way, books that made me want to be a writer. I read books that comfort me, either with their stories of lovers and families, or with lines and passages that are so beautiful that I am struck by what wonderful people writers are and how much the world needs them to make sure we never lose that loving feeling.

And so I often find myself reading Jane Eyre, that dysfunctional, melancholic tale of a girl who never just gets a break, even when she falls in love. It may be a sad love story, but it is also one that says, that love triumphs everything. I also read Rebecca, which is so beautiful in its sadness it makes my heart stop. It deals with that familiar emotion – the feeling that we can never match up with a person our lover once loved.

I also re-read Agatha Christie’s classic and brilliant book And Then There Were None every time I want to be reminded of the fact that writers are geniuses. They can do anything in their books! I also read any of Haruki Murakami’s books, just to know that a writer has the capability of changing lives by just a sentence.

Once I am inspired by these great writers, it’s easy to get back to writing. I realize that I am doing something that very few people get to do – put my thoughts and feelings on paper. And if I touch somebody’s life by doing that, well, then it’s the cherry on top pf the cake. Writing is hard, but it’s also cathartic, and when you write, you can be anyone, and do anything. So, writers, don’t give up. Your book could speak to someone miles away from you. Write for them.

I know right now, you must be feeling tense and nervous, and even overworked. It’s tough to stick to deadline and word limits. Nobody knows that better than me, a journalist who has daily deadlines. But get rid of the self doubt and just keep your focus where it’s needed most: on the writing. Pick a time in the day where you have nothing else to do, be it early morning or late at night. And just start writing, whatever may flow from your fingers. You can revisit it later and edit. Know that, at the end of it all, you will be proud that you wrote so much. And it will give you the push needed for the next project.

Best of luck.

About Aastha Atray Banan:

Aastha

Presently an assistant editor with Sunday Midday

Twitter: @aastha82

Instagram: @aasthabanan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aastha.atray

Books:
Games Girls Play (RUPA Publications)
His Monsoon Bride (Mills &Boon)

LOLLYGAGGING AND THE ART OF ZOOMING THROUGH NANOWRIMO – A peptalk by Krishna Shastri Devalupalli

Dear Na-No-Wri-Movers & Shakers,

If things have gone according to plan, you are all in front of your keyboards or touch-screen devices searching for that elusive first word of your high-speed novel.

Or, in front of typewriters or blank paper with fountain pen in hand, if you’re old fashioned.

Or, staring at the blank wall of your cave with a sharpened stone in your hands, if you’ve been transported to the Palaeolithic age via a time-machine made by S S Rajamouli’s art department.

Either way, you have 50,000 words to go and 30 days to do it.

That makes it 1666.66 words per day. That’s silly, isn’t it? What’s .66 of a word? Seriously.

I would’ve made it 25 days. A round 2,000 words per day. I tell you.

Be that as it may, here are a bunch of tips that’ll get you zooming through this like a jackrabbit on whatever it was that Lance Armstrong was having.

  1. Brag
    Get on FB/Twitter/Monkey Mail or whatever else your social media platform is and tell everyone you wrote 15, 653 words on the first day. Half the competition will drop out. Even if you don’t complete your assignment, who cares, you’ve got 3698 ‘like’s. I’d kill for that.
  2. Dress Right
    You’ve got the right duds on, half the battle won, dude. If you’re writing a period romance, dress in appropriate gear. Breast plate, thongs (for the feet, silly), codpiece, etc. Have a horse on standby. Personally, whichever genre I’m writing in, I wear an old Bombay Dyeing towel and an angavastram tied around my head like a turban. The former reminds me of Lisa Ray’s early ’90s ads and the latter keeps my head from exploding. Cool, right?
  3. Retell
    This is India, dudes – the land of a million copyright-free stories – where forty-year-olds go to sleep, nursing a warm glass of spiked milk, only when their wives tell them the same stories their grandmas did. So don’t break your lit-fest-craving-bestseller-hallucinating heads thinking up new plots. All you have to do is retell, repackage, rename and win this shindig. Where is that old Amar Chitra Katha collection, I say?
  4. Lie
    Announce, with immediate effect, that you’ve got a big-time publishing deal. You’re not lying if you’ve seen it clearly – even under the influence of over-the-counter hallucinogens. The thatastu devatas, prone to floating about without a care for no-fly-zones, might just say ‘So be it.’ Which is basically their job description. If that doesn’t happen, at least you’ve temporarily paralyzed the competition.
  5. Use Big Words
    If you’re running out of plot twists, do what I do. String up big words together in lyrical sentences. So what if they’re meaningless. Half the award-winning books are, too. For example, here’s a beauty I’ve used in several permutations and combinations:

The foofaraw of the hortatory was perspicacious. But did I prognosticate? Nay, you, pettifogger – poltroon that, you can’t lollygag me with your scofflaw!!

It is imperative to use several exclamation marks, semi-colons and hashtags.

All the best, my friends. More later.

About Krishna Shastri Devulapalli:

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is an illustrator, cartoonist, book designer, columnist and writer. He has written two novels, Ice Boys in Bell-bottoms and Jump Cut, and a play, Dear Anita.

How To Be A Literary Sensation: A Quick Guide to Exploiting Friends, Family & Facebook for Financial Gain his first work of non-fiction will be out in Nov 2015.

He is currently designing a car that can run purely on the gas generated at literary festivals.