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Posts Tagged ‘beginners’

Author Anu Lal on his new book Mount Sermon

In Anu Lal, Mount Sermon on September 11, 2015 at 10:30 am

I am really excited about my upcoming book Mount Sermon. This is my fifth book, that’s why. I would like to remember the blessings showered upon me by the Source of all being, my heavenly Father. I touch the feet of all my teachers. I send love to all my beloved friends and readers. Thank you for all your support. For those who have been with me since the days of Wall of Colours, a special thanks is due.

__Anu Lal

Motivation for the Writer in You

In Anu Lal, Writing Solutions on July 6, 2014 at 5:53 pm
Courtesy: Google Images

Courtesy: Google Images

 What makes the writer in you smile? The money involved in the writing business or the chance to serve humanity through the words you write? I know the money part doesn’t hurt the majority of us, but by any standard very difficult to come by on reliable amounts, doing writing as a day job. So what is your motivation for staying in this profession?

 Bestsellers and Moneymaking:

Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, in one of his writing tips suggests that one should not fix one’s attention on moneymaking while plodding through the journey of being a writer. However, with success stories like Hugh Howey and Amanda Hocking flying around in the media around us, none of the wannabie writers would possibly prefer to feign ignorance towards the “money-making” aspect of writing. This, indeed, is the catch in being an indie publisher. I hope the people in BW Publishing wouldn’t disagree with me. If they do, you wouldn’t be reading this piece right now. If you are reading this part, believe me, they are a bunch of very nice people, kind and all. But each time a writer attempts self-publishing, those few glittering names might serve a tantalizing example for them to try it out at least once. This is the same reason why when my second book, You Should Know How I Feel, went into Amazon’s top-hundred bestselling contemporary romance list, I couldn’t sleep the whole night. I was excited, of course.

 Being a bestselling author is not as financially liberating experience as winning a lottery. It takes time before you make awesome lots of money. Being a bestseller currently, is a responsibility than anything else. It is a status quo, according to which people expect you to act, at least in your future writing endeavors. In that sense, it gives the writer a definite advantage. There is both visibility and a chance to look at oneself with confidence. Seeing one’s book in the bestseller list, of course raises one’s confidence levels. However, as I mentioned, it is not easy to earn a living by writing bestsellers any longer. One must keep a day job in order to experiment with a dream like ‘being a writer’. It is an experiment basically, which you are sure to win. But it also depends on how you define ‘victory’.

 This is where Mr. Bradbury’s words help us. If a writer’s focus is awards, and if one fails to secure a position in a prestigious short list for a great award, the writer fails. If a writer’s focus is on bestseller lists and money, and if one fails to make that happen in the expected attempt, the writer fails inevitably, again. The choice is simple; do you wish to be a failure in selling or a failure in writing?

If you wish to avoid being the latter, your focus should be on writing, not on selling. It is an extremely workable tactics, which most of us in the kindle-era are yet to trust. Cover design and marketing are important factors in publishing a book. However, the most important element that makes a book is its ‘life force’, the content. Much like human beings, every book has its own life force, its own soul. It is to tend and nourish the content, its soul every writer must strive each moment. This puts upon the writer the added responsibility to play God with the story. Like the invisible Creative Source of the universe and the way it tends and nourishes the human spirit, a writer must feed the content of every book with love and grace.

 Faith plays a crucial role in this attempt. I am sure every writer reading this article would be wondering where I am driving at with these spiritual interpretations for the art of writing. I would suggest that there is an added advantage to this perspective. If, as a writer your focus is on good writing and strong content, each attempt will take you a little up the ladder to the fulfillment of your dream. When you armor yourself with this perspective, you abandon the risk of trailing off in this bestselling list or that. This doesn’t mean I am belittling the importance of bestsellers. Instead, I am stressing the importance of providing quality content irrespective of your place in the list. Being noticed is just the side effect. After each work, your expertise as a writer will grow and so will your authenticity. But this could happen only if you would spend your energies in the perfecting of your craft and not over worries on acceptance by the populace.

 What others think of your craft should not be the marker of your success. If it were, you would never be able to make it big, for every bestseller-performance invites attention. The more attention, the more criticism. In fact, practicing the art with unshared attention of the author would be a definite upper hand in your life in the post-bestseller period. You would be unaffected with negative or positive criticisms by others and be a writer with a steady growth if you follow your inner call rather than what this critic or that critic thinks. Thanks to the spiritual perspective. This would work in your favor once you start mounting the stairs of success.

 Service and the Spirituality of Writing:

At this level, it must sound like a mission. The central concept of our discussion is writers’ motivation. Should it be money or the craft itself? We have already seen that giving too much importance to money and rank could jeopardize the very life force of your work, the craft, and this increases the risk of failure as a writer. Instead, if one spares undivided attention at the Glorification of Craft, there is a win-win situation in store for the writer. You will know each time that you are learning something important in terms of ‘how to tell a better story’.

 This is where one comes across the duality of reader and writer, because you are “telling something”. In order to tell something, you need someone across you to listen. However, the motivated writer should be in harmony with the Constant Reader, a terminology popularized by Stephen King, and not the money they are receiving as royalty. Storytelling and writing in general are acts that involve the undeniable dualism of the reader and the writer. This makes it a writer’s duty to give back one’s best to the Constant Reader. Giving the readers a treat with the best content, you could involve in the creative process without thinking about rewards.

 Rewards, you should take for granted, for they in a dedicated writer’s life make themselves bountifully present. Dedicating one’s craft to the service of humanity in taking the reader away into another world for escape or to impart a new idea into their minds, is a useful pretext to work regardless of the monetary reward. This is a set of regular exercise, which can help writers achieve the Glorification of Craft.

 Giving away books free, without any additional cost is an advantage of electronic publishing and a positive, selfless gesture towards the reading community. With Amazon Kindle’s Free Book Promotion tools, it’s even easier for indie authors to chose when and which book they would like to give away free of cost. From July 5 to 7, the Kindle version of my blog The Indian Commentator with a special authors’ note is available free. Because my readers have given me so much support through BW Publishing and through Amazon’s sales channels, I consider this my thanksgiving gesture, to return something back to them. Art always attains higher meaning through service.

 Free e-books are generally a marketing strategy that many traditional publishers are reluctant to take. However, when I suggested the idea, BW Publishing was very impressed and was ready to make a kindle version of my blog. They did it with impressive quality. There is no revenue intention behind this attempt. I thank my publisher for extending this warm gesture of friendship and service not just towards me but also to all the clan of my readers.

 What gives me real joy is not the number of bestselling charts this book is climbing currently, but the fact that I am giving something back to the reading community, free of any financial burden. Moreover, I am receiving the satisfaction and contentment that I envisioned through the practicing of the spiritual perspective of writing or the viewing of writing as “tending of the life force” of the creative work. These are rituals that can ground the writer in writing for higher levels of excellence rather than superfluous gains.

With love,

ANU LAL

Download Unclassified Intelligence, the kindle version of The Indian Commentator here, free.

UNCLASSIFIED INTELLIGENCE.

Anu Lal’s latest book Prabuddha: The Clear-sighted is now out on sale. Get a copy hereblog stats copy

In Anu Lal, Books, Dhanya Krishna, Wall of Colours, You Should Know How I Feel... on March 23, 2014 at 7:23 am

Dear Bountiful Friends,

You are a special group of celestial beings, destined to come across and share love among each other. Bountiful Word Publishing realizes this fact. Therefore, we started a new endeavor in this direction. This endeavor we call YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW I FEEL…, a bunch of love stories by our author Anu Lal.

With extremely high quality of performance, we have created, yet again, a book that can stand the test of time and generations to be a true classic. The stories in You Should Know How I Feel… will no doubt be your favorite ones forever.

Anu Lal, the first Indian author to write a trilogy in short story collects is all set to conquer the world with his fresh and lyrical story telling style. His language conquers and charms the readers’ minds. Through You Should Know How I Feel… he is introducing Dhanya Krishna, a very talented writer, as his co-author.

The book contains a bonus story for all the loyal readers of Bountiful Word. A surprise awaits you at the end of the book, after the bonus story!

ON SALE NOW!

ON SALE NOW!

We wish you all, a very happy reading. It’s time to rekindle your passion and love, one more time.

The Kindle version of You Should Know How I Feel… is on sale through all amazon stores across the world.

Kindly let us know how you feel after reading the humble effort of ours. Tap here for a copy of You Should Know How I Feel…  Tap

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NEXT: Read an exciting article by author ANU LAL on the writing journey, in our next issue!

Nokia X2-01 can help a Writer

In Writing Solutions on August 15, 2013 at 5:01 am

I think, the experience I had might be helpful for some of my writer friends. So I share it here.

Courtesy: Google Images

Courtesy: Google Images

The Gritty part: This article, in its unedited form is typed out, completely in my Nokia cell phone. Editing has been done, though I am not bragging on the quality of this art of purgation.

I am onto the first day of this adventure. Writing in my Nokia X2-01 is like taking a photograph. It’s a spur of the moment idea, but in a life full of bus-rides, to and from the college I work at, and tight schedule of classes, the best thing to do is to utilize the hours effectively. The spare moments come only during the long waiting at the bus stand and the dreary bus rides, which quite often involve a terrible fistfight between your eighty-kilo body and the iron bar inside the bus. Being seated in these overcrowded buses is a slightly overrated fantasy.

So I found out that the best strategy for effective literary life is to utilize the ‘qwerty’ keypad of the Nokia X2.

I haven’t done this before, at least in such a serious manner, in order to type in full articles, or crucial sections of full articles. I miss my chair. Not a big deal; it is just a fiber chair with no peculiarity. However, I do miss it, mostly because normally when I write, it backs up my butt.

Being a utilitarian does some good to creatures living under the rule of ‘hecticism’—no time for this, and no time for that, work, work, and work. In such a circumstance, only this ideology could save me from losing all this precious time, when I travel in buses and wait in bus stops.

Right now, I am seated in a bus. (I mean, when I wrote it.) This bus is taking me to Thaliapramba, where my college is located. I teach English there. I took the bus from Kannur city. I live in a place called Chalode, a small town, half an hour drive from Kannur city. Chalode and Kannur city appear under different pseudonyms in my book, Wall of Colours and Other Stories. Chalode appears in names such as ‘Chaloke’ as well as ‘Salode’. Kannur comes up in the book as ‘Cannanore’, the name given to the city by the British, during the Raj. Defamiliarising these names were an attempt to avoid any direct reference to people and landmarks, which if occurred, might possibly end up in courtrooms and police stations. These places will continue to appear in the up-coming books in the Hope, Vengeance, and History trilogy.

The bus ride from Chalode to Kannur is the hardest one. School kids, and working men and women, make the bus journey less short of a nightmare. One advantage is associated with this way of things though, that being, I could witness population explosion first hand. It seems that population explosion is a slightly underrated term for Armageddon.

This is where the metaphor of the photograph comes up. I feel like I am taking a picture of my thoughts, standing right in the ground among all the turmoil. Isn’t this great? However, I do not and cannot tell what you, as a reader might feel about this venture of mine. Great, uh? One of my old friends might call it cheesy. And that same friend of mine, would chase madly after those counter cultural movements they teach in the university, while degrading everything out of the normal or counter-cultural as either cheesy or nonsensical. It is not his fault either. Who would tell them, the pillars of life are set on the ground of an unbending paradox. It is very much like the picture I took with my words, still, without taking a picture.

This article is written by Anu Lal

Visit his blog for more: http://anu-lal.blogspot.in/

Is less, more?

In Writing Solutions on August 5, 2013 at 2:29 pm
Courtesy: Google Images

Courtesy: Google Images

Writing websites normally give this advice to their users; when you write online, write less. People tend to surf net in a hurry. No one is going to pay any serious attention to your work if you write long. Long essays are a ‘pullback’ element in blogging, they’d say. All I have to say on this is every principle fails, occasionally, and in some unfortunate cases, always.

For a beginner, an advice to write short and crippled articles, or make short blog posts would be less short of exposure to nuclear radiation. He might find a bright light in the beginning, but the rest would be devastation.

Let us come to the point.

Writing sloppy and long is a very important exercise for a beginner. Writing every day and long is an evident accelerator to self-confidence as a writer. Writing less and aphoristic pieces are apt for a well-experienced and mature writer to try in his blogs or social media writing outlets.

Every advice has its own benefits and pitfalls. The advice to write less could be a bad advice for beginner. I’d say, write more to write less.

Writing long pieces would help a person in many ways. Here are four major areas that could be helped by writing long.

1. Produce base material to fall back on later.

Writing long provides an archive to the writer that he or she can use to edit or work later on. Editing a long work can be as gratifying as creative writing itself. Editing also helps defying the phenomenon called writers’ block. Some materials that surface in the writer’s conscious awareness, while writing long, can be useful in projects he or she undertakes later. Many writers testified that they encountered information, ideas, and wisdom they never thought existed in their minds, while writing. The first Indian writer to bring a Booker Prize in Literature home, Arundhathi Roy, said that her thoughts work when she writes.

2. Helps experimenting with voice.

Writing is an act of voicing. Finding the proper voice is as important for a writer as language. Writing long is the short cut to prep and pepper the voice.

3. Help track every dimension of the core topic.

Writing long is immensely helpful in a writer’s life in the clarity it provides to oneself about the ideas that wander in one’s head. At first, every work of words begins as a random flicker of thought, which then develops into a mess of vague ideas. From this stage, if the writer wants to move forward, the best chance he or she has is to write down every bit of idea related to the topic that comes to their mind. Once written down, these ideas are recorded. They can be used later. Writing down all the thoughts should include an action irrespective of importance, order, clarity, etc. Some ideas might seem largely different or divergent from the main topic. If this prevents the writer to write long, and in full truthfulness to whatever comes to his or her mind, the juicy and delicate part of your content could never be found again. They would forever be lost in the maize of your thoughts, because the best part of your thoughts would be hidden in the wilderness of ideas you had thought useless, in the beginning. There is always an editor’s desk to save your life, to cut down your long work short. However, no one else can fix whatever you haven’t put there, just because you are lazy or extra-careful or adherent to some advice on aphorism.

4. Boosts self-confidence.

Looking at the ten page first draft of your blog post or 25 thousand words of short story would make you feel proud, no doubt.

Write more, learn the craft, then write less or more—your take.

Bin to Bestsellers: the Importance of Other People in your Writing Life

In Freelance Tips on June 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Courtesy: Google Images

Making money writing is the hardest job on planet earth, however, there are people who do it effectively and make a living out of it. Being not one of them is not your problem, but aspiring not to be one is.

Is finding a publisher the best option for you as a writer? Richard Bach once mentioned in an interview; it’s not a publisher a writer searches for, but an editor. This relationship is one that should last for a lifetime. An editor understands where the music of words has to be slowed down or where it must run faster. But to get one worthy enough, you must do a lifetime’s waiting.

As a beginner in freelancing and in professional writing, how do you get an editor whose service can be worthwhile? Beginners are always stuck with the same problem, lack of funds. This in turn hampers your look out for an editor. Good editors are sale items with relatively high price money. There are many writers’ communities that offer editing services. Even some literary agencies offer you with editing services. However, if you are a first timer and one without enough weight in you bank account, hiring an editor for your book or manuscript will not be, normally, easy.

The best way to tackle this situation is to find reliable and easy options for editors. One need not go much farther for this end. Just look around and you will find yourself to be blessed with many minds, gifted with the one serum of eternal life—love—around you, ready to help reading your manuscript.

Showing your manuscript to your friends and family or girl friend would be a better option. In such a case, the money spent would be much close to null on editing services. The best editors are those who actually care for our work. You must be open to their criticisms; however, in harsh criticisms you can always rely on their lack of professional experience as the hideout from humiliation.

Courtesy: Google Images

Stephen King, when he wrote his first novel, Carrie, did not think it would make up to the publishing standards and threw it into the bin. But his wife Tabitha King accidentally discovered the manuscript and read it. Thinking that it would be something worth of a quality, she put it back on the table and later helped King to rework on it. The novel went to become a best seller of its times and was made into a successful Hollywood movie.

This is one real life example from the life of America’s most celebrated and enthusiastic writer, Stephen King. This could be yours too. A relationship not just helps an individual to maintain one’s emotional health but the creative out put as well. Now wait your sweet heart to tell you where to put the period.

Three Fears Beginning Writers Must Avoid

In Writing Solutions on March 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm
Courtesy: Google Images

Courtesy: Google Images

Beginning writers are delicate creatures. Their eyes are especially alloyed with a certain curiosity to know what the other person thinks about their work. Beginning writers have these special set of eyes that always turn themselves towards the so-called critics or readers or commentators.

With a water canal directly linked with these specially equipped pair of eyes, they are capable to shed water unreluctantly on an acerbic remark by this very reader or critic or commentator they so eagerly looked forward to listening from.

They have special imaginary night vision goggles that they use occasionally to stare into the outer space in the darkness of their murky dens in the lonely times they spend waiting their muse. We should not misunderstand muse to be a woman. It is obvious and clear that the muse is their lost creativity. The phrase ‘lost creativity’ is not just an accidental adjective here. It has its own significance, because it indicates the beginners’ agony. Their agonies have a common hinge joint and that is the fear of ‘losing their creativity’. Even though, each time they succeed in undoing this terrible enslavement of fear the insecurities always return and the beginner feels that she has lost it all.

Oh, these Beginners!

If you feel you are the above mentioned category of species that I call a beginning writer, then you can focus on a few things in your life and change your fears into power sources.

Fear number one: what others might say. This fear is the worst one of all, because this form of fear utilizes a stealth strategy. It is hidden from our view and attacks us from behind, at an unexpected moment. Often this fear is disguised as an extremely normal and inevitable act—to see what others say about my work. It starts with a mere curiosity, a harmless small peep into someone else’s journal. Slowly, in steady but unignorable steps this curiosity grows into a habit and the habit clears space for the fear to hatch and multiply.

At this stage, the beginning writer is unable to put the pen on paper of fingers on keyboard, mostly due to the fact that he doesn’t know what his friend or critic or reader might think about what he is going to write. He had shown his work to some of them and expected good comments, but they all reverted with bad result, and he received brick backs. This warns him of failure in the future writing project too.

The solution is simple, here. What others say about you is none of your business—as Paulo Coelho puts it.

The second fear a beginning writer should identify and overcome is the fear of losing the edge. This is a constantly haunting spectre a beginner faces. A bad day at work or an exceptionally heavy work load would make her think she has just lost her knack in handling emergencies in producing creatively revealing and uplifting art in writing. This fear is a direct result of a comparison the beginner performs. She compares the amount of productivity, of course on a daily basis, in number of words or pages or articles produced, with the time available.

She inevitably ends up bringing negative results in this comparison, because as the time progresses such a beginner would often focus on quality of writing and the time spend on writing increases automatically with less ‘word count’. The reason why this is absolutely sure is that only a genuine, versatile writer feels such a fear and does such a comparison. It is after all, the urge to increase quality.

This means, it is their tendency to improve themselves that creates the lag in their production.

The third fear is the fear of looking at oneself and seeing the truth. You look in the mirror and see only the doubtful, insecure, still learning, miserable ‘beginner’. And this is surely troublesome. However, the solution is at hand as well. It is just a matter of setting the right kind of perspective for you. There are more to see in you that just the insecure beginner and only this realization can drive this fear out of your inner mind.

You already are whatever you want to be. Otherwise you never have wanted to be a writer. You are not a beginner any more.

There is no need for confusion here. It is this fear of being a beginner that nudged you into reading this article as well thinking that here you may find a solution to find the edge you always looked for.

The truth is, you already have that edge and your fears are the symptoms saying you do not identify your caliber properly.

Once you are at this part of the article, you may find that fear is just an outward expression of your knowledge or lack of it. Understanding fear is a great step in conquering it. But co-existing with fear is still greater because then you do not need to run away or try to understand it or hide from it or translate fear into some other this or that.

Courtesy: Google Images

Courtesy: Google Images

Madman’s Protocol

In Writing Solutions on March 3, 2013 at 6:32 am
Courtesy: Google Images

Courtesy: Google Images

Patterns are everywhere in human life and in the course of nature.

How do we know a crazy person, when we see one?

We just know? Or do we resort to some external behavioral patterns exhibited by the madman? Perhaps we take both ways to arrive at the conclusion, but most commonly we resort to how a man behaves to judge him mad or not. Usually, it is the features in the person’s behaviour outside the normal human behaviour that helps us nail the issue. What does this indicate?

This indicates that we observe patterns of abnormal behaviour in the person concerned. The same is true with anything and everything we write—a pattern to decide whether what you have written is meaningful and a pattern to see errors.

Even if we want to make a conscious swerve from the established norms of writing and to create some mischievous product of literature that can proclaim war on the traditional format, we still have to stick with a pattern to make that change feel visible. This pattern could be grammar.

If we are good at our online-prowl and reading-life seeking information and entertainment, we must have come across a term such as the “Grammar Police”.  The term is used to indicate not a protective element or force, or for the safety one feels with the presence of the law enforcement in a James Patterson thriller, but the frustration of having these bunches of guys watching over us. In other words, this clues us in about how this set rules in language, grammar, is being hated by young and old alike.

The much debated “grammar police” talk is mostly due to the lack of mastery of the subject. Grammar is not exactly a term that denotes the way a language works. On the other hand grammar is the answer to how the magic of words works.

Some of us feel they are incompetent in grammar and instead of admitting it and taking the necessary remedies to solve the problem they often channel their ignorance into protests against rules in language. This sounds stylish and revolutionary because many well known and celebrated writers had stood for such an attitude through their works. The Indian writer Arundhathi Roy is just one example. Do not forget William Shakespeare and the grammatical differences that we may find in his plays, from the standard of his era.

This is a bad idea for a beginner, though. Only if we are able to show our basic skills to the new reader through our work, can we establish a niche for ourselves. But how do we do this? Stop cursing grammar first. Grammar is the way you can reach into someone else’s mind. Otherwise, all your words may appear a meaningless jumble.

As beginners, we best look for the frequent errors we commit in our writing and correct them first. This can be done with the help of teachers or a writing instructor.

Just like a chisel in a sculpturer’s hand, language is the tool and help of a writer. It is therefore a routine any writer should strictly adhere to, to keep his or her language clean and free of creating any embarrassing errors. Only a madman could keep his tools unattended and destroy their tenacity.

Courtesy: Google Images

Courtesy: Google Images