Okay. So this is a 'semi-rant' post. It is different from my usual 'oh-look-at-the-bright-side' posts. Because sometimes you just have to say it like it is. There is no other way.
I know you folks, the nice folks, (the folks who read my blog :)) probably know all of this. But the blog is where I can express myself. I have to clarify certain things over and over, because I get asked the same things again and again and again , mostly by people who don't know me at all.
So here goes:
I am a full time writer now. Yes, I am honoured that you consider me worthy enough to give you suggestions on your writing. I appreciate your taking time out and sending me your work. Thank you. But no--I will not be able to read what you send me. The reason is that I simply have no time .I know that you might be thinking--but reading what I send will take only a few minutes and it will mean a lot to me if you read and offer feedback. Yes, I appreciate you are eager to have a published author offer opinion on your work, but my answer remains no.
Allow me to explain.
1. I have a huge reading list already. I am also working on my fifth book (and that itself is a mammoth task which consumes my every waking hour--if I am not writing I am thinking about the book), I am writing articles for a magazine, I am reading a manuscript for an author friend and giving inputs, I am giving newspaper interviews, I am managing my social media pages and after all of that I definitely want to have some time for myself, for my family, for my dog who is my third baby and for my art. I want to read the stuff I like to read. I read 2-3 books at a time. For example, right now I am reading this brilliant book called 'The half of a yellow sun' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and I am reading another amazingly outstanding book called 'Nobody can love you more' by Mayank Austen Soofi and a third called 'How to talk with your angels' by Kim O Neill.
2. I get at least 12-15 requests a day, where people ask me to read and offer suggestions. For me to do that I will need at least 3-4 hours (if I were to read all and I cannot be partial and read only one). I am sorry, I simply cannot afford to spare that kind of time.
3.I blog because I like to blog. So I make time for it. I read the books I want to read. And since my time is limited, I choose to read the stuff I want to, stuff that gives me joy, makes me happy! :) It is simple.
4. I am not as easy person to please. I don't mince words. Most people want praise. They really don't want feedback. I don't like to discourage people. I will be happy if you are published. I do wish you all the best. But sorry, I cannot mentor you or hold your hand while you pursue your dream. I have too much going on in my life already.
5. When I politely refuse to read or offer 'advice' on whether people should quit their present job and become a full time writer (they wouldn't even have a single newspaper article published in their name. They wouldn't have written before. Yet they want me to make a decision for them! They want me to tell them it is easy--go ahead a be a writer, throw away your day-job) then they mail me back saying "I will show you one day. Today is your time. So you think you are great. Tomorrow will be my time. I will mail you a copy of my book one day."
Hello!! I am not competing with you!! If you become a full time writer and get your book published. good for you! I will still read it only if it interests me and if the writing is brilliant! Heck, i might even review it on my blog for you ;-)
6. Yesterday my fellow author Manreet Sodhi Someshwar and I were having an exchange on Twitter about the crazy requests that we writers get. Many of us get mails all the time where, people ask us to mail them a copies of our book!
Hello again! The publishing industry is like any other industry. I guess asking a writer to mail a copy of the book, is like asking Salman Khan to send a free ticket to his movie. He should oblige right? After all I am his fan and it is just one movie ticket for him :)
7. Another remark from a well intended person (I don't remember who said it and so I presume it was well intended but I remember the words so well because I hear variations of this very often) made casually which still has me smarting is (and I quote verbatim) "For you what--it is so easy. press a button and ting a book will pop out."
Yes--that is right. Hundreds of hours of sitting up writing, giving up going to movies with friends because you have to write, not socialising because you are in the middle of a book, sitting alone with no-one but yourself for company days on end, feeling inadequate and insecure on the days that words won't come, second guessing about the worthiness of plot, looking for reader affirmations, writing, editing, re-writing, writing and more writing till at last the manuscript is finished--oh yes--all that is 'Ting--and a book comes out'.
Writing is full time work.
We write because we love to write. Because we have stories to tell. Because we want to connect. Because we can touch lives. Because we have so much to express. Because we love words.
Do we love praise? yes.
Do we like being forced to read stuff we dont want to read? No.
Do we like our readers? We love them, we would be nothing without them.
Will you read my work? NO
I guess I have said what I have wanted to say. And yes I feel better now.
Next time I get a request I will point them to this post.
Thank you for reading :)
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