Kiran Manral (Goodreads, FB, twitter) a journalist turned writer based out of Mumbai. She is the author of The Reluctant Detective (2012) and Once Upon A Crush (2014). She is also the founder of India Helps, a volunteer network to help disaster victims and part of the core founding team of Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month and Violence Against Women Awareness Month. Her parenting blog, karmickids, is among the top five parenting blogs according to blogadda and her personal blog, thirtysixandcounting is listed in the top blogs of India directory. In her spare time she can be found fighting off temptation, either from Nutella or from Up To 50 % off sales.
Her books are available on Amazon and other book stores.
Kiran’s answers to 5 questions are…
1. Why do you write? Why would someone else want to be a writer?
Why do I write? That is one of the most difficult questions to answer and I keep getting asked this over and over again. I really don’t know why I write. I write because there is nothing else I enjoy doing more. I write because the words dance in my head until I run screaming to the computer and start keying them out. I write because what other job, except acting perhaps, would allow me to be different people ever so often, and spend all my spare time on the internet in the guise of research. Seriously though, I write because I must. And if anyone reading this wants to be a writer, they must write if they must too.
2. How do you come up with an idea? Ideas for plots, sequences, scenes, characters and other things? Do you use any tools?
Ideas are very ephemeral, I start with a character and build a story around that character. I use no tools except my fingers and my keyboard, and perhaps my imagination. I also read a lot, anything and everything I can lay my hands on, and the strangest ideas, scenes, etc might pop out of something I’ve read a few days ago or years ago.
3. Do you keep a rigorous writing schedule? If yes, what is your writing schedule?
I’m at my desk 9 am to 2pm every day except weekends when I don’t touch the computer.
Edit Note: Charles Dickens’ followed the 9 to 2 schedule rigorously. He would write from 9 to 2 and then go for long walks (link)
4. How often do you get interrupted by writer’s block? How do you go about working around your writers’ block?
I don’t allow writer’s block to interrupt me. I just keep writing through it. At the worst, I will have 1000 words of which I will need to delete 500 and 500 will still be of use. If I sit back and wallow in my writer’s block I will have no words to show for the day’s worth of work and that to me is a sin.
5. What is the best advice on writing that you’ve ever received?
So many, so many. Nadine Gordimer‘s statement, “The guru of writing is reading.”
I believe I spend more time reading than writing. I read everything. I have finally conquered my OCD about completing a book no matter what and happily discard books that don’t grip me. Life is too short to waste it on books that you struggle to finish.
Then there is that very wise statement from Stephen King, by the way his book On Writing is a bible for aspiring writers, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work,” he says. Treat your craft as a profession.
Think of Malcolm Gladwell‘s Outliers and the 10,000 hours of practice. You have to practice your craft, you have to hone it, work at it, refine it. You need those 10,000 hours of practice.
And finally, I recently read Cheryl Strayed in a reply to an aspiring writer. She says, “Writing is hard for every last one of us—straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.”
Therefore to me now, those words are profound, let’s not talk about how hard it is to write, just get out there and write.
Thanks Kiran for such insightful answers!
Should you have any followup questions for Kiran, please leave them in the comments box below.