Non-fiction author’s 6 must-read pieces of advice for aspiring writers

“When you are obsessed with your topic, you will automatically write all the time. It’s like being in love. You will always find the time,” says Karma Sutra author Rajendar Menen. He talked extensively on writing

On reading

“I read all the papers after my daily yoga session. I read everything — from comic strips and astrology to hardcore political and financial news. Read every single thing you can lay your hands on. Knowledge is indeed power and you stand out from the crowd if you can authoritatively debate a variety of topics. Every word you read, every thing you see, every experience is vital.”

On writing every day

“There will be good days and bad days; you won’t feel like writing on some days. But keep at it. If it’s really tough on a particular day, take a break and do something completely different. For example, I like washing clothes and sweeping my pad clean. I also take very long walks. This refreshes me.”

On manuscripts

“Keep chiseling your manuscript till you feel it is perfect. Even that will finally fall short. But keep refining it. Stick to easy, simple English. You want to communicate and not confuse the reader. Read Khushwant Singh. He had mastered the art of conveying his ideas most effectively in plain, simple English.”

For first-time authors

“Do not be put off by rejection. In the beginning, several publishers may reject your work. But your work also has a destiny and will find its place in the sun when the time is right.”

For ghost writers…

“Ghost writing is the big thing these days. Sports persons, film stars, industrialists, politicians and everyone who has some money and has done something wants a book to be written. So ghost writers are in great demand. I have done a lot of this. You have to get into the mind of the person and understand his or her story and circumstances. Ensure you don’t defame the person, keep his trust, and don’t get facts wrong, and don’t boast about it [you’re a ‘ghost’ writer, remember?]”

On self-discipline

“I set goals every day and am very determined and organised. I also take many risks. I tell myself that the worst thing that can happen to me is that I would die. Nothing more. I’ve lived on the razor’s edge all my life. I still do.”

As told to Kasmin Fernandes

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