Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Reinventing myself, once again

Over the last 10 years, there is one question readers have asked of me over and over again: “When will you write fiction?”

My standard reply, “There are so many amazing entrepreneurs out there! As long as I still find it exciting to tell their stories, I will continue writing this genre ie non-fiction.”

But somewhere in my mind, a seed had been planted. I often tossed around ideas in my mind, but none was truly compelling. Besides, would anyone really want to read my fiction?

Then one day I got a request from a friend, to write ‘something’ – my choice – for a coffee table book he was releasing for his company (a PSU). Along with me, he had invited a few other Indian authors – all fiction writers. Initially, I thought I would contribute something in my usual style. But a part of me felt, it’s time to tell a new kind of story.

So, I allowed it to pour out of me. The 2000 word short story was published and that spurred me on. I wrote a few more such stories – as and when I was in the mood – and it was so much fun. I didn’t have to stick to the interview, double-check the facts, read the balance sheet or find out ‘industry mein is bande ki reputation kya hai’.

I could make up anything. Go back into someone’s childhood, go deeper into their psyche. This became something special and magical for me, but I kept it to myself.

I would wait for inspiration. Which was elusive. Then came coronavirus. For the first 30 days, I felt bored, irritated, lethargic and ‘ab kya karein’. Like countless other startups, MSMEs and large industries, my product suddenly went ‘out of stock’. Books are not essential items, you see, so you cannot buy them right now, even on Amazon.

But more importantly, when business is in lockdown and the economy in ICU, there is no point in publishing stories of entrepreneurs. In time, there will be. But what to do RIGHT NOW?

One morning, I woke up, and started writing… in less than an hour, I had my first short short story (600 words). I shared it with a few friends, who liked it. I posted on Linkedin, got positive feedback.

By that afternoon, I had an idea for another story. Which I wrote the next day.

And suddenly I was in a mode where I could write a story every single day. Sometimes, even two.As of today, I have written 29 stories!

I have decided not to wait to publish as a print book or ebook but to share them online: https://rashmibansal.in/.

Kicking off (what I hope!) is a new model in publishing. Do leave your comments / ratings as what a writer desires the most is knowing if her words have touched the reader.

Happy Lockdown Reading!

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