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How are You, and Where have you been? #writing

By 14/12/2016December 17th, 2016Nanowrimo, writing

Writing lifeThe writing life is a crazy thing. I can’t speak for others, but for me, I’m constantly writing, if only in my own head. Each person I meet, each place I go to, becomes a what if, and within minutes of being left alone, I begin wool-gathering, spinning yarns. Before I started on the writing life, it used to be an embarrassing trait. These days, I can explain it away. Somewhat.

The last few weeks have been a tad demented, what with attending the UEA workshop in Kolkata, with stalwart authors as workshop tutors (the professorial, encyclopedic, deadpan Amit Chaudhuri, the subtle, brilliant Romesh Gunesekara) and an overwhelming talent in terms of peers.

In the middle of some heavy-duty critiquing, and taking in the shabbily-beautifulcity, I finished the Nanowrimo: 50,000 words that don’t seem entirely headed for the waste-basket. So the writing life has been cranking along– other than the first two weeks of December: family issues, illnesses, weddings, you name it. But things should look up now.

I’ll soon start the interview of authors/ publishing professionals again. I have a few lined up that I need to publish. My apologies to everyone I haven’t visited in the meanwhile. I shall make up for it in the coming weeks.

What about you? How are you and how have you been? If you’re a writer, how do you fit in regular living and crises into the writing life? If you don’t write, tell me all about your challenges and triumphs in the past weeks.

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Aui V. says:

    It feels great to read this article after some times of hibernating from the net. Yet I’m still writing everyday (in my journal), haven’t written much on my blog since last month because of the Holiday season which is celebrated the longest here in the Philippines. Glad to know about what you’ve been up to these days. I don’t know where my writing will lead me, but I have two of my children joining the ride with me. After self-publishing my first book, they are on their way to finishing their own. The challenge is still to keep writing just for the joy of writing and giving something away.
    Happy to connect with you again 🙂

  • I have hardly blogged or even done much writing for the last four months (though I have been working on the publicity for my last book). I do believe that in the next four months, I can reacquaint myself with the characters in the novel I set aside three years ago… dreams sometimes come true.

  • I’m in awe of you Nanowrimo writers! Keep it up – you inspire me to try harder to find enough time!

  • dgkaye says:

    Congrats on completing Nano this year Damyanti! Life of a writer seems an eternal juggle. If I’m not working on 5 things at once, I wouldn’t feel like myself, lol. Happy holidays! 🙂

  • Even though I don’t always respond, I love your “how are you doing” posts.
    I hope the remainder of your December is full of writing!

  • I did sign up for a writing conference (maybe like the one you attended in Kolkata), to rejuvenate me and mix with kindred souls. I’m looking forward to that. Otherwise, I continue to work on my novel.

  • upasna1987 says:

    I write to create memories, to end my days being grateful. You are right we tend to weave stories out of everyone. I want to thank you for holding my hand for NaNoWriMo but sorry, I failed at my calculations. The story was short for a novel and then, I felt little reluctant to share it with the world. Drafted 5K words but as of now, I am keeping it with me.

  • jmathur says:

    Writing is definitely a crazy thing. I have also been an addict of writing for years. Hence I appreciate your thoughts to the full. You have utilized your non-writing period in the most productive way, that’s a very positive thing. Goodluck for everything in your life including writing.

    Jitendra Mathur

  • You are surely a person with high creativity..

  • ladycee says:

    Hello fellow-blogger,

    You seem to be leading an exciting and busy life as a writer. You must be very disciplined.

    Blogging has been a god-send for me. Before that, I was always meaning to write but hardly ever did so, unless there was a specific demand I had to meet. Now I write more regularly (I have 2 blogs!). Unfortunately, I am such a perfectionist I tend to spend way too much time on my posts.

    My mother died mid September, so for a while writing faltered. Now I’ve picked up blogging again but instead of getting on with the completion of a self-publishing project, I decided to get involved in a 30-day blog challenge – talk about procrastination!

    Thank you for listening. Just had a desire to get things of my chest.

    Have a happy Christmas, or peaceful seasonal break.

  • Parul Thakur says:

    You have been busy. I write for my blog and then my work emails 😉
    And I have been well. I am determined to change a few things in 2017 and I just hope I am able to sustain the courage I seem to have now 🙂 Hugs, Damyanti.

  • vinodinii says:

    It sure is a challenge to keep up the writing with so many other things happening around you. I try to keep pace by posting at least once a week on my blog. Have been doing some experiments there with different genres. Hope it works! I’m guessing that the workshop added value to your writing. Wish you all the best for the next year.

  • Sulekha says:

    You have been very busy 🙂 I have been doing some writing courses online and one course made me sit up and start thinking about writing seriously. It was writing a manuscript in 60 days, I am on day two. If I write 1000 words everyday and by the end of two months will have 60,000 words…fingers crossed 🙂

  • paupakiwis says:

    Glad that you’re in a good space as far as writing goes Damyanti. More peace and happiness.

  • Shilpa Gupte says:

    I have been fine, Damayanti. Been keeping myself busy with writing and sketching. I can so relate to what you said about woolgathering. That happens to be a personal hobby. Not being much of an extrovert, I end up being by myself. And, when i am with myself, esp at gatherings or weddings, I keep observing people and life around me and cooking up a post or two in my head about it all. You can find helpful prompts at places swarming with people. All you need to do is keep observing and making notes! 🙂

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      I do talk at gatherings, but there’s always a part of me that is always silent, forever taking notes.

  • Rachna says:

    You’ve been crazy busy, it looks like. I write professionally as well as for my blogs. Some days I just want to run away from the written word. Life has been hectic. December for some reason always is. Look forward to a slightly more relaxed start to the New Year.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Both crazy, and busy :). Yeah, December is never a relaxing month.

  • Someone’s been busy 🙂
    Writing has taken a back seat this year – mainly due to some health concerns and other things. Here’s to hoping 2017 will be a more organised year, in terms of writing.
    Thank you for the constant inspiration, Dams!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Haha, yes, Sid. I hope all the health concerns are now sorted out. Take care of you and family. I’m no inspiration– I struggle all of the time.

  • Me Otherwise says:

    Yes it is a non stop job being a writer. I write when I am quite, I wrote in my thoughts as I sit still watching the trees swaying outside the window. And I gather thoughts as I walk down the lane every evening.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Yes, writing is a non-stop process. All the best with your work, and thanks for visiting 🙂

  • Mark Murata says:

    Because of my work hours at my new workplace, I’ve started writing in the mornings before work. My shift starts at 8:45am, which the latest I’ve started in a long time. They have a nice, large cafeteria, so sometimes I’ll start writing there as early as 7:00.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      I love morning writing, Mark. I do quite a bit of that myself.

  • Nick Pip says:

    Sounds like you’re pretty disciplined! I am still new to the process, so I write maybe a few times a week. I use a website called Scribophile, so I also do a fair amount of critiquing. One of the things that’s helped me is cutting down on TV watching. For the most part, I’m either reading, writing or critiquing.

  • Let’s see. I usually manage about 6,000 words a day. Hmm. Perhaps I should try to write a book while I’m on holiday! Currently letting the commercial writing wind down – but what will I do with three whole weeks off? Mind you, it might be nice to go to the beach for a change too! 🙂

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      6k words a day is terrific. Never written as much in a day myself. Go to the beach or write a book: whatever makes you happy, and makes a good welcome for the New Year!

  • ccyager says:

    The holiday season during December in America is insane. Every year I struggle to stay grounded and positive as I observe the people around me getting crazy about shopping, travel, and family. The tension in the air can make it difficult to write, to create. But I’m always thinking about ideas I’m working on, problems with WIP, and staying open to ideas. Right now, I’m in good health considering the chronic illnesses I have. But when a crisis arises, especially with my health, I stop everything to address it. Right now, I’m very, very concerned about a Trump presidency and how it will affect the arts in America. A friend asked me yesterday if I’m prepared to be arrested. We don’t think of America as a fascist state, but Trump is sure acting already like a dictator. It doesn’t help me that the future America I’d envisioned for my “Perceval” series had someone like Trump taking over in 2016. Ack!!! I hope your health has improved, Damyanti. It’s no fun not to feel well.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Cinda, hugs. I understand your concerns.
      The holiday season affects me as well. Hope all stays well with your health, your WIP and your writing. Take care of yourself, my friend.

      • ccyager says:

        You are in my thoughts, Damyanti. I hope you remain healthy. Feel free to e-mail me if ever you want to vent about it. I’m a sympathetic listener.

  • Glynis Jolly says:

    Don’t fret over the absence. It’s completely understandable. Glad things are settling down a little for you. Only problem is Christmas is upon us. Take care of yourself. <3

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Glynis. My blog suffers whenever my life becomes a busy hive. Yep end of the year is here– not sure where it all went!

  • pjlazos says:

    Hi Damyanti! I’ve missed your posts. Glad to hear you finished NaNo and that the work is workable! Have a great day!?

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      I miss you guys, too. Yep, the Nano output is somewhat workable, let’s see. You have a good day ahead as well :).

  • G.B. Miller says:

    I usually keep my writing to the weekends. Great stress reducer from the aggravations of the week.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Weekends I don’t write much– much of my writing is during the weekdays. Whatever works for each of us, I suppose.

  • Hi Damyanti,

    Congratulations on your 50,000 words and a keeper, too. I look forward to reading it some day. Well, as long as it isn’t horror 😉

    After Nanowrimo, I hit the editing hard. Almost half way through the book and looks as if the second half will need fleshed out a bit more. My writing time seems to be more available during this holiday season. I’ll embrace it and continue to edit.

    Coffee and Quill, the best way to an adventure.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Cynthia. It is a feminist novel involving crime.

      I’m yet to finish this draft, but hope to do so by 1st week of Jan. Then possibly will hit the 2nd draft in Feb.

  • Good for you for 50,000 words! Thanks a lot of writing for a month, and it’s great that it’s a keeper. I’ve been writing like a fiend, Damyanti, and letting everything else slide. That has to end soon with the holidays. Have a great holiday season and Happy Writing 🙂

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Letting everything slide is the best way to get writing done :). Go for it! Thanks for your comments and for dropping by: wishing you happy holidays as well !

  • simonfalk28 says:

    You are a trooper, Damyanti! Good for you on the 50,00 saveable words 🙂 I have been writing very little of late. Too scattered in many directions and not in the deeper, more centred place, to notice, be inspired, and write. I hope the rest of the month goes well for you. 🙂

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Simon. I hope you find that centered place soon. I really hope to continue writing on the page the rest of the month.

  • Birgit says:

    Congrats on the NaNo …at least that can get your mind off of all the stuff that has been happening. One never has a steady ho hum life which is why we can say we have had an enriching life. I have not made too many cards recently….our one cat passed away suddenly, my best friend needs me as she is finding out how narcisstic her husband is, my mom, I fear, is nearing the end but she could still go on for a ear…or not. My doctor was incredibly rude so I changed doctors and just saw him today and I feel very hopeful. I do love Christmas and have been decorating to my hearts content. I took a week off so I can accomplish all this.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      So sorry to hear about your cat, Birgit. Hope all goes well with your friend and your mom. Taking care of the elderly is such hard work.

      Sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience with the doc. Hope the new one is better.

      Wishing you a Merry Christmas in advance. Hope to catch up on all your missed posts soon.

  • Congratulations on completing the Nano!

  • I can relate to finding potential story themes everywhere I go or whoever I’m talking to. Most of the time these potential stories never come to pen, but there are some that stand out and demand to be written in story format. Fortunately life has other interests too, but writing is of major interest.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Ian, I’m forever writing in my head– it’s a busy place in there. 🙂

  • suregirl69p says:

    Now isn’t that the God’s honest truth. I can’t seem to turn off my brain at times

  • cathum says:

    Well done on completing the course of Nanowrimo, and what sounds like a really useful course. Could do with a few tips on your time-management strategies I think.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      My time management sucks! I barely managed the 50k words– wrote about 5k in 4 hours on the last day. It was too much– I did two workshops and the Nano at the same time, while in a different country. Sigh.

  • C.E.Robinson says:

    Congrats on success with NanNo! Just take life’s crises & distractions in stride! I’ll get back to the book! In the meantime, research continues and the story gets more realistic and organized. All good. Happy Holidays!!? Christine

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Christine! I continue to write on mine as well :). Happy holidays to you too!

  • firobertson says:

    Damyanti I can totally relate to this post. I am constantly writing in my head, too. I often miss turnoffs when driving or fail to respond to a question because I’m thinking about a story line or my characters. Glad I’m not the only one living in my own head sometimes!
    Your workshop sounds amazing – glad you were able to have such a wonderful and inspiring time.
    Best wishes for moving forward with your NaNoWriMo project.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Fiona. I’m forever in my head, and that makes me lousy company most times irl. That workshop was really good, wish I could have more. I’m moving forward with the Nano project– never dreamt I’d finish it, but now am looking forward to finishing the draft! 🙂

  • Congratulations on beating NaNo.
    Sorry about issues and so much do deal with. Christmas is coming here and there are so many events to attend.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Alex! All issues are part of life, I guess. Enjoy the events– hope you have wonderful holidays!

  • Dani Watkins says:

    Hello! I am a freelance writer and homemaker. These past few weeks with the holidays have been a bit busy than normal. I am totally with you on constantly writing in my head. While my schedule is a bit off, sitting down to write anything helps me unwind and relax. Great post!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Hi Dani! Busy is good, though it doesn’t seem so at the time :). Sitting down to write is an imperative for me– because if I don’t, I’m cranky, lol

  • ksb59 says:

    Hi! I am going on sending you messages, at least two I have had sent; but did not got any wink at all. So felt a bit disheartened. Hope I am not being overbearing. Best wishes

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Hi, I’m not sure what message you’re talking about, and where you’ve sent them: could you help point out where I should check? Not been online the last two weeks. Thanks.

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