Author Kiran Manral juggles several roles — apart from being a writer, she’s on the planning board of the Kumaon Literary Festival and a mentor with Sheroes, Qween and Back 2 The Front, among others. She’s written short stories, novels and nonfiction as well. In this episode of #HowWritersWrite, we asked her how she switched between different genres, and her writing superstitions:
Do you write everyday? Where and when do you write?
I write every single day from 8.30 am to whatever time I decide to end. My writing is scattered through the day, so I might begin by around 8.30 am but I keep working till around 11 pm, either in stretches of a couple of hours at a time, or in short bursts of half an hour through the day. My writing is all at my desk, which is clear of everything except my diary, a bottle of water, a pen and my spectacles.
Do you listen to music while you write? What’s on your playlist at the moment?
Nope. No music. Just a blank wall. And the blank page.
What is your go-to site for distracting yourself? Or do you refuse to browse the net while writing?
I have Twitter and Facebook windows open, as well as my Gmail. Twitter is distracting enough and I try to limit the time I spend there. My sites to distract myself on regular days are the New Yorker or the Guardian, at others I go to Gutenberg and read some books online. At times it is High Heel Confidential or Goop. At other times, I might go to online interior retail sites like Pepperfry.
Any writing rules or superstitions?
No writing rules or superstitions, except perhaps that I never discuss work in progress with anyone until it is out. Also I must remove everything from my hands– rings, fitbit, bangles, watch, bracelets — and have them absolutely bare before I can work. I must also type in Calibri Body 12. Any other font and I feel constrained. I sit facing a blank wall, and have absolutely nothing that I can stare at, so that I am forced to look inside my head.
Short stories, novels, nonfiction — you’ve written them all. What’s the most challenging genre? Why?
I’ve just started writing short stories actually, and I find them the most difficult. The limitation of words makes it imperative to be concise yet convey all that one needs to. Also, my fatal flaw would be lengthy sentences, and short stories are my way of lacerating myself into writing shorter sentences.
Three tips you’d give all new writers:
- Read a lot. Read a million times more than you write.
- Be discerning of what you read. Life is too short to struggle to complete a book that doesn’t interest you.
- Write every single day of your life.