I’m a very tentative person. Writing is one way of finding certainty.
Daisy Hasan, 39 is a critically acclaimed writer from Shillong. Her novel, The To-Let House (Tara Books), was long listed for the Man Asia Literary Prize and short listed for The Hindu Literary Prize. Daisy plugged into her past and brought alive a tender
“I wrote my debut novel, The To-Let House, quite by accident. I had sent in a short piece for a creative writing workshop that Tara Books was organising. My piece was in the voice of a young girl growing up as an ‘outsider’ in Shillong. Energetic editors recognised a striking voice in this piece, and nurtured it into a full fledged novel.
My publishers were both audience and critics. In this, I was fortunate. Yet the book took a long time to complete. It sang itself out over 10 long years, during which time I moved to another continent, found a soul mate and finished a Ph.D.
Frankly, I was worried that the book may never see the light of day. In retrospect, the wait was worth it. The few ‘flashes of brilliance’ were slowed down by several false starts. Patience was critical. I am a very
tentative person. Writing is one way of finding certainty. As the story grew in strength, I relied intuitively on the characters, who slowly found their feet, to tell the tale. It is wonderful to have a critical audience for your work. My sister, Anjum Hasan, is a professional writer, and feedback from family and friends was never in short supply. However, writing is essentially a lonely business. There is no one way of doing it. Sticking with it for long enough is what usually works in the end, in my experience. The important thing is to be yourself, to write from crystallised experience. To write because it’s the only thing you can do.
I am a very slow writer— perhaps not a very disciplined one! Eventually, I fell into the habit of writing everyday—that was the most anchoring, and perhaps the most recommended, experience.
This is the best time to be a writer in India. However, the plenitude in publishing can lead to some indifferent work. I would not recommend rushing into print.
As for it being tenable to be a full time writer––some struggle, some soar. If it’s compelling enough, one sticks to it, no matter what the market’s like.”