I’ve rarely at­tempted book pro­pos­als. I pre­fer to write the whole book.

An­nie Zaidi, 35, built on her artsy fam­ily back­ground with writ­ing that is edgy and ex­per­i­men­tal. The spunky Mum­bai based au­thor’s blog served as a spring­board to bag­ging a book con­tract. An­nie re­cently came out with a col­lec­tion called Love Sto­ries # 1to

Cosmopolitan (India) - - LIFE LESSONS -

“I do not re­call ever mak­ing a con­scious de­ci­sion to take up writ­ing. I be­gan to take writ­ing more se­ri­ously mainly be­cause of the en­cour­age­ment I re­ceived from my English Lit­er­a­ture teach­ers in col­lege. It is there that I co-edited the stu­dents’ mag­a­zine. By the time I fin­ished col­lege, I knew I could write de­cently, and didn’t know if I could do any­thing else. I had no clear am­bi­tion or, in­deed, mo­ti­va­tion. Nor did I have many anx­i­eties in the early years. I had the ar­ro­gance and con­fi­dence that young peo­ple of­ten do. I think I needed it knocked out of me, and that hap­pened very quickly when I moved to big cities and my read­ing widened to in­clude con­tem­po­rary In­dian writ­ers who were clearly leagues ahead in terms of both cre­ative ex­pres­sion and ba­sic knowl­edge of the world.

In this jour­ney, friends and fam­ily have been rea­son­ably sup­port­ive, though I did not show my work to them while it was in process. Not un­less those friends hap­pened to be writ­ers them­selves. It helped that we’ve had well-known writ­ers in our fam­ily and cul­tural growth has al­ways been en­cour­aged.

I blogged a lot over the years, and was of­fered my first book deal on the strength of those posts. I did at­tend writ­ers’ sem­i­nars, but I am not good at net­work­ing, and when I at­tend, I do so in a quiet way. How­ever, it’s al­ways good to hear oth­ers speak of their ideas, and be in­tro­duced to new kinds of writ­ing. Writ­ers come in all per­son­al­i­ties, so what they take from a gath­er­ing of si­m­il­iar peo­ple de­pends on what they come look­ing for.

I’ve rarely at­tempted book pro­pos­als. I pre­fer to just write the whole book and then try to get an ed­i­tor in­ter­ested in the manuscript. I don’t have a fixed sched­ule, but I try and write reg­u­larly, and I read reg­u­larly too. Gen­eral ad­vice: read. Read con­stantly. Those who live in the world of words must be fa­mil­iar with the land­scape. Read­ing is what you want oth­ers to do, when you write. You bet­ter know the worth of what you’re of­fer­ing be­fore you ex­pect any­thing from read­ers.”

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