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Young Achiever : Writing, not a Financially Stable Job

Young Achiever : Writing, not a  Financially Stable Job
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Says Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan, author of 'You Are Here' and 'Confessions of a Listmaniac'. The young writer was in Hyderabad last week for the release ...

Says Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan, author of 'You Are Here' and 'Confessions of a Listmaniac'. The young writer was in Hyderabad last week for the release of her latest work, 'Cold Feet', a story of young women and their entwined lives

meenakshi reddy madhavanSuhani Dewra

How do you deal with criticism that you receive for writing chick-lit books that deal with young girls and their urbane lives? I basically write what I want to. Once you put something in the public space, be it a blog or a movie or a book, you leave it open for people to say anything they want. When I wrote my first book, 'You Are Here' it was hard for me to not take criticism personally. It felt like I was being judged. But speaking about my latest book which is pure-fiction, I can only say that people can like it or hate it. It's really up to them.

Lately, do people go out to bookstore and ask for a particular author or pick up any 'chick-lit' genre? Is the genre being commodified? If I am a first time reader and wish to read a book of a particular genre, I will probably read books by most authors. When I am done with round one and two, I will figure out which ones I like the most and will go back to those authors. 'Chick-lit' is just an easy label for publishers to put on books and something that helps store owners to arrange it in their store. Once you walk into a book store and vaguely identify what you want to read, labels of different genres make finding a book easy. That's the only purpose it serves. Otherwise, I wish there was just a pile of books from where people could pull out what they wanted to read.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? From other people. I spend a lot of my time before I start writing by going out, talking to people; I eavesdrop on other people's conversation (it's a bad thing to do, but you can't help it when they are sitting next to you). Something that someone says triggers out ideas in my head and a couple of months later, when I plan to write a book, I use those ideas and conversations.

What is the writing formula you follow? I treat writing a book like a job. I wake up in the morning, turn on the computer, get over with distracting activities such as Twitter and Facebook as quickly as possible and then get down to hitting my daily goal of writing, say thousand or three thousand words. I split the number of words however I like. For instance, I write 500 words in the morning and the rest in the evening. But I, usually, do not stretch much beyond the self-defined goal.

Today, everybody seems to have turned an author. There are books coming out left, right and centre. What do you think is the reason? It's easier to have access to a publisher and say, "here is my book". Also, when somebody publishes a book, say, a fantasy, all others are going to get down to doing so. "He has written a story, even I can write one�"

Is writing a financially stable career? No, it's not. Creative people have to supplement money from somewhere else. It could be freelancing articles or writing columns or getting an actual job.

You are in the business of expressing yourself. What do you have to say about freedom of speech being muzzled up? Everyone should have the right to say whatever they like. But if you are a public figure, you do have a certain amount of responsibility and not say anything too outlandish or outrageous basically things like disclosing one's wish to murder someone. You never know who you have among your followers and one might actually decide to do that.

What's your next book about? My next book will be a non-fiction, a selection of, loosely, gender essays. So far, I have penned down some two thousand words; it's too early to say what it will actually lead to.

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