OnWriting in back after a brief hiatus! I got busy with my own book and had no time to seek time for interviews from other authors.
So this week, we have Nishant Kaushik. Nishant has three bestselling books to his credit. His first novel, Watch Out! We Are MBA received widespread acclaim for its mass appeal across Indian students. His second project, A Romance With Chaos, based on a corporate executive’s humorous travails, has sold over 50,000 copies and stands amongst Rupa & Co’s top bestsellers of 2009. His third novel, Conditions Apply, also published by Rupa & Co, has sold over 25,000 copies since its release in 2011, and featured in the top three fiction bestsellers on the list of Asian Age for twelve consecutive weeks.
He has recently diversified his interests into writing film concepts and screenplays. He has also co-written a comic book for Yash Raj Films’ comics division ‘YOMICS’, based on the film Ek Tha Tiger.
Nishant currently lives in Melbourne, Australia and keeps a day job as a consultant with a leading IT company. You may catch him on twitter at @chaosparticle
So, Nishant’s answers to #5Questions are…
1. Why do you write? Why would someone else want to be a writer?
I started writing so long ago that it is now difficult to remember the motive behind it. I only know I have always loved creating a story. I used to form stories in my head as a child when I lay in bed. I day-dreamed in class; there was always a new story there. Gradually they started coming out on paper. Simple observations of people and situations manifest themselves into stories. I write so that people can read these stories and so that I can make some money off them while I am at it. I would imagine that to be the driver for most other writers too.
2. How do you come up with an idea? Ideas for plots, sequences, scenes, characters and other things? Do you use any tools?
I don’t use tools. I let my story grow organically. I have an idea that is triggered by an emotion or a personal conflict or a joke I heard somewhere. That is the pivot of the story. Build on it by imagining the events that lead to and follow the pivot. Who are the participants in these events? What are their motives? Can I throw in a joke here and there? Who will read my story? All of these become inputs into my final product. Think of it as the waterfall model in software development. Get an idea, assess it for marketability, then design it into a final product. Don’t forget to get it tested for quality before releasing it to market.
3. Do you keep a rigorous writing schedule? If yes, what is your writing schedule?
I try to keep a writing schedule, but with a day job it is easier said than done. Schedules keep changing based on available time to write after I am back from work. But I do make sure I somehow squeeze in 4-6 hours a week.
4. How often do you get interrupted by writer’s block? How do you go about working around your writers’ block?
I get hampered by it all the time. There is no escaping it. But I have learnt to deal with it a lot more calmly now. When I face a block I simply stop writing. Switch to doing something else – watch a video, talk to family and friends, or read. I don’t go back to my story that day again. I give myself at least two days to recover before I address the block again. It can be extremely unnerving at times, and the more you try to tackle it when you are low, the lower it takes you. The trick is to forget completely that you had a writer’s block, return with a fresh mind a few days later and take off from where you had left.
5. What is the best advice on writing that you’ve ever received?
“Just sit down and write” is the best advice I have ever received. I think I had dispensed it to myself. Because there is no formula to it. You just need intent. And a lot of patience.
Editor’s Note: I first heard about Nishant from a friend. The friend is a prolific reader and I asked him to recommend a few Indian writers that have been writing for more than five years. That’s when he recommended Nishant to me. Once I read more about him, I knew I had to somehow get his interview.
Nishant is a rare authors who is very candid about why he writes and how he writes. Loved him direct, to the point answers. I am not sure if other authors would be as willing to come forth with answers like this.