7 Questions With Author Coach Nasreen Variyawa
Author Coach, Nasreen Variyawa has 3 Amazon.com best-sellers to her credit. An editor and ghost-author too, she is the creative force behind many other best-sellers. She has written a few articles for online news agencies and is known for her unique take on various topics, including Leadership lessons you will learn at any Indian wedding and Leadership Principles for Divorce. Her niche is helping other unknown aspiring authors to achieve the dream of becoming published in as short a time span as possible.
She enjoys working with first time authors from diverse backgrounds and specializes in helping them realize their vision, their strategy and finally their book. A post-graduate in education leadership and management, Nasreen has also inspired, motivated and elevated thousands of corporate learners through workshops she has conducted over the years and specializes in using simple poetry to inspire, motivate, elevate and influence her audience. She published a collection of these poems in Aspire to Inspire: Poems that elevate your speech.
Her forthcoming work includes a book tentatively titled, Apple Fetish for Authors- simple recipes for a fabulous authoring career, a yet untitled biography of an Airforce Pilot and a novella for the Broken Roses series.
For the ones of you who are new to my blog, I’m Esther Rabbit, writer, content creator for authors and massive nerd. If you’re interested to know all the tips & tricks surrounding the process From Writing To Publishing Your Novel, you’re only a click away. For writing and marketing tips consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel.
How does a day in your author life look?
The first thing to remember is to pay attention to your body clock. My optimum creative time is the early morning, so I tend to rise early for prayers. My husband and I follow that up with a walk and then eat a healthy breakfast. This sets the tone for the day so that once I get behind my workspace to write, plan or promote, I am doing so with a clear mind and a good spirit.
I tend to work in about 1-hour spurts, taking a ten-minute break until about 2pm. After this time, I rarely write but occasionally I might do an interview or a coaching session or some other promotional activity that is required.
I spend a good amount of time in quiet spaces thinking and reflecting on the projects I am working on. Doing something with my hands like cooking or baking or even drawing and coloring are extremely relaxing but productive things for me to do. Some of best ideas come when I am doing these things. So, I try to make time to do something daily.
What’s your definition of the first draft?
A first draft is everything that a writer gets onto paper when thoughts and ideas are flowing. At this stage, we worry less about being grammatically correct and more about getting every idea that is dancing around in our brain onto paper. Sometimes, when I read what I have written I am afraid of calling myself an author.
It really is appalling. But once I have the chance to read and self-edit, it takes better shape. So, when I see authors punching away feverishly at a keyboard, I know for sure that they are in the process of spilling everything onto paper into a first draft.
Many prospective authors are extremely discouraged after reading their first drafts. They think that the book is unworthy to be published altogether. They are right but they also wrong.
I always encourage authors to take a break from writing for at least two weeks after they have written their first draft because when they come back to edit it, they will look at it with new eyes and be able to edit with renewed spirit. Writing to me is all about putting good energy into what is being written. I am therefore big on taking breaks between each edit.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your journey?
I should have learnt a little more about how publishing works before I wrote, and self-published my first book. It would have helped me to write and sell a better book. I was just so excited at the prospect of publishing my first book that I could not wait to upload it and hit the publish button. I imagined that once that happened, I would automatically sell books. I laugh at how naive I was back then.
I would also not take myself so seriously. When I first began writing, I took it so seriously that I stopped enjoying it after a while. If anything becomes something burdensome rather than enjoyable, it should not be done. So, I encourage all prospective authors to relax. Publishing is not meant to be a quick process. Go through the process by doing small daily chunks towards the book.
Enjoy it and work with reputable people to coach and help you. Avoid spending too much of time on social media looking at what everybody else is accomplishing. It can make you feel like you are falling behind. Focus rather on creating a helpful, powerful book. When the train finally picks you up at your station, you too will have something to shout about. It’s just a matter of time.
How do you manage to juggle life and writing?
First, life is something that happens. It does not stop for you and is ever changing. You must make the decision to make writing a constant in your daily life. So, whether I am travelling or spending time at home, I make the time to write something. If I cannot get to my laptop, I use my mobile phone to plan. If not that, I whip out my pen and notebook and map things out or make lists.
Basically, I don’t let life get in the way. Momentum is very important if you want to get anything done. It is also very helpful when your friends and family understand what you must accomplish and are supportive. I am ever grateful for my husband who often makes me lunch or does my share of household chores without being asked to.
That’s not to say that I am constantly working. I believe in the power of taking a break away from writing also. Relaxing, reflecting, renewing, replenishing and reviving myself from time to time is extremely important.
I indulge in mid-week shopping breaks, lunch dates with my husband, coffee breaks with friends when the gang and I can chat and catch up and affordable mid-week getaways to nearby towns and cities provide inspiration. I believe that stories are all around you. Pay attention and you might just find your next plot and sub-plot.
How do you deal with negative feedback or negative reviews?
I ask myself if there is any merit in the feedback. If there is and I can change it in a future edition, I do. If I cannot, I certainly take heed of it when writing future projects. When the review really has no merit for me, I put it down to the fact that it really is an opinion and nothing more or just that the reviewer may have woken up on the wrong side of the bed that day. The one thing I don’t do is let it discourage me. If I did, my career would have been dead after the first book.
It is normal to sometimes take something personally especially if the reviewer gets personal about your skill. Take time to be upset but don’t get consumed by it. A day or two later, reflect and see if there is any way to improve it. Thank the reviewer for their insight and move on. Sometimes a nasty review gets me more attention than I could have hoped for. That is what a cloud having a silver lining is all about. So, I relax most of the time.
What is your favorite genre as a reader?
Writing is serious business so when I want to read something, I want to read something light and entertaining. I like a romance, a biography or even a novella.
They help take the edge of the work I maybe busy with. They help me relax and go into a world in which my imagination is suitably stimulated. They are a way of replenishing myself and when I am done, I feel a renewed sense of energy. Sometimes I am inspired enough to write a poem or put a new spin on old things.
Does the genre you normally read have a direct influence on your writing?
Not at all. On the contrary it can be quite helpful. Characters who are suitably described can lend useful information about popular self-development issues like self-confidence, limiting beliefs, spirituality, etc. In my opinion, reading helps to keep your vocabulary flowing when you are writing. So, what I read makes no difference to what I am writing unless I am conducting research on a topic. I read to keep my writing alive and flowing and that is about it.
There are days when all I want to read is a newspaper or a magazine. I like that too. Its refreshing and helps with new ideas, descriptions, phrases, etc. It sometimes helps to keep the writing trendy and different. I have, for example, written books for two sisters, one after the other.
Both are self-development books, but both are as different as night and day. Whilst both are happy with their books, they are equally surprised at how different their books have turned out. When this happens, you can be sure that you are evolving as an author. Only reading of a variety of genres can help you to do that.
Business cards are outdated. If you think you have a story in you, want to use your book to get you more clients or want to stand out for a speaking gig, hook up with me for a book that will help you get there.
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And check out Lost in Amber: An Out Of This World Paranormal Romance if enjoy girl power, adventure & a toe-curling love story.
She just wanted to mope over her breakup but the universe had other plans for Zoey Mills.
Read the full blurb here.