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Writing liberates me but it is time-consuming – Riti Prasad

Riti Prasad – A journey through writing

When the Birtish quit India, they left behind their legacy- the English language, which unites our nation across state and language barriers. I am one of those specimens who love the beauty of the English language, who would recite poetry in loud voice while studying for exams and who almost had an orgasm reading the romantic archaic language in Shakespeare’s works. Not to forget, English is my language of love. I am not talking of the romance books with fancy, foreign covers but about this little detail that prevents the spouse and I from speaking in our respective native languages. His comprehension of Hindi tends to null and my functional knowledge of Tamil would cause more misunderstandings between the spouse and me, than communicate our love for each other. Ergo, English became the default language of our sweet nothings.

It is not too difficult to imagine that I loved writing English tests. My hands would shake in nervous anticipation, my eyes would zone towards the topic of story writing, and I would unleash my creative genius on the unsuspecting teacher. I would spin a yarn that could put them yarn-spinners of fairy tales to shame and I would have taken several supplementary pages had word limit not stopped me from doing so. From exams I graduated to emails, which perhaps were applauded more for impeccable grammar than content and one day like every soul who houses an author within, I began to blog.

Blogging to writing

The blog became a space where I could express my views and talk about my twin boys, secure in the huge community of moms who became our soul sisters and listening ears. We thrived in the adulation and support and talked freely of issues surrounding parenting especially in the current context of nuclear families. The blogging moms became our own village and we raised our children together. We became cognizant of parenting principles; we over-thought every aspect of child-rearing and questioned existing norms. One day, we decided that even books and comics we grew up with needed that scrutiny. Were they gender-biased? Were they violent or gory? Were they imparting lessons at all? Were they useful? Some mothers decided we could write for our children if we wanted the ideal book for them. Several moms published their books and one day I jumped the bandwagon as well.
My books Mathematics, Fun, Facts and Fiction and Folk Tales from Around the World were published and I officially became an author.

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About the book

I thought I would publish a few books and get the writing bug out of my system but I realized the thirst became even stronger. The high of seeing one’s own book in one’s hand is beyond explanation. I wanted to write more so I made several outlines; a collection of short stories, a few romance books and a book on raising twins. My anthology Wicked Temptations was published and around the same time, I was offered a contract to write my experiences of raising my twin boys. Thus, Double Trouble Double Fun! A Supermom’s Guide to Raising Twins was born. Both forms of manuscripts were unique and I realized I could switch hats between them easily. I could weave a yarn while writing a masala potboiler and I could also speak in all honesty about the challenges of raising twins, not just as a mother but as a working mom. I started the writing process and I realized that it was not just about the children but about my own journey of raising them, my learning as I went along, how the spouse and I grew and changed as parents, and how we created our own style of raising our children. The books became, not only a way to create a story but also my outlet for expressing my love for the English language. Not many would believe it, but I loved the editing process. My editor Ruchita made me see things I could not while writing and when I went back to other manuscripts, I discovered I had evolved as a writer and sharpened the manuscripts further.

On writing schedules and rules

I usually work on the bare bones of the plot for several months before I start the actual process of writing. I plan word-limit, chapter details, characters, their idiosyncrasies and the conflicts they are going to face in the book. I make a separate section of everything I wish to incorporate in the plot. These come to me from different people and incidents and continue to walk into the script as I write. The classic rule of ‘write a few lines every day’ is the most elementary yet the most important rule. I realize when I begin to write, the words flow, the plot moves and ideas crop up even if they evaded me at the time of planning the story.

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For the book Double Trouble Double Fun! A Supermom’s Guide to Raising Twins I had to reluctantly let go of my fiction-writing hat. Sometimes, it is tempting to gloss over the bad parts but I let everything flow uninhibited because I wanted to connect with the readers in an honest manner. Often, I would pause and think whether I was letting out too much information but then I wrote everything I thought essential because it is scary for first time parents to deal with the change and I wanted to offer support in the form of my words. If the book makes a difference to even one parent out there I will consider my job done.

Writing liberates me but at the same time it is a time-consuming and mentally exhausting exercise which needs honest and intense dedication. I am, in most circumstances a writer who schedules the writing after my day job, home management and orchestrating of children’s homework are done. However, when deadline looms, I can be found absorbed in the exercise,
lost in the world of the manuscript, unmindful of everyone around myself. I spend weekends glued to the screen maniacally making changes. I make time on airports and in flights to continue the writing, assimilating the happenings around me into the book.

On being a working mom and writing about it

I wondered while forming my outline on what I could offer to new parents, that is not already written out there. I noticed, most parenting books focus on the child but I also knew that I wanted to write the book out from my own lens which essentially is a working mom’s lens. I cannot avoid that bias in my narrative and I decided to play it by that. I have gone through several Mommy wars in the last decade, including the most heated one; that of working and Stay at Home Moms. I may be playing the Working Mom card several times in the book but SAHMs are welcome to read and burst my bubble. Bring it on. I would also invite ‘Working Dads’ to challenge my proposition that the woman of the house is the fulcrum around which the home revolves. She is the chief worrier, the home CEO, the caregiver and several things more, apart from a career woman. She multi-tasks not just physically but also mentally. I want to bring this perspective out for the readers through Double Trouble, Double Fun.

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Readers’ takeaway from the book

Essentially, the book is about my experience with raising twins – it is my niche – however readers will discover that parents of twins deal with the same challenges, issues, uncertainties, fears and joys that parents irrespective of the number of children deal with so there is no reason why all parents will not find this book interesting. I have tried to make the book humorous and fun hoping that readers laugh as they read, find humour in exasperating situations and finally understand that nothing hard lasts forever. I have carefully steered clear of preachy tone which causes eyes of the reader to glaze with boredom or roll upwards in exasperation and skip portions. The book therefore, is a memoir which has all elements of a masala fiction from a literary perspective.

Connect with Riti on her blog | Facebook | Twitter

Author(s): Riti Prasad
Publisher: Hay House
Release: July 2017
Genre: Non Fiction/Parenting
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