Category Archives: Writing
I’ve been actively writing (as a part of my post-graduate studies, through my blogs, at work, as a part of publications, etc etc etc ) for the past 5+ years. As I write more, I have also started to read more.. They both go somewhat hand-in-hand.. And as I read more, I am more aware and conscious about the writing styles of different authors; and also my own writing style…
In this post, I have listed down the key factors which may influence one’s writing style – This is purely based on my observations, analysis and inferences!
(1) Your self-confidence
(2) Your view of the world (in general) – Good, Bad, Ugly
(3) Your past – Experiences, Life
(4) Your future outlook of life – Optimistic, Pessimistic
(5) Why do you write? – For yourself or for others
(6) What does “Writing” mean to you?
(7) Your basic personality / nature
(8) Your view on “sharing” – Writing is one form of active sharing
(9) Your educational background
(10) Your language skills (Command on the language) – You can write in any language!
(11) Your age
(12) Your culture
(13) Your upbringing
(14) The writing habits of people you know (friends / family / others)
(15) Your reading habits
(16) The reading habits of people you know (friends / family / others)
(17) Your immediate living environment
(18) Your teachers / mentors – especially during impressionable / vulnerable years
(19) Your inner network – friends / family
(20) Your self-discipline
(21) Your creatvity
(22) Your observation skills
(23) Your imagination skills
(24) The times (era) you were born in
What’s your view? What do you think influences the “writing style” of an individual.. Leave a comment to let me know
World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) is a yearly event on 23 April, organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright. World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995. [Src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Book_Day ]
On the occasion of World Book Day, I wanted to write a post on books which are my personal favorites. After all, Books can be your best friend for life, if only you extend your hand in friendship!
I started reading as a hobby rather late in life.. But once I discovered the magic and beauty in the world of books, I invested significantly in buying diverse books from diverse authors, and voraciously read them. Like they say, Diversity is the spice of life – And this is so so TRUE for books.
The other important observations / discoveries / realizations that I made about books are as follows:
* At what age you read a book makes an ocean of difference in what you take away from the book and how it can impact / change your life. If you read a book in your teenage years it can influence your thinking in unimaginable ways. The same book if you pick up well into your 30′s – you already have amassed a range of personal experiences, which can greatly influence your book take-aways.
* If you like the first book you read from any author, chances are you will end up reading and buying all their subsequent work.
* There are many benefits of reading. Personally, the top one’s are – They enable you to learn, open your mind and world to dreams, options and possibilities that you never knew existed.
So coming back to why I started this post… Well listing below my personal favorites.. Looking back at my reading journey, I think when I read these books made all the difference in my life – And hence they figure on this list..
(1) Mutation BY Robin Cook
This book opened me to the world of Medical Science and Genetics in a way that I could never imagine. Till date, it is one of the best books I have ever read. Excellent story, very well written and above all, it takes you to a world which many of us cannot ever imagine. The book was written in 1990, and I read this book for the first time in 2000. And I fell in love with the subject of Genetics after reading this. Over the years, genetics as a field has evolved significantly and it continues to be a fascinating area for me to read about!
(2) The Other Side of Midnight BY Sidney Sheldon
I loved this book for the excellent story telling skills. While the focus is on the life of 2 women who fall in love with the same man, the book beautifully brings out a range of human emotions which can transform your thinking, your values and your life when in LOVE! A powerful story with powerful characters, and unthinkable actions which drive human behavior. Again, looking back I read the book in my teenage years, and the story stuck in my memory!
(3) The KiteRunner BY Khaled Hosseini
This is by far one of the BEST fiction books I have read till date. While the book has elements of history, war, politics, migration, – the overarching theme is around human relationships. Some of the most important lessons that the book re-inforced are below
(a) that there are very few people for whom we can do anything anytime anywhere – No preconditions, No questions, No thoughts – Just pure action. The underlying emotions are usually love, fear or respect.
(b) Some bonds can never be defined – They just exist. And there is uniqueness in the beginnings, in the evolution and in the conclusion…. Or there is never really an end.
(c) Division and Discrimination are all in the mind.
(d) Honesty is a great virtue. You need courage and strength of character to be honest & stand up for honesty
(4) Jonathan Livingstone Seagull BY Richard Bach
What can I say about this book which simply makes you realize how it is OK to be different,and non-conforming to the masses. That is when you truly discover your calling in life.
(5) Man’s Search for Meaning BY Viktor Frankl
I read this book when I was looking for some answers to deeper questions of life. This book provided insights, perspectives and views from someone who had truly experienced the highs and lows of life. Not too many people experience true highs and lows, but those who do end up TRULY understanding the deeper meaning of life – And this book captures the essence and wisdom from a man who has lived it all!
(6) All I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten BY Robert Fulghum
A classic which focuses on things about life that many of us tend to forget as we become adults. And the most important lessons of life are the most basic one’s, those that we learnt in kindergarten
(7) The Secret BY Rhonda Byrne
An excellent book with a powerful message on the “The Law of Attraction”. The basic premise of the book is that whatever happens to you in life is really a function of what and how you think. And I can vouch from personal experience that it’s TRUE!
(8) Outliers BY Malcolm Gladwell
The book opened my eyes and mind to data, facts and information which was truly interesting. And I personally loved the writing style as the book tickled both the left and right brain :). And all of Malcolm’s books went into my Reading List!
That’s all for now.. What are your favorite books, and WHY?
About PREETI SHENOY
Preeti Shenoy, named among one of the top five authors in India by CNN-IBN, weaves magic with her words and pictures. An extremely talented and versatile individual, her Twitter bio reads: “Best-selling Author, Artist specializing in pencil portraits, Poet, Yoga-Buff, Ex-basketball player, Blogger, Dobe-owner, Nature lover, Ted speaker and a Mother.”
Her interests are as multifarious and diverse as her several academic degrees which include an internationally recognised qualification from UK in portraiture. DNA has described her as a ‘Keenly observant mind’ and Times of India describes her writing as ‘Excellent story telling skills’. There is simplicity in her writing that appeals to the inherent good in all and her positivity and ‘Live life to the fullest’ philosophy finds a large number of takers, who follow her very popular blog.
Her second book ‘Life is what you make it’ was among the top selling books of 2011 in India and her third book ‘Tea for two and a piece of cake’ which was released in February 2012, continues to be on all the best-seller lists, having sold more than 25,000 copies within two months of its release.
Her pencil-portraits are life like which strike you with a realism that take you aback. She is also an avid card-maker and a poet. She has written for publications like Times of India, Readers Digest and many more. She has worked with under-privileged children teaching them English and Math. She has worked with several schools conducting workshops on thinking skills and creative crafts.
She says “Life is short. Follow your heart and chase your dreams. And yes, they will come true.”
And if you’ve read her earlier books, here’s some good news. Her fourth book titled “The Secret Wishlist” is due to for release shortly. You can pre-order this book by clicking here. Not only do you have a chance to get a personally signed copy of the book from Preeti, but also a 30% discount. You can also follow the FaceBook updates for the book here.
A couple of weeks back, during a random online browsing activity, I accidentally came across Preeti Shenoy’s book titled “Life is what you make it” – Something about the title compelled me to buy the book. I finished reading it in one night. Then I read her other 2 books “34 Bubblegums and Candies” and “Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake” all of which are National Bestsellers in India. After I finished reading all the three, I learnt that she also blogs, so naturally I visited her blogs. I liked her writings (both books and blogs) simply because they were simple, easy to read and written straight from the heart!
So I sent her a request for the Rendezvous and she immediately replied with a “YES”!
In this rendezvous, we discussed about Preeti’s journey into the world of writing and some nuggets about life which she strongly believes in.
Nischala: Hi Preeti. Firstly, Thanks for your time. It’s great to connect with you!
Preeti: Hi Nischala. Thanks for this
Nischala: So Preeti – Firstly, Congrats on the success as a writer. From what I read, all your books are national bestsellers and are doing very well!
Preeti: Yes! Thank You. They are all indeed doing well. Touch wood!
Nischala: So let me start this rendezvous with how your writing journey started?
Preeti: I have always been a writer. From childhood, I have written several short stories and poems – Many of which have won laurels and have been published in journals / magazines, etc.
But looking back, I think the big push for writing came only after I lost my father. In order to deal with this loss I started writing – Writing primarily for myself and more as an outlet for my thoughts and emotions. Writing kept me busy and almost was therapeutic to help me deal with a difficult and vulnerable phase in my life. So I started posting my writings on a blog anonymously and I was happy to see that my posts were very well received. The big boost came when a radio show in the US picked up a post of mine for the “Perfect Post” Award. The traffic and reader base increased significantly after that.
I then started writing more seriously and in more respected publications like Reader’s Digest, Chicken Soup Series, Times of India, etc. One of the main reasons that I took up writing seriously was because it kept me busy and helped me deal with the loss of my father. So I wrote about things which I believed in or which I was passionate about – like life, relationships, animals, bikes, dance, art, etc. I think there are more than 60 articles of mine published in various publications.
And at the same time I received a lot of comments and suggestions urging me to explore writing a book. And that’s how my first book “34 Bubblegums and Candies” was born. It’s really a compilation of little stories from my life and some of these were already published on my blog.
Nischala: That’s an interesting journey. So looking back, what was your happiest and proudest moment as a writer?
Preeti : As a writer, my happiest moment was when my first book came out. Also when my second book was named among the ‘top books of 2011’. And honestly I write because I enjoy it; and so it has been a happy journey all along.
Nischala: Wow! Congrats. I guess there is something special about the “firsts” of anything in life – Especially your first book . I also see that you write regularly on your blog and also have been able to publish 3 books in the past few years. From my understanding, they are two different worlds. So, what is the key difference between a blog and book?
Preeti: That’s correct. I started blogging in 2006 and since then I try to blog regularly.
Blogs and Books are two different worlds simply because in a book you need to have a storyline, characters, a setting, dialogue, etc. And more importantly there has to be a central theme to your book. While in a blog, you can write about anything you want and publish it! And every blog post can be a separate theme.
Nischala: That’s interesting! So moving on, you have also given a TEDx Talk very recently. How did that happen? And what was the key message? How was the experience?
Preeti: I have given two Ted X talks –one at Symbiosis Institute for Technology and management Pune, where I spoke on creativity in daily life and another at Ted X Sona, where I spoke on ‘5 lessons for growth’. Both talks were very well received. The experience was great.
Nischala: Preeti -This is the first time I am talking to you. But in this brief interaction, you sound so positive about everything. So how do you manage to stay so positive?
Preeti: Hmm… Well that’s something which a lot of people say to me. See I think I am generally a happy and contented person in life and it manifests in my interactions with others. I believe that for everything in life you do the best you can in whatever situation you are in. And if things don’t work out the way you wanted, deal with it and move on.
Nischala: That’s a great attitude for life. So what do you think anyone can do on a daily basis to feel positive, happy and alive!
Preeti: Well, there are no universal answers. But here’s what I do and it helps me a great deal.
Do something you love everyday – It can be reading or art or listening to music or meeting friends or watching a TV program – Whatever it is, set some time every day to do what you love. You will be surprised at how much difference it can make in your life.
Laugh – Do something fun that makes you laugh – It can be that you read a joke or watch a cartoon or just fake a laugh. But laughing regularly definitely has a positive effect on your overall well-being
Nischala: Thanks for sharing these practical tips. I am sure that if anyone did the above regularly, it will have a positive impact on their lives. So, as we conclude any message that you’d like to conclude with?
Preeti: “Live life today, Follow your heart and Live everyday”
There is joy in little things that you can do every day. Most of us rush from morning to night in doing a zillion things, and we don’t stop to appreciate the beauty and the magic of the world around us like smell the flowers, enjoy our meals, spend time with people we love and care for, etc. At the end of the day, life should be about what makes you happy and contented. And if you figure this out and know how to get there, then you will end up happy and contented every day of your life.
I truly believe that life is short and so very unpredictable. I am saying this because I have experienced up close of personal what it means to deal with the demise of those who mean the world to you.
And what I learnt from all these experiences is that it is important to focus on living well and being happy today. Finally when you go, you don’t take anything with you – especially not money. And what you leave is memories for others and how you impacted their lives.
I was not like this 5 – 7 years back. But as of today, this is something I believe in and execute every single day this way. So I live life to the fullest today, enjoy every single day and am happy and content at the end of the day. That’s what really matters.
Nischala: Thank you so much for this rendezvous.
Preeti: Pleasure is all mine. Have a great day!
How did you like this rendezvous? Leave a comment to let us know..
Reading can be a wonderful hobby and your best friend for life – Provided you give it the required time and commitment over a period of time. Looking back at my own life, I can definitely say that my life transformed after I became an active reader. And by reading I mean just about anything – A book, paper, magazine, blog, research paper, publication, mail, tweet, letter, etc. In this blog, I am listing 9 KEY Reasons why you should READ?
1) Reading makes you THINK
The single most important benefit of reading is that it makes you think, and thoughts are vital in the journey of life. Simply because to think you need to read, analyze, reason, question, rationalize and somewhere try to conclude.
2) Reading makes you IMAGINE
One of the reasons I love reading is that it makes me IMAGINE – And imagination is great for enhancing your own visualization skills and creativity. I don’t know of any “TRUE READER” who enjoyed a movie / documentary better than a book. Simply because when you read, you are free to imagine anything and everything; and the sky is the limit to your imagination! Conversely, I don’t know of any Non-Reader who liked a book better than a movie / documentary
3) Reading makes you LEARN
One of the best parts of reading is that you it presents before you a wonderful opportunity to learn. As you read, you tend to notice, you tend to question and reflect, and truly understand; and all of these contribute phenomenally towards your own learning on one / many topics under the sun!
4) Reading improves your LITERARY SKILLS
If you take the time to read, you will definitely improve your literary skills over a period of time. Not only will you learn new words and improve on the Ps and Qs of any language, but you can also learn, appreciate and develop alternate literary forms — from prose to poetry. And the only way to improve in anything in life is to continuously work on it.
5) Reading opens NEW DOORS
Reading can open the door to new friends (I know of people who are exclusively reading friends and those who became friends because they shared views and opinions on topics less spoken by majority), new ideas (Somehow the brain wiring seems to generate more ideas when you read actively – I don’t know why or how? but I have personally experienced this!), new possibilities, new ways to constructively utilize your time, new experiences, new considerations, new contemplations, and new harbingers.
6) Reading makes you DISCIPLINED
One of the best aspects of continuous reading is that it makes you disciplined so that you are able to dedicate some time on a regular basis for reading. It can be once a day or once a week or whatever is suitable in your personal context – But you will start rationalizing some portion of your time on a regular basis for reading! And once you begin to enjoy reading it becomes a habit… a compulsion… a fascination.
7) Reading gives you ME time
Writing gives you time to be with yourself — to connect within, in your own way, at your own pace.
8) Reading makes you view books in a NEW LIGHT
Only when you begin to read, do you begin to truly appreciate books and any reading material. You also begin to value all the books you read in life and also have a new found respect and appreciation for authors / writers! (Both reading and writing are solitary hobbies!)
9) Reading gives you a new BEST FRIEND for LIFE
If you are into reading, you can never really be alone ever in life. All you need to take you through any kind of day / mood / situation, i.e., to cheer up your day, give you some hope, make you laugh, motivate you, give you a solution, break-free from monotony, get a different perspective,……is something to read!
Reading can be your new BEST FRINED for LIFE.. If you only you reach out and pick up the first book – here and now..
So what are you waiting for? Go read something today..
I picked up reading as a hobby rather late in life – In my 20’s to be precise (I call it late because most serious readers I know started reading when they are less than 10 years old). But over the past few years, I made up for the lost time – Basically by reading anything and everything of interest to me at every single opportunity I got.
Looking back – When I started reading, I used to read only ONE book at a time. And when I was done, I’d move on to the next one.. But today, my reading habits have changed significantly. At any given point of time, I will be actively reading at least 3 books (if not more).
So why and how did this change come about?
Hmm.. Well Looking back, I think there were a few key drivers:
One, it started with me becoming more aware of my own reading habits and every day routine based on my own lifestyle and why reading was important to me.
Two, I usually have more than one topic of interest at any point in time. And somehow can’t seem to wait for too long to dig into it!
Three and most importantly, I go through different phases and moods everyday where I look at reading for different reasons. For e.g.: In the early morning, I like to read anything which inspires me , excites me and gives me positive energy to go through the day. During mid-morning, I like to read something “heavy-duty” as my concentration levels are probably the best. During afternoon, I like to read something light and easy which makes me laugh or just feel good. And late evening, I like to read something which makes me dream or sometime just create a “happy make-believe world in which every possibility is a reality”! So reading has different meaning to me at different times of the day and hence I usually like to read at least 3 books actively at different times of the day! Each of these reading sessions usually are between 15 to 30 minutes. But they make a HUGE difference in what I learn, in what I think, in what I feel and also in what I do!
You may ask “Don’t you get confused with reading so many books at a time?”… Well, honestly NO! It is actually fun because if you pay attention to you reading and think through, you can many times co-relate completely unrelated things , get answers for problems and in my case, also get ideas for my blogs
Well that’s my view. And I’ll enjoy this phase as long as it lasts…
What about you? Are you a ONE book reader or MANY book reader? Leave a comment to let me know