The pandemic has been hard on many people and has affected many lives. The struggle for many people was to stay sane amidst the lockdown since it was the very first time, we were forced to keep our doors shut for the outside world. While many pursued hobbies and tried fresh adventures, I used it in the best possible way to strike off the most precious item on my bucket list — write a book! Yes, the pandemic helped me achieve my dream of becoming an author. It was a childhood dream that I wanted to accomplish and never thought it would take so long to finish writing a book. If there was no lockdown, I wouldn’t have been able to give so much time to convert my dream into reality.
What is my book and when did I publish it?
My book is called ‘Chapters’ and it is based on real-life relationships—through time and age. It talks about the untold secrets in any relationship, be it college love, mature adults, married couples or pain and memories associated with any love story. There are individual chapters, inspired by true stories of people I know. The essence of any relationship, be it pleasant, unpleasant, painful or memorable, stays with us throughout our life. We never forget the people who were once close to our hearts; we remember them and our life together. The little secrets of long-lost love that may mean nothing now, stay buried deep within, only to remind you of how someone had the power to melt your heart. ‘Chapters’ covers different stages of life and takes you through various aspects of any relationship. It has love, hurt, lust, memories and gray matter. There is something for everyone. Some stories will match your life story and give you a different perspective on what it looked like then and what it feels like now.
I self-published my book in April 2021. It wasn’t an easy journey since it was my first time writing and publishing a book. I needed a lot of help and researched online to understand the self-publishing route. Luckily, the writers’ groups on social media helped me in my journey, answered my questions and cleared my doubts. They gave me the confidence to self-publish the book instead of going the traditional way of publishing since it is time-consuming and many publishing houses charge you for various services they render, making the entire publishing process super expensive. I am thankful to all the individuals who guided me and helped me achieve my dream.
How did the Pandemic help me?
My resolution for 2020 was to write a book, and I started the New Year with a bang, highly charged and motivated. I started waking up early in the morning to plan my book and pen down my thoughts. I enjoy the quiet mornings as they help me clear my mind and finish a lot of pending work. The morning was the only time I could devote to my book. The entire day would go by, and I would have no time to write anything. The one hour that I could devote to my book every day was precious. I planned my mornings the night before to avoid wasting any minute. So, when the lockdown happened, and the schools, offices shut down, I realized I had more time in the early hours since I didn’t have to pack lunch boxes for kids and my husband. I was able to devote more time to writing than I could otherwise do on regular, pre-pandemic days.
Once the weather became warm, I started my morning walks, too. I would listen to motivational podcasts, sometimes spiritual podcasts, too. I also started reading a book post morning walk. Sometimes, I would go for my walks in the evening, too, to finish a podcast or to have a fresh perspective on a story I wanted to construct. I needed alone time to create characters and finish the stories in my head. My walks would be longer when a chapter needed more creative changes.
No parties, no meetups, and no friends coming over meant more time. I utilized all my free time in working on my book and also researching more about the publishing process. During the day, much of the time would go in homeschooling the kids, cooking, my work, and workouts. This made the morning hours super important and special for me. Also, the early hours are more productive, hence writing a chapter at that time was easier than sitting late at night, working on a story when all you could think about was sleep, food or TV.
April 2021—Book was live on Amazon
Friends and family were surprised when I announced my book, not because they didn’t believe I could do it, but because I did it while working from home, with kids and hubby around the whole time. The most common question everyone asked me was how I did it with everyone at home. How did I find the time to write a book? Here is the thing—You don’t really need a holiday to start working on your dream project. All you need is motivation and the right direction. The pandemic and lockdown gave many people time to think about where their life is headed. I have seen some of my friends who lost their jobs become home bakers, artists or even turn to spirituality. Some changed professions, some started new businesses, and some became authors like me!
What did the pandemic turn you into?
Written By Manali Arora