“Writer’s Block is dreaded yet inevitable.” – Harshita Nanda (Indian Author)5 min read
Team Kitaab is in conversation with Indian author Harshita Nanda as a part of the South Asian Women Writers Feature.
For the whole of March, we will be featuring South Asian Women Writers on Kitaab for the whole of March. You can read the editor’s note to know more about this.
Today, we are featuring Dubai-based Indian author, Harshita Nanda. A voracious reader and a prolific blogger, her writings are spread across varied genres. With a keen eye for detail, she adds layers to her writings with her brilliant observation skills.
Harshita Nanda is an avid reader and a lover of the written word. She has published two books, Xanadu: Three Souls Searching for Their Paradise, and BITS and Pieces: A collage Of My BITSian Memories. Xanadu is a feel-good fiction Novella, while BITS and Pieces is a non-fiction memoir of the author’s time in BITS Pilani.
She is also a part of many anthologies like Disobedient Girls (By TMYS), Life During Covid-19, and The Fiction Collective (Notion Press). Her articles and short stories have also been published on leading websites like SheThePeople.tv, Momspresso.com and WomensWeb.in.
She has won many writing challenges including ones conducted by Readomania and The Himalayan Writing Retreat. She blogs actively on her blog, https://undecidedindubai.wordpress.com/.
You can read all her works here.
Team Kitaab: How did writing happen to you?
Harshita Nanda: Writing happened to me by accident.
I was a reader all my life, but never thought I could write, especially not fiction. When my sons started going to school, I started feeling bored. A couple of my friends were into blogging, and I also decided to take the plunge. My blog became home to my random musings and book reviews. But I still steered clear of fiction.
Fiction writing though happened only because of Covid-19. It was my silver lining in those dark times. I often used to doom scroll and stumbled upon a writing contest. On a whim, I submitted a micro-fiction which to my complete surprise was adjudged that year’s winner. The writing bug well and truly bit me after that.
Writing has now become my passion.
Team Kitaab: If you had to introduce someone to your work/s, which books of yours would you ask them to start with?
Harshita Nanda: The three books/ short stories published would be:
Xanadu: Three Souls Searching for a Paradise
BITS and Pieces: A Collage Of My BITSian Memories
And Finally, Her World Was Complete (Published on Momspresso website)
Team Kitaab: Share five reads you would recommend from your region/ country.
Tomb Of Sand
River Of Fire
A Radiance Of A Thousand Suns
Queen Of Dreams
Those Pricey Thakur Girls
Team Kitaab: Your thoughts on Women Writing as a genre.
Harshita Nanda: I don’t think there should be a separate genre called Women Writing. But knowing the world that we live in, I understand why we need it.
It is important that more women write, and we read more women. The reason is simple. For far too often the literary gaze has been male. The stories are written from a male perspective. When women write stories, their gaze being feminine resonates more with me as a reader. The scenes, the emotions, and the reactions all are relatable.
When a young reader reads a strong female protagonist in a story or a novel, it gives the reader courage to think out of the box. It gives them examples they can follow in real life.
Team Kitaab: Please talk a bit about your publishing journey. The challenges you faced and the hurdles.
Harshita Nanda: My publishing journey, like my writing journey, was also an accident. I decided to self-publish my book, and thus while I did skip the steps of finding literary agents/publishers, I realised that it did have certain drawbacks. One of the biggest was marketing the book.
I think for becoming a writer now, one needs to have good business sense as well. How to market, how to create a buzz, all this needs to be taken care of by the author. As an introvert putting myself out there to market my book was tough. And without marketing, there are no sales.
I think there are many people who have helped me in this writing journey, but none more than my husband and my father. They have constantly just stood behind me as I stumble and find my way through this journey called writing.
Team Kitaab: How do you deal with Writer’s Block?
Harshita Nanda: Writer’s Block is dreaded yet inevitable. I try to overcome it by either trying some prompt-based writing. Another way is to sit quietly on the balcony and observe nature, letting the mind wander. My favourite way to overcome it is actually just to give up trying to force my brain to work and instead just read.
Disclaimer: All pictures are copyright of the author/s unless otherwise.
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