Since a written word has a great power, it has inspired people for centuries, especially the ones who decided to reach for it. By using letters, which we later put together to make words, to finally create full sentences, we write stories, which we not only share with others, but also inspire people here and now, as well as in the distant future. Together with the written word we can save our souls on paper, in this way, making them become immortal not only in the spiritual aspect, but also the real one. Each person is like a book, which others may benefit from, on the condition that we allow them to have a look inside. Writers have an enormous power, as they can influence people around the world. Their pieces may be translated into many languages, which will penetrate both into the souls and the minds of their readers.
Can everyone take up writing? For sure there are no bigger restrictions in this aspect, it doesn’t matter where you come from, how old you are or how difficult your life is, you can always write for yourself and others, the ones whom you’d like to share your works with. Of course, it’s a little bit more difficult to write for a wider audience, since it demands lots of motivation, hard work, persistence and a bit of talent. Some good luck in life will also help, as thanks to this good fortune some new doors of possibilities will open just in front of you. I’m pleased to introduce you to my today’s interviewee Surabhi Kaushik – who not only writes really well, but also helps others to improve their writing skills.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Surabhi: Writing is my first love. I enjoy writing anything from letters, blog posts, fiction, poetry and personal essays. I love traveling, hiking, reading and meeting people from different ethnic backgrounds. I have a masters in Mass communication and have worked as a writer in various areas starting with greeting cards, web content and advertising. While I am not writing, I am an active volunteer with the public library in Charlotte. I conduct, participate and assist in the writing programs in libraries. You can find more of my writing on my blog.
Passion Piece: You’re an avid reader and writer. Why is a written word so meaningful to you?
Surabhi: I love the power of words. I believe almost every writer is a reader first. Books have always been my best friends and biggest source of prompts. As a writer, I have informed, entertained and engaged my readers. Oftentimes, I feel overwhelmed by the way my writing touches people. This is true especially for my parenting as well as immigrant pieces. The thrill of seeing a published piece and the responses that it generates fuels me up with meaningful motivation to write more and publish more.
Passion Piece: How did you become aware of the fact that you’re a skilled writer? Was it a bumpy road?
Surabhi: I always wanted to be a writer. The first sign of validation came to me in high school, when I won an essay contest held by a national newspaper in India. Yes, it was a bumpy road as nothing in life comes easy. But I guess I am driven by my passion to write and for my work to be widely read. That’s been my driving force. In fact, even after moving to the United States, I am constantly looking for avenues to pursue my writing and hone my skills.
Passion Piece: You worked in the Indian Advertising Industry for more than 10 years. How close was it to your passion? What did you learn?
Surabhi: Getting into advertising was accidental. My first published pieces were letters to the editor, followed by winning an essay contest which got published in a national newspaper. I went on to pursue journalism in college, always imagining myself working with newspapers and television channels. But I surprised myself by finding a place in the advertising agency. I loved my job and it was synonymous with my passion to write. It involved a different way of thinking and presenting my thoughts as compared to what I had done before.
I am amazed by how much advertising taught me and enjoyed every bit of my journey as a copywriter. I learned to say a lot in less words, tapped into my creativity at the same time stayed aligned with client budgets and discovered the magical influence of advertising on lifestyle patterns.
Passion Piece: Now you live in the USA and you conduct Fiction Writing Workshops at libraries in Charlotte, NC. How do they look like? Are there many people eager to learn how to write fiction?
Surabhi:The response to my writing workshops has been a phenomenal learning experience. Yes, people are eager to explore different genres, techniques and try out challenging writing exercises. People want to talk about their struggles as a writer and look for like-minded people to do so. find when they hear that others have faced similar problems too. Suggestions and ideas to cope with such struggles gives them comfort and encouragement that they are not alone and can find ways to work around it.
I think at the moment, people are more interested in writing Non-fiction versus fiction.
Passion Piece: What tips and tricks do you share with your participants?
Surabhi: I encourage all writers / aspiring writers to write something as often as possible. If you cannot think of anything, write a letter to yourself, journal, listen to a song that you like, pick a cool painting and use it as your muse. I try to begin my workshops with my personal experiences as a writer. For example, I talk to them about the times when I faced writers’ block and how I deal with it or how I work on a piece that I wanted published, but faced multiple rejections. The tips I share are often videos that talk about better ways to write or recommend books that I have benefited from. I also highly recommend the use of Julia Cameron’s morning pages and Lynda Barry’s technique of keeping a visual diary.
Passion Piece: What kind of pieces do you write most often? Why?
Surabhi: The genre that I enjoy writing the most is fiction. I think it is because I love being a storyteller. As a child, I loved listening to stories told to me by my grandparents. I think that inspired me to make up my own stories.
Passion Piece: Have your works ever been published? Where?
Surabhi: Yes, many of my pieces have been published in several magazines and websites in both India and the US. You can find the links to all my published pieces on my blog.
Passion Piece: What’s your greatest success when it comes to your passion? What are you working on at the moment?
Surabhi: The greatest success for me is indicated by the response of my readers. If a piece is hugely loved and popular and connects deeply with my readers, I feel that I have earned my two minutes of fame. I am currently working on a fiction novel titled “Ties of Satin, Knots of Steel.”
Passion Piece: What do you do in your free time?
Surabhi: In my free time, I love to hike, sing or listen to music and read. I am a gosephille and love learning new languages.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in the nearest future?
Surabhi: I see myself writing better and being published widely.
My biggest dream is to be able to write a novel which can be made into a movie.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Surabhi: I think each one of us has a story to tell. Each story attracts a specific audience. Work towards the best way to tell your story and don’t be afraid to share it with the world.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this interesting conversation. I believe we will have a chance to read your new book soon.
I hope that my today’s interviewee has inspired you to take up the quill and to share your pieces with others. If you have a chance to be in Charlotte, I invite you to visit its local libraries and to practice your writing skills under the tutelage of Surabhi.
See you around!
Photos by: Surabhi Kaushik