A.R Sara

A breezy & intense eternal teen with a zest for the here and the now

Overcoming writer’s challenges

Most of the consistent and voracious readers I know, either already possess a natural inclination to express their thoughts in written words or involuntarily develop it over the years. So what is it that holds them back?
Some of the most common challenges I see in the transition from a reader to a writer and realizing one’s potential as a writer, do not revolve around lack of opportunities or muses or any external stimuli. But rather around a finite set of hurdles that lie within. I have tried to outline a few that I believe are the critical ones to address to kick-start your creative engine.

    • Shedding inhibitions
      It takes courage and a sense of purpose to actually put thoughts on paper, which is akin to peeling layers off an artichoke to reveal the heart. The fear of exposing one’s thoughts to the world can be intimidating resulting in conflicting emotions and a strong awareness and acceptance of one’s vulnerabilities. It requires an acknowledgement of the presence of the invisible yet formidable layers of inhibitions, prior to making an effort to shed them one at a time.
    •  Handling empathy
      Yes, even a strong sense of empathy can make a writer think several times over and reconsider penning down thoughts, ideas, feelings and brooding over the choice of words. Especially avid readers, who read across genres, have a strong tendency to become overly sensitized and empathetic.
      A striking sensitivity and awareness that words can be stronger than swords, can become a deterrent. What if the words from the heart were to hurt someone. It is important to reflect and apply some logic and due diligence and ask yourself if you are ready to take ownership and responsibility for the true intent and the meaning behind the words from your inner perspective. If yes, then go ahead with sharing your writing.
      Know that, when you write from the gut, the words you string together will encompass the emotions that went into them and will be invoked and tangle with the reader’s mood, when reading them.
      You can’t control how your writing will be interpreted or perceived. The readers’ perceptions and current state of mind can color the words they read. But if everyone were to interpret your writing exactly the same way, every time, that would be like taking the flavor and zest out of food rendering it bland and predictable always.
    • Seeking validation and Acceptance
      A fear of indifference can be a strong deterrent. After having shed inhibitions to reveal a part of one’s inner self via words in a blog post, book, FB post, social media…what if the world is indifferent, or only a lack-luster response is garnered or worse…it is ridiculed and callously rejected. Now this should turn the focus on who do you really write for and how do you feel about it and why do you share it? Then the most critical query of all: Why do you write?
      Reflect on these questions and answer. Be true to yourself as you do. The answers you arrive at will help you resume your writing journey with a renewed vigor, defer it or change tracks altogether.
    • Structured vs unstructured writing
      While there are academic frameworks, guidelines on what constitutes good creative writing…be it an article or a book, there is nothing etched in stone that dictates perfect writing except for grammar. Now grammar is something you don’t want to risk compromising on, if you are serious about your writing.
      While it is important to be aware and keep learning and respecting structure, it can be counter productive and restrictive for a writer to regard guidelines as rules and get so caught-up with them that it begins to hinder one’s own unique writing style from evolving.
    • Lethargy
      Plain old laziness is another culprit that can put the breaks on your writing expedition. Writing is a solitary activity fueled by creative drive. Something that has to be inspired and indulged in and not forced. If sufficient discipline is not applied to bolster your passion, it is easy to slip into a state of ennui and comfort and begin slacking off. Shake off that lethargy with a quick walk or some other form of light exercise or change in activity.
    • An Author’s Delight – Magic formula
      Is there a magic formula to churn out commercial bestsellers or viral posts? Absolutely, there is, in my view. Simply put, the way I see it, bestsellers are the result of Writer’s Passion Matching Mass Appeal. What are the odds of this occurring? Passion cannot be nurtured or forced, it is an intrinsic energy from within. The writing style, story line, character development, genre…all these do add up but cannot assure that the book will be loved by many. It is the undefinable quality, you have no conscious control over, that finally matters and can make or break the book you write. So let passion drive you to write and let the universe conspire to match mass appeal to it rather than attempting it the other way round.

There is no clear-cut “one solution fits all writers” to address and eliminate challenges. But the path to breaking free from them lies in recognizing the challenges prior to tackling them…one step at a time.

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© 2017 RajaRajeshwari Nagasigamani

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Lorkum’s Quest by A. R. Sara – Book Review

A respected reviewer, blogger and connoisseur of books reviews Lorkum’s Quest. So thrilled and delighted!

Books & Movies & Random Ramblings

I read A. R. Sara’s blogs regularly. I might not always comment on them but I do read and wonder how beautifully she weaves her stories around mundane observations. A cat and a dog. A crow. A sparrow. The language and the sequences are imaginative most of the times and they make for a very entertaining read. I downloaded a few of her Kindle books and loved a story called “A Crooked Crow” in it. She has written it in a sing-song pattern and has told the entire story through verses. It is intriguing how she managed to bring it all so wonderfully out without once leaving the rhymes. I did not get time to write a review then. But then after a long stretch, I finished reading another of her self-published books “Lorkum’s quest” yesterday. And boy, the woman keeps pushing her boundaries, or what?
Just a little background.

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Books for all ages!

A heartwarming pic sent to me by a young-at-heart fan of A.R. Sara books. She was thrilled to find the books at Crosswords Bookstore, Bangalore.IMG-20180105-WA0088 The delightful expression on her face as she reads “Nutcat the wise” speaks for itself!

Goes to prove A.R. Sara books are for the young, old and the ageless!

Feel free to write in and send your pics with your copy/copies of A.R.Sara story book/s and favorite lines if any from the books, to arsarafables@gmail.com to be featured here! 🙂

The books are available globally in Print and Kindle versions incase you are wondering… Here’s where you can find them on Amazon —–

https://www.amazon.com/A.R.-Sara/e/B009T38JUC

https://www.amazon.in/A.R.-Sara/e/B009T38JUC

Ofcourse the print versions are available on other online retailer sites too…just google for A.R. Sara books along with the book title you are looking for.

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Happy New Year!

Wishing Everyone a Happy New Year 2018!
May this New Year shower us all with happiness, warmth, empathy, understanding, love, health, joy, freshness, peace and success!
And here’s a special New Year wish for all the patrons of the written word…
May the new year be filled with a bountiful of diverse reads; some that may give a fresh new perspective of the reality around while others carry us away to faraway lands to acquaint us with people we have never met before and situations we have never experienced before and fill us with eclectic emotions.
May the new year see all our writings shared with the world go viral, all the books we published be well read and climb the bestseller lists and all those stories and thoughts deep within us find expression in words!

Express yourself

The next best thing you can do for yourself after diet, sleep, exercise and reading is to express yourself in words.

Yes, writing can help…

make you self-aware and poised,

articulate the feelings that cannot be voiced,

discover yourself all over again,

heal those invisible wounds and diminish the pain,

keep the blues away,

brighten your day,

prioritize your colliding thoughts,

share those unspoken after-thoughts,

bring clarity to your clouded emotions,

delay and control your reactions,

make you focused and sure,

state your views in leisure,

purge the all-consuming negativity

and nurture your creativity!

Even a sentence a day can go a long way!

The movie Wonder

Watched ‘Wonder’.
A remarkable feel-good family movie of the year 2017!
Every character realistically and beautifully portrayed with a moving story line touching on relevant topics that matter. Powerful messages of kindness, acceptance, understanding, empathy, tolerance, identity, anti-bullying delivered in an unobtrusive yet assertive and persuasive manner.
It has balanced deep emotions with a pleasant light-heartedness invoking just the right amount of laughter, thoughtfulness and tears to make it entertaining and engrossing. A unique accomplishment indeed!
A must watch for the young and the old, just as the book is a must read for all ages!

Self-Publishing Support

WorkshopLatestNoPicNoContact

Launching Self-Publishing support to help writers get independently published. If you want to find out more or attend the workshop or avail the self-publishing assistance, fill out survey – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DTYSNWT

Skype option available for workshop.

The transformation

It was a day out of a dream. Dusk was just around the corner and the dimming sun rays bathed the meadow in a warm golden glow. The breeze had died down and it was about to rain. The silvery clouds hung low and there was a crispness in the air that made the day seem brighter in spite of the approaching storm.
The birds had retreated to their nests and the animals to their shelters. It was safe for us to venture out now.
I watched my winged friends take flight. The sky was suddenly filled with many of my kind. A flurry of translucent wings that shimmered in the fading sunlight.
I fluttered my wings and flew. We chased one another and frolicked as we waited for the glittering droplets to fall. Sound of distant thunder was sweet music to our ears.
The view was spectacular. I could see in almost all directions at once with out having to budge. I spun around and landed on a sturdy leaf that smelt of hidden forest springs.
I rested there unfocusing my gaze till all I saw was a blur of swirling colors.
A sudden unexpected sound had me scrambling to my feet, ready to take flight.

“Humans!” my mind screamed. I opened my eyes, frantic now. I saw the giants! They had arrived. I saw them stomping on the grass and make those annoyingly loud noises. The smell of crushed grass was overpowering.
I suddenly realized I could not hear any of my friends. I swung up and clung to the fuzzy leaves of the nearest plant before launching myself into the air.

DRagonFly1

A distant buzzing sound reached my ears. It was the alarm. How had I missed hearing it. I was alone in the midst of a sudden human invasion. I knew this was not a moment to panic and let my instincts take over.
I slowed my rapid breathing as I flew in concentric circles.
“Look!” I heard one of the giants guffaw. It was deafening and my ears whirred.
My instincts screamed urging me to fly as fast as I could.
I saw criss-cross patterns forming on the grayish silver skies all around. The patterns drew closer and it was like viewing the world through a mesh. “Mesh!” my throat went dry.
A clicking sound made me sway on my dainty feet. At the same time I felt the mesh land over me weighing me down. I was unceremoniously knocked to the ground.
I heard a dull thud and I found myself in an enclosure. A dome shaped cage.
I slowed my ragged breathing and knew I had to stay calm. All was not lost, I told myself. The moment the cage was lifted I just had to fly away.
The humans were a clumsy lot and I still had a fighting chance. If I stayed alert. I braced myself for the take off. That is when the unthinkable happened. The cage shook and rattled and I was thrown all around.
I caught a brief glance of the giant hand that gripped the gleaming handle on the top of the cage. A flash of white rows of teeth on a monstrous face that beamed with unconcealed glee. The face of my nemesis. My eyes blurred with pain and despair.
I was starting to feel dizzy. I fought to hold on. I could not afford to faint. Not now. Every time I thought the rattling had stopped, the cage would again start to shake with renewed force. I was swaying, and losing all sense of direction and place.
Numerous images collided and my sight was a fractured haze.
Then without warning my tiny shoulder grazed against a side of the cage. There was a crackling noise. A searing pain shot through the entire length of my broken body.
I felt myself dropping to the far ground and I just let go. There was no use.
The next moment the cage lifted. I was too weak and dazed to react. A giant hand hovered over me.
Then two fingers shot out and picked me up. A flash of sharp shooting pain made me scream in agony. A scream I’m sure the human could not even hear.
My gaze rolled and I saw with disbelief as I saw the other hand of the human delicately hold a pair of the most beautiful wings I had seen in my life. Painful familiarity ripped through me as I realized they were mine. My wings.
They had been plucked out from me. I let out a woeful howl. Suddenly I felt the hold over me relax and I was falling. I dropped to the ground to land on a bed of cool grass.
I helplessly watched the human walk away with my wings still gingerly held in those large and cruel hands.
A giant droplet of water landed on me soothing the excruciating pain and washing away my unshed tears. A gust of wind blew my way and I rolled. The grass padded my movement.
I watched streaks of lightnings light up the twilight sky followed by a moaning rumble of thunder. The wind picked up speed. I suddenly found myself lifted off the ground by the strong breeze. I let myself be carried away. There was not much I could do any way in my current weak state.
I was lifted me higher and higher and I passed the flowers, and a few other little winged beings who gave me a woe begone look.
Soon the trees looked small as I felt myself ascending higher and higher as the wind spiraled and rose. I found myself transported to a large floating cloud and I was enveloped in warm healing softness.
A dazzling streak of light zipped around me and inside me. A comfortable feeling settled over me. Then a blinding flash of lightning lit up the soft space all around me. It was followed by a deafening crash of thunder. I was overcome by a feeling of power and intense mind-numbing heat. The cloud dissipated around me. It was melting away as it gave way to a wide open sky. It was like the world was shrinking around me.
In a sudden moment of clarity I realized, that was not the case at all. Rather it was me. I was the one growing. Growing till I towered over the clouds. A sense of purpose prevailed over me.
I swooped down overcome by a surge of energy. I was filled with a burst of delight as I could feel my wings again. Except that they now felt strong, leathery and powerful, rather than delicate and translucent. They flapped slowly and steadily, propelling me downwards swiftly and smoothly. I sliced through layers of clouds effortlessly in my descent. Soon I could see a tiny patch of deep blue surrounded by vibrant green. As I drew closer I realized it was a lake. Placid and serene it seemed to await my arrival. I flew straight down facing the calm waters.

A momentary glance revealed my reflection in the still waters, making me snort in disbelief. A gush of wind blew from my massive nostrils followed by an unexpected rush of orange and blue flames that grazed the surface of the water. As I snorted again and again, fresh flames leaped out of my mouth and nostrils like from a gigantic blowtorch, making the waters ripple and glow. I was a feeble and dainty little dragon fly no more, but rather a mighty and monstrous dragon! Many times larger than the human who had tormented me.

Memories and facts from unfamiliar sources collided within me expanding my consciousness. I let out a grunt of satisfaction as I soaked in this new found knowledge and form.

© 2017 RajaRajeshwari Nagasigamani

 

Free kindle short story

Kindle short story available for free download.
Amazon India – https://www.amazon.in/dp/B077XRMRB7
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077XRMRB7

Self-publishing is a state of mind

This is a post that has been in the making for long. I have been often asked about the why, what and how of self-publishing. I hope the below account of my personal experience with it, will at least provide a glimpse into this phenomenon of publishing by self. One which is slowly but surely gaining the status of an accepted alternate option, if not a norm, rather than be dismissed as an unsettling exception.

I am a self-published author by personal choice. Not that I keenly explored traditional publishing or even believed that any of my books stood a chance of making it out of the slush pile, leave alone being accepted by any well known traditional publisher.

My writing and publishing journey started almost six years ago, after I decided to take a relaxing break from my successful corporate career spanning sixteen years.
Inspired by my kids and my husband I revisited my passion for penning down stories. Driven by the love, encouragement and support from family, friends and young fans I considered making the books available to a wider audience. The final deciding factor that accelerated the process was the irresistibly sweet appeal made by my husband and kids to see the books in brick and mortar book stores.

After some online R&D, I decided early-on in my journey that self-publishing was surely the way to go about realizing my goal, considering the phase of life I was in. Moreover the drive to impress my kids was immense. It propelled me to dive right into the realm of words without a second thought and into the world of publishing with a methodical approach. The tremendous emotional support from my husband and parents and encouragement from close friends and cousins fueled me further.  I began to independently publish in 2012 and there has been no looking back since.

I started with publishing the stories in kindle format before proceeding to publish print versions. After some initial hiccups and hesitation, I rolled up my sleeves and started understanding and getting hands-on with the various aspects of the self-publishing life cycle. This included forming a virtual team or tapping into my own resources or filling in from my personal board of directors where needed, to cover proof-reading, editing, type-setting, formatting, illustrations, book and cover design and printing for each book followed by identifying and expanding distribution channels, promotion, marketing, branding, selling, networking. This is the point when I realized that rather than remaining a smooth sailing journey it had turned into a veritable adventure. A most humbling and uplifting one. One that I didn’t mind at all. Not one bit, as I began to understand what it truly means to publish a book. What it takes to pursue dreams and to own the risk, knowing that the odds are clearly not stacked in one’s favour when it comes to publishing one’s writing. I finally began to understand the pains and tribulations from a traditional publisher’s point of view. A great plot line, excellent writing, perfect editing, a spectacular book cover, popular genre and any other embellishments, cannot guarantee a best seller. Despite all this a book can sink without a ripple in a vast lake of forgotten books, taking with it all the efforts, investment and dreams. The magic ingredient that can make it a bestseller is still as elusive as can be. It made me empathize with the challenges faced by the publishing industry to keep that alternate world of stories alive at all costs.  A human need and intent as ancient as the stories etched and depicted on stone by the early hunter-gatherers. With the traditional reader base in the world steadily declining and being replaced with a new breed of smart phone scrolling readers, the onus lies on the writers and publishers to make a concerted effort to grow the reader base and expand and retain the readers’ attention span.

Overall it is an intense, fulfilling and ongoing personal journey and an enriching learning experience. I have managed to publish 10 titles in ebook and print versions and make them available on major online retail stores like Amazon and Flipkart, Sapna apart from book stores like select Crosswords book stores, Just Books libraries, several School libraries, at book fairs, Lit fests and select independent book stores. I started blogging independently, writing for online blogs and began to experiment with creative photography along the way.

The progress has been slow yet stable and promising. I operate on a conservative budget, balancing time, effort and investment to sustain and grow modestly and steadily rather than aim for giant leaps. I keep improvising with each new book and each new edition of my already published books.
The greatest benefit I see is that it allows me to learn and grow at my own pace, without compromising on life’s priorities.
The downsides I see are that to begin with, self-publishing obviously lacks the open public acceptance and validation that naturally comes with traditional publishing and people tend to approach a self-published book with skepticism. But I am seeing that change with each new book I publish.

It goes without saying, self-publishing demands a certain level of self-discipline, else it can turn into a wasted endeavor.

I end this post with a message to all the established as well as aspiring self-publishers out there – I believe that the ultimate idea is to hang in there, keep the dream alive and kicking, stay open to feedback and keep applying the learning that you pick up along the way. And in the process don’t forget to enjoy doing what you love to do. Write!

My Amazon Author Page: A.R.Sara Books on Amazon!

© 2017 RajaRajeshwari Nagasigamani

Read-aloud Little Prince by Antoine De Saint Exupery

I recently read aloud “The little prince” with both my kids. Revisited this book after more than a year. It is one of those books that doesn’t give out any deja-vu stale vibes when you pick it up again. Rather it draws you in again, rekindling the interest and curiosity to explore the feelings, images, smells, sounds and sights it might evoke this time around. My kids and I, we took turns to read aloud with dramatic flair. Taking our time with it. When we came across a sentence that we liked, we read it again, savouring it.
So what are you currently reading aloud?

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