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Hi, I am a freelance writer and editor who just gave up her comfy job to pursue my passion of writing and traveling. I took a solo trip to Kerala in India which opened up my eyes to the sad reality of my situation then. Since that day I haven't looked back and am working my boots off to reach my dreams! Ask Me Anything!

Shreya Gupta
May 25, 2017

23 years and a lot has become clear, while a lot has becoming bewildering as well! Streaming one's own path, that too in a career like writing requires grit and patience. Let's discuss our opinions and questions on the same and maybe we learn a couple new things!

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How do you feel about your choice? I want to learn more about you. I just started freelancing too because I like to write and teach others about my own experiences.

May 28, 5:33AM EDT0

Hey! Ofcourse, no problem. Firstly, great that you are freelancing for the love of writing! Freelancing, as opposed to how some would feel, isn't all about sunny days with laptops, writing what you love. Similarly my experience isn't​ all cheery. There are articles I love and hate too. Some genres I get into just because I can write about. You don't always get what you want! Having said that, I do not regret my decision even a bit. This was a conscious jump. I had no backup, no plan B, and I just jumped. I trusted my instincts and here I am. So, I'd say I'm happy, or atleast leaening to become happy. Hope I answered your question! :)


May 28, 11:59AM EDT0

keep 'em coming! AMA! Need more material to ask questions? Let me help you - Here's my blog. Some new questions popping up?

https://inbetweenthepagesweb.wordpress.com/

May 26, 1:22AM EDT18

Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by this AMA! I will try my best to answer each question! Please bear with me.. I'm traveling to my next destination and facing some connectivity issues! But keep the questions coming! :)

May 26, 12:05AM EDT32

Do you like to write non-fiction or fiction or both?

May 25, 11:22PM EDT23

Hi Ashley, I am a bit more inclined towards fiction. Though I do love writing about food, travel and culture as well.

May 26, 12:00AM EDT0

Do you have many works planned or are you looking for inspiration? Tnx

May 25, 8:03PM EDT0

Well, I do have a little plan in mind. Hoping it works out! In the meantime, I am trying to gain as much experience and exposure as possible.

May 26, 12:01AM EDT0

Is your decision caused by not liking your job, or aggressively needing to write? Nice AMA

May 25, 7:41PM EDT0

Very nice question Lorraine! Initially it was not liking my job and the frustration that came with it. I had to really strain myself to see through the anger to list down things I am good at and really wanted to pursue.

May 26, 12:04AM EDT0

What do you look for in a story to determine whether it's good or not?

May 25, 5:02PM EDT0

An easy flow, less of complications, and more of relatable material. Too many farragos lead to too much re-work for me!

May 26, 12:11AM EDT24

What is the first thing you do when you know you need to write about something?

May 25, 4:33PM EDT0

I make notes...I have this little fancy diary (little embarrassing detail)! 

Also, I have a personal blog, so whichever idea creeps up I make sure to research and read about it and then have an entire Saturday morning schedule dedicated to nicely word it out! Coming up with new ideas is a little tough at times, but the excitement of having a new one does keep me up sometimes!

May 26, 12:09AM EDT0

I think, read and free my mind! I need a little space around my mind clear before writing anything work related or otherwise.

May 26, 12:10AM EDT0

Who is your favorite author to read for leisure?

May 25, 1:47PM EDT0

I absolutely love Agatha Christie, Sidney Sheldon, Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling and Cecilia Ahern!

Some new favorites climbing swiftly up this list are Jane Austen and Khaled Hosseini.

May 26, 12:12AM EDT0

What is it about you that makes you want to write?

May 25, 1:41PM EDT0

Wow! Lovely question there..

I have always been a very expressive person, an even more over-expressive kid. I always had to have a voice and I'm quite a rebel in my everyday life. I love words and their sounds and expressions and love connecting with people from all spheres and walks of life. There are a lot more things, but yeah, this is the jist of it!

May 26, 12:14AM EDT0

What has worked for you when trying to improve your writing skills?

May 25, 1:01PM EDT0

I think writing more frequently! It's just an excuse when someone says "I am not in that frame of mind". Just write 2 lines in a day, but write! The more you write, the more easy flowing the ideas become. And until you don't put pen to paper or fingers to keys, it's just a little thought bubble in your head! The more clear you are about what you want to write, the better the writing flows.

May 26, 12:16AM EDT0

Thanks!

May 26, 4:31AM EDT0

Do you plan on traveling more to find more inspiration, and if so, where?

May 25, 11:48AM EDT0

Oh yes! Very much! I am a very spontaneous person and even more so one who easily gets bored of stuff. I keep moving between 2-3 cities anyway every week or so to keep that pace going. I would like to actually like to go to Bhutan next!

May 26, 12:18AM EDT0

What kind of research is required for the types of writing you do?

May 25, 11:11AM EDT0

That is a very vast question, Andrew!:)

For my freelance gigs, I think whatever it is that the topic is related to. If it's travel or food, I draw from my experiences and even the internet and dozens of books I have laying around. When it is something for my blog it is mostly me and my thoughts and most importantly my readers, some of whom are friends and give me a word out of their thoughts each week. I try to then come up with something that most would like to read that particular week.

May 26, 12:21AM EDT17

Do you wish you had begun to pursue writing earlier in your life?

May 25, 10:37AM EDT0

I do. I used to lament over this, so fervently at times. But, it's in the past and you can't really drive if you're looking behind, can you? So, I made peace with it and just focussed on what next!

May 26, 12:22AM EDT0

What have you written about professionally, and will you continue to write about that?

May 25, 9:40AM EDT0

I have written about a plethora of topics - travel, culture, food, life, lifestyle, inspiration, product reviews.

I do hope to continue writing about most of them! Except maybe, honestly, product reviews. I would love to continue writing my blog till the end of time itself!

https://inbetweenthepagesweb.wordpress.com/

May 26, 1:14AM EDT0

Have you gone to college for writing or had other formal writing training?

May 25, 9:27AM EDT0

I had gone to college for getting my Bachelor in Engineering degree. I do want to go to college again for formal training. But, I have always been writing, no matter the scale, so I never really went out of touch with my writing. I have taken a few online courses and MOOCs. I was always good at English and writing in general, throughout school and college, so I think that has stayed and helped me.

May 26, 12:25AM EDT0

Was your trip to India relevant to something you've wanted to write about? Thanks in advance

May 25, 8:52AM EDT0

Not at all. But you know it's true - You can find inspiration and answers in places you never knew existed! Something similar happened to me!

May 26, 12:26AM EDT0

What writers have influenced your particular style of writing?

May 25, 8:19AM EDT0

I actually write about a myriad of things, so will just name a few on the top of my mind - Bill Bryson, Earnest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Khaled Hosseini, Jane Austen, Dan Brown. I am sure there are a dozen more where this list came from!

May 26, 12:29AM EDT0

What about your trip made you realize you weren't happy?

May 25, 8:04AM EDT0

It was the constant panic on day 1, the freedom I experienced during my trip and the anxious crying and frustration on the last day. Every little thing made me realize how unhappy I was. I was myself, no limitations for a week, and I was so happy and at peace! Such a stark contrast!

May 26, 12:31AM EDT0

What part of the writing process is most difficult for you?

May 25, 8:01AM EDT0

Editing my own work! I end up adding more instead of trimming down stuff!

May 26, 12:32AM EDT0

Has your decision to pursue writing and editing taken a big weight off your shoulders?

May 25, 7:45AM EDT0

In a way yes. You know, Amanda, I have a philosophy now - Better be your own slave and unhappy, than be someone else's and superficially happy. Wow, I should publish this! Haha, jokes apart, it has made me less anxious and frustrated. I have started listening to myself and feeling that it's okay to want something different.

May 26, 12:34AM EDT0

What recommendations do you have to someone less advanced than you are? Cheers

May 25, 5:51AM EDT0

Less advanced? I am sure we are all perfectly following our time zones and paces. I'd however, give someone who is trying to do something of their own, one tip. Do it! It's tough but it's worth it! And always, always believe in yourself and have hope..everything takes time! So you should too. 

May 26, 12:37AM EDT0

What are you doing to make yourself stand out above other writers? Tnx

May 25, 5:05AM EDT0

Connecting to more people through this AMA! :)

The more I connect with people, the more ideas I have and the happier I feel. And that instantly brews up the good writing! I also try to take on as many writing tasks and work as possible, can only go two ways from there!

May 26, 12:39AM EDT0

What types of writers do you want to do editing for?

May 25, 4:17AM EDT0

A writer whose stories have a soul and purpose. I help friends even edit their resumes from time to time. And no, I do not charge them for it! :)

I have never had an interest policy, if I feel there's anything that can get better, I will take up the task. And everything has the potential of getting better!

May 26, 12:41AM EDT0

How have your stylistic preferences changed as you've gotten older? Thanks in advance

May 24, 7:20PM EDT0

They have become more clear, I would say. I have always been very experimental with reading, writing, and almost everything in life. So now, things are becoming clearer. I can put a finger on a few topics that really interest me.

May 26, 12:43AM EDT0

Are you family and friends supporting your decision to pursue writing?

May 24, 6:48PM EDT0

Hi Ashley! Yes, and I am so grateful for it! My parents were a little dubious at first, they still are to some extent. But, I listened to myself and tried my best to make them understand what I was going through. They are not entirely happy but are making their peace and supporting me since day 1.

May 26, 12:44AM EDT0

What did you like best about Kerala?

May 24, 2:57PM EDT0

The connect you feel with nature! It's as if someone turned down the urban noise volume and peace and nature have transcended. I even wrote a blog about it. It will be here somewhere:

https://inbetweenthepagesweb.wordpress.com/

May 26, 12:46AM EDT0
May 26, 12:47AM EDT0

How soon after you came back from India did you quit your job?

May 23, 11:18PM EDT0

Vincent, actually I am a resident of India! :) But, I put down my papers in about 3 weeks from when I was back. 

May 26, 12:48AM EDT0

What job did you have before you quit to write?

May 23, 3:19PM EDT0

I worked as a Business Operations Associate (ooooh, data analysis and all that!) Much work, much money, not so much happy!

May 26, 12:49AM EDT0

How do you combat that pesky writer's block?

May 22, 1:17PM EDT0

Hey Gary! I have a friend from school by that name! Ignore my excitement! 

Can I say this? I do not really have them anymore..at least not for the last 3-4 weeks! And that is saying something! But whenever I confront it, I let it be. There's not much you can do about it anyway! But, I think why I'm not so afraid or annoyed by it is because I have tried to write about everything. What I write as a freelancer is so much different than what I write for myself personally, like my blog. And, I just wait for the weekend to arrive! It's more of an excitement now. I got over my laziness to write I guess - I have so much to say and share! Read a good book, have some hot cocoa or coffee and just sit in a park or garden. That writer's block is scared of peace of mind and a rush-in of ideas! Hope this was sensible!

May 26, 12:55AM EDT0

What inspired you to travel to Kerala?

May 22, 10:23AM EDT0

A dire need for a break from monotony! Also, I always wanted to go to Kerala after hearing beautiful stories from friends who had earlier traveled there.

May 26, 12:56AM EDT0

Where did you visit in Kerela ? and Why did you chose to go there ?

May 22, 5:28AM EDT0

Hi Shalini! My mother has the same name as you! *Too excited*

I visited Munnar, Periyar, Thekkady, Kovalam and Allepey in Kerala. I had always wanted to visit Kerala after hearing tales of its beauty! Plus, I'm on a mission to visit every state of India. A few remain!

May 26, 12:58AM EDT0
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What is your timeline for firmly establishing yourself as a professional writer?

May 22, 12:08AM EDT0

Hey Monica, good question!

I started down this track in February this year, and had decided of giving myself 5 years to make a decent living out of it and land up at a place where I really wish to! But, now, I'd say there's no timeline! We really can't rush things! I have discovered and learned huge lessons in this small a time frame. But the most important thing I realized was - I chose this and it chose me. I want to read and write and travel and eat for the rest of my life. So, why should I limit myself and my passion by putting a timeline on it! I will devote my life to this! No matter how long it takes, I have chosen this and I'm happy with my decision so far. Yes, I need to establish myself and reach my dreams but that will happen whenever it has to! We all have a personal time zone, some move fast, some slow. But we all reach it! Cheers!

May 26, 1:03AM EDT0

What is the best thing you've ever edited for someone else?

May 21, 7:00PM EDT0

It is actually in progress. I am editing a dozen short stories a father has written for his daughter. he is writing, getting it edited, and publishing it for her! I think that is a very sweet gesture and I took on the work eventhough it is not at a high scale because I loved his idea!

May 26, 1:05AM EDT0

What finished works of yours are you most proud of?

May 21, 6:01PM EDT0

I am proud of it all! How can a parent choose between her/his children? I love them all, no matter how imperfect they are. They all got me to where I am now. But, I am most proud of my blog!

https://inbetweenthepagesweb.wordpress.com/

May 26, 1:07AM EDT0

How many hours a day do you spend on your writing?

May 21, 9:48AM EDT0

I am losing track of time...normally 6 to 8. If I write more than this, I'll lose my sanity! The writing I do for clients while freelancing will make me go insane..not my personal one! :p

May 26, 1:08AM EDT0

What kind of editing experience do you have that you plan on marketing?

May 21, 9:25AM EDT0

I have edited books, website articles, blogs, short stories, resumes, CVs, et al. 

May 26, 1:09AM EDT0

What do you plan on doing within the writing arena?

May 21, 6:23AM EDT0

Can I be honest Tyler? I want to be an Editor of a publication house or magazine and be a travel writer at the same time! They say never say it out, but I will! They say it's not possible, let's see if it is! Cheers!

May 26, 1:11AM EDT0

Do you find it more enjoyable to write your own stuff or to edit for others? Thanks

May 21, 3:49AM EDT0

I enjoy them both, but yeah, a writing a bit more..

May 26, 1:11AM EDT0

Are you looking to be a general writer or fill a specific need?

May 20, 10:04PM EDT0

I want to be an Editor of a publication house or magazine and be a travel writer at the same time! I want to write about things that really matter in the world and to me. Hope that answers your question!

May 26, 1:15AM EDT0

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

May 20, 9:12PM EDT0

Hello Larry!

My greatest strength is that I can write about a multitude of topics, I am always ready to learn something new and enjoy it too. I know how to get over my "writer's block", or I think so.

My biggest weakness is my need to say so much! I want to learn how to just write a little every day and be at peace. I just cannot stay unoccupied!

May 26, 1:18AM EDT0