#BlogchatterEBook Carnival has seen some amazing books with the authors earning rave reviews and accolades on other platforms as well. Ellora Mishra’s book ‘Dots and Streaks’ won the coveted LIT Digital Award 2020.
In an exclusive conversation with her, we got her to open her heart and talk about the person behind the book (herself, of course!) and the inspiration behind her writing.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Ellora Mishra hails from Odisha, India. She is an avid blogger and loves to pen her musings under her pen name Ira Mishra. When she is not experimenting with her culinary skills she loves to capture moments and experiences through photography and to travel places. She has also recently started her travelogue to share her travel stories. Writing has always been her safe haven to escape to. She writes at Live Life to the Fullest and My Date with the World.
WHY DO YOU WRITE POETRY? IS IT THE ATTRACTION OF VERSES OR SOMETHING ELSE?
It’s not that I always used to write poetry. Infact I attempted to write poetry and entered its world only about less than a year ago I would say. I am more of a fiction person and that’s why probably my verses in the book ‘Dots & Streaks’ are also kind of tiny philosophical tales.
When I wanted to convey my experiences of life on the canvas of my blog I started wondering why anyone would be interested to read them. As in experiences in life are generally the same for people.
Everyone happens to experience the same emotions and kind of treads the same or similar path too mostly. Expressing life’s experiences or so called philosophies directly becomes clichéd and preachy that’s why. Best way was to express the philosophies and experiences in such a way that the words transport the readers to their own lives and their own experiences and verses seemed the best medium for this.
DOES WRITING POEMS COME EASY TO YOU? IS THERE A PROCESS YOU FOLLOW? WHAT IS YOUR INSPIRATION?
Yes, as strange as it seems, writing those verses did come naturally to me. As if I wanted to pour out few things that lay somewhere deep within me entrenched and too many words seemed to spoil those emotions that I wanted to express. That’s how I donned the garb of short poetic tales to express them.
The only process that I followed was I had just chalked down a few words against each alphabet for completing the A2Z challenge so that my poem should talk about that experience or emotion of mine or follow that theme. As for the remaining poems I had written them over a period of one year or so. They were more like reminisces of experiences that struck me when I was looking at some snaps that I had clicked during my travels.
Basically, I wrote the verses when I myself was in that phase of my life when I had paused my fast paced racing life and looked back to ruminate over and that’s what the book ‘Dots & Streaks’ is also all about.
Inspiration again I would say is our day-to-day common experiences in life. If you see, my verses are just lyrical tales woven around common emotions and philosophies of life like kinship, joy, hope, love, ego, loss, unity, longing, role reversal with age, pursuit of zenith etc. You can even see the characters like Witches, Elves and Nightingales all telling their life stories. But the stories are all very much our own just that either we fail to acknowledge them in our daily pursuits and have taken those simple philosophies of life for granted or those philosophies have all just got trodden upon and gotten lost in the unending races.
WHO OR WHAT IS YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM IN YOUR WRITING PROCESS?
I usually start writing post midnight as in after the world goes to sleep that is mine! The silence of the dark, soft music and the luminescence of the yellow lamp are my companions. Other than that, my five year old son who makes me see happiness in little things in life and my husband who is always my first reader and critic. They all are my support system.
HAVE YOU BEEN PUBLISHED BEFORE?
Not really. As a full fledged book this would be my first ever experience. In the past, that is during childhood only a story or two got published in children’s newspapers or in school magazines. I used to write under my pen name Ira Mishra all this while on my blog with intermittent breaks.
WERE THERE ANY DOUBTS OR APPREHENSIONS BEFORE PUBLISHING?
Yes, mainly self doubt. Not being from literature background and not having ever participated in any writing avenues earlier I did have a lot of self doubt as to how things will turn out. I remember I kept reading all the verses time and again late into the nights wondering if anyone would ever read and appreciate them as a book.
But again, I read my own lines which said
“The nightingale smiled and answered
Because it wasn’t in them that I was looking for my worth
For in others if I look for my worth it will always waver
As my value… is what only I can seek in myself.. but none else on earth”
I guess our minds get conditioned at some point in our life so much that we start looking for endorsements on our own value and worth from others eyes and others perspectives. And this conditioning gets into the way of everything that we have pursued and want to pursue in life. The day we get over this one single pitfall and can actually seek value within ourselves that’s when we can probably even achieve the impossible and actually see that sought after appreciation and endorsement in others eyes as well.
WHAT DID YOU FIND DIFFICULT IN THE PROCESS OF GETTING ‘DOTS AND STREAKS’ PUBLISHED?
The main difficulty that I faced after putting the book ‘Dots & Streaks’ together is marketing it. As they say, it’s easy to write than to sell it. But supposedly actual work starts only when you start to sell.
This is where again a platform like Blogchatter came to my rescue as this is where I could connect with the likeminded people. Those people who read and who encourage such endeavors as a community.
While they say a good marketeer can even sell ice to an Eskimo but why waste so much of your energy and effort. Even if you made the sale the Eskimo can never appreciate the ice.
Rather utilize that energy in marketing your work to people who can appreciate it. Even if the numbers are less still that will be a worthy enterprise. Basically, why not look for that oasis in a desert is my belief and philosophy.
DID YOU ENJOY THE BOOK PROMOTION PROCESS AND DID IT HELP REACH OUT TO OTHERS BEYOND YOUR CLOSE CIRCLE?
Blogchatter promotions definitely helped a lot in making the book visible to a larger public. The book ‘Dots & Streaks’ had received close to 690 downloads before I requested to take it down from the Blogchatter website due to the publishing contract conditions. This couldn’t have been possible without the platform Blogchatter provided.
In fact it is because of the Blogchatter community that I came across such lovely people and their beautiful books too. I also owe my LIT Digital 2020 award to another fellow author Mayura Amarkant from the community itself who informed me about this award event taking place. I owe this day and this feat totally to Blogchatter and the community and will always do.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO FROM HERE, WRITING AND PUBLISHING WISE?
I have always been a planner all my life. Since childhood I had kept planning. First for topping in my class, then for degrees, then again for the top grades in Engineering, planning for post graduation, what all should go into the CV to land the best jobs, then ratings in appraisals, promotions, awards, hikes etc etc etc.
The planning never stopped neither did the milestones end. And before I knew it life did reach it’s so called mid. And somehow all that I had planned all along to reach somewhere (although not sure where) just didn’t seem to be anywhere!
So now, consciously I have stopped listening to the mind and have started listening to those muffled voices from the heart. Clichéd again it sounds, but very difficult to do so in practice. I won’t say my mind has stopped voicing it’s opinion but yes I have stopped hearing it….at least trying hard not to!
And heart as far as I know just loves to bask in the moment, without a plan in the world…without a hoot as to what next! All it knows is, this is happiness and hope it continues to stay and spread ahead too in the same way as today!
Best wishes to you Ellora, on your writing journey!