As more and more women take to writing as a career, do they still feel reminded that they are female writers? Five women writers reveal the kind of comments they have received over their years of writing, relating to gender or not, and how they dealt with them.
Kavya Sharma, All Seasons Alike
"People judge you not only for your art and the kind of profession you've gotten into, but they also assume as a woman you have it easy and this presumption is what creates discord. Some people also assume that as a woman your experiences are limited which further limits your writing arena. There are these huge writing groups who favor a few over others and those same set of people keep getting seen at various events and launches."
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"Some people said 'ahh, the privileged sex, you can, of course, afford to become a writer.' Some people have said 'People will only buy your book for how you look, you can get away with bad writing'. Honestly, it did initially bother me a lot as it would anyone who works hard on their art. I answered back and fought with a lot of people for such things, but as I matured I realized that none of these people matter and I cannot waste my energy trying to make them understand. The best way to fight them was to continue working on my art."
Anuradha Prasad, Two Winters and 365 Days
"Most of the famous writers and outstanding literature in the world is created by women. The most famous best-sellers are women. Women are vocal, expressive, and creative."
"I must say women have to work ten times harder than men to create a niche for themselves in a given profession. It's more challenging, as they are not only working outside, they are working inside the homes too. Women are tugged emotionally on all levels. They are torn between their families and workplaces. I experienced the same struggle. I handled criticism in stride. Took it easy and improvised on the pointers leveled at me from time to time. Sometimes identified criticism as baseless work of art and moved on!"
Indian Author Anuradha Prasad. Twitter
Raina Singhwi Jain, The Golden Bird 2.0
"As a working professional, one has to deal with criticism. It is however up to us to pay attention only to constructive criticism that can help us improve our skills. My father was the inspiration behind this book. A lot of the ideas mentioned in the book were a result of active debates with my father. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by highly supportive family and friends who enabled me to focus on the book." "Don't be overwhelmed by your ambitions and goals, just take the first step and new opportunities will automatically start coming your way."
Janhavi Bhat, Ashes of Desires
"Struggles are a part and parcel of life. Without hardships, it is impossible to reach anywhere. The biggest hindrance in my journey was my failure to realize my self-worth. Often times when one chooses a different path and sees a future that's inconceivable by the majority, a sense of negativity looms over. I always keep an anchor thought as my inspiration." My anchor thought is my reason to choose writing – express with utmost authenticity and honesty.
"Authenticity is a deep value in itself. Be fearless and honest. It might be difficult to find people who will support you. Nonetheless, go after your dreams and the right people are sure to accompany you."
Arushi Vats, Oasis in the Desert, and Other Stories
"When I was following the path of my dreams, there were many people who made every attempt to belittle my dreams or discourage in some way or other. They would give their unsolicited opinion of how being an author wouldn't do me good. Nonetheless, I cared less and turned a deaf ear to them. I was confident in my ability to go after my dream of becoming a published author and I am proud that I never bothered to hear those harsh words and demotivate myself."
"When I decided to publish my first book, there was no one to give me prior guidance of how to find a publisher or pitch your story. There's always room to improve. But, the thrill of doing things on your own with all the struggles and experiences gave me some confidence that I can be a writer. I realized that with time writing skills get sharpened and you only get better. Never underestimate yourself, you have the potential and the caliber to do it, so go ahead and do things with unwavering strength." (IANS/SP)