Monday 3 June 2024

In Conversation with AksharaSthree


Holding conversations is an art in itself. You enjoy talking with some people. Often, it's because they know how to make you talk. Here's an excerpt from a hearty chat that I had with Sandhya Naveen of AksharaSthree - The Literary Woman.

What made you decide to have a varied career involving writing, editing, curating, and content strategy?

During my school and college days, like all young people in those days, I too considered going for a professional degree. However, writing came to me naturally. And so I found myself veering my way into journalism and eventually found myself in this career. More than a conscious decision, it was a following of natural instinct. Writing, editing, content strategy, etc. are all creative processes related to writing which basically require the same thinking mind-set but different approaches. I was lucky that I got the chance to explore all of these. Also, with the advent of the internet, I was at the right place at the right time. I just went along with the flow.

Can you talk about your schooling and how it affected your path in literature and journalism?

When I was in school, there were a few teachers who persuaded me to engage in script-writing, versification, etc. As they say, your teacher figures out your interests before you are even aware of them. However, more than anything, it was the environment at home that influenced me the most. My father led a very successful profession as an engineer. And he was a poet at heart – a much published and awarded one. So he was a person to look up to. I grew up in my grandparents’ home though. My grandparents were huge literature enthusiasts. So is my mother. Their continuous literary conversations around the dining table and in the living room kindled and nurtured my passion for writing as well as reading.

Your poetry has been in different online literary journals and anthologies. Can you tell us about your creative process and what topics or ideas inspire your poetry?

I get inspired by things around me, things that I see and hear. Anything and everything, even a crumbled piece of paper, can inspire me. Sometimes poems written by others become a source of inspiration. There is no specific process as such. Writing begins spontaneously in the mind. Words and lines form naturally. The genre and the format are all part of this natural evolution. By the time I type it out, the poem is almost fully composed in my mind. This is followed by endless revisions. Fine-tuning is a never-ending process. But I just stop working at it after a point.  

As a Consulting Developmental Editor, what parts of working with authors do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the challenge of editing and organising their thoughts without even slightly affecting or changing their tone and voice. I try to maintain the style and feel in the authors’ writing, sticking to their vocabulary, staying in line with their thoughts. This requires several meetings and discussions with the authors. By working closely with them, I gain a deep insight into their subject and thus get to learn a lot. This, I consider, is the perk that comes with my job. My ultimate gratification lies in the authors’ happiness when they see the final product.

How do you manage being a writer, editor, and consultant, and what do you do to stay organized and get things done?

So who says I stay organised? I get things done all right. But my mind is in a constant state of blissful disorganisation. It is always a clutter of things that I am currently doing and that I plan to do, including writing. There are words and lines that form, un-form and re-form, so to say, continuously in my mind. This generates the fuel that keeps me going.

[Read the full conversation on]

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