What do you write, and why?
I write articles, a newsletter, poetry, and dream-diary/confessional vignettes. I write to record, to work through ideas till they form a consistent thread, and as a moment of stillness to honour our brief time on this earth and how precious it is to see, to think, to experience and feel. I write because it serves as a beautiful reminder that no matter who or how or where we are, we are all splinters of the same genome - there is always a way to put yourself in another being’s shoes, even if you feel like you have nothing in common with them. And I write to have something to look back at when I no longer have the memory of being somewhere, in some fragment of time, climbing into or out of one of its looping wormholes.
What’s been your most successful piece of writing? (You can define “success” however you like.)
Haha, no idea! I feel that every little thing I publish - an article, an issue of my newsletter, a poem, my book, my public notes - strikes a chord with someone, and that’s the aim: to connect with people in a personal, intentional way in a space that allows for reflection. I feel like I’m always trying new formats and places with my writing so they reach different readers in different ways, but each email or message back from someone to say they’ve really enjoyed a piece of my writing or that it’s made them think deeper about something they hadn’t considered before makes my day every single time.
What is your biggest challenge with writing?
- Writing long pieces. I have a short attention span and I don’t like to waste words. Comes from a long history of writing poetry, I guess. But it makes it difficult to write (or repeatedly go back to edit) long articles with many turns of thought and lots of perspectives, where it’s more important to get a long, coherent train of thought across and each word doesn’t need to be ripe with many layers of meaning.
- Reported writing using interviews. I’m currently working on a piece where I have to synthesise and distill other people's ideas into something clear but fun to read. It’s very different from my usual personal voice pieces or fact-based essays surrounding issues I’ve written in the past. I enjoy the process of listening to people share things in a personal setting, but I find it hard to imbue other people’s words with my own meaning - it feels kind of like connecting the dots without numbers to guide you. What if I end up drawing a circle but it was meant to be a star?
How has Foster helped you?
Foster has helped me meet new people with lots of ideas and have space to explore different aspects of writing online (apart from the writing itself). The process of writing can be very isolating so it’s great to have a community of people with different interests and ideas to bounce things off and explore new avenues and audiences for my writing. But as importantly, being part of Foster makes me acknowledge that I am a legitimate writer with a unique voice and something to offer to the community, which is not something I could have said six months ago.
What keeps you going?
The knowledge that there’s so much out there to see, that I only have a limited amount of time to experience it, and that putting it into words is something that always, always makes sense.
Where to read Nanya’s work: www.nanyasudhir.com/publications
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