Society

Unblock writer’s block

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Nikhil Chandwani Foundation encourages people to take up writing and helps them carve a career out of it

JK Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishing houses before it went on to sell millions of copies around the world. TS Elliot as an editor of Faber and Faber, a UK-based publishing house, rejected George Orwell’s Animal Farm labelling the political satire as ‘unconvincing’. ‘Not funny on an intellectual level’ was the feedback Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 received, before being turned down by a publisher. Struggles of getting a book published are not new to the world.

Trying to rewrite these stories of struggle is 24-year-old Nikhil Chandwani. A resident of Nagpur, Chandwani runs an initiative called Writers’ Rescue Centre through Nikhil Chandwani Foundation.

“In our country, writing is one of the least paid jobs. Be it journalists writing for newspapers or scriptwriters in movies, they are paid way less compared to people from other departments. This is killing the dreams of several writers who move on to other professions, rather than writing. Through this centre we are trying to initiate a change,” he says.

The centre, which opened its third chapter in Visakhapatnam recently after Nagpur and Hyderabad, helps people pen their thoughts and compile them into novels. It aims at rescuing these writers stuck in other professions by mentoring them, editing their manuscripts and helping them publish their book. The centre has 25 mentors and has tie-ups with approximately nine publishing houses.

Chandwani says the platform has also helped people suffering from depression to channelise their energy into writing. “An engineering student from VIT University who was battling depression, once met me after my lecture at their college. Forced into engineering, his heart was in photography and poetry. With 13 backlogs, he had a suicidal tendency and thought it was the end of the world. Today, he is a published author. That is the power of writing, which helps in gaining a positive outlook towards life,” he adds. Chandwani, author of 10 books, says that the idea of starting the centre came from his own story. From hiding his displeasure of studying engineering to photoshopping his marks card and covering up bad grades, he struggled as an engineering student.

His only escape from the turmoil was writing. Initially, he scribbled poems on the back page of his notebook, later he wrote a fictional love story during the second year of his college. “I struggled to market my book and was weighed down by taunts of the publishers. I did not want others to go through the same. I started the centre in 2017, but I have been helping writers for over three years now,” he says. Apart from books, Chandwani has also directed TV shows like Escape from Kenya and Amazing Amazon Adventures. With a work experience in various fields, he strongly believes that more writers would make the world a better place.

“With one foot in fictional lands and other in the rational world, writers hold the power to change the world,” says Chandwani.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 5:59:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/unblock-writers-block/article24696881.ece

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