Halfway Through Another Year With The Pandemic
July 05, 2021
Midyear checkin 2021

The Goodbye 2021 Hello 2021 planner that I received as a gift early this year has been a good reminder to not just plan for the year but to stop after every quarter for a quick check-in

Traveling through books

In any given year, I read a lot of books and travel a fair bit. Last year, thanks to Covid-19, I was unable to move out of my tiny cocoon in Singapore. Yet, I could travel freely, through books. The fabulous Singapore library system allowed me to soar to new places by allowing me access to print and ebooks and also introduced me to audiobooks that kept me company on long solitary walks through the nature reserve in my backyard.

I declared my intention to make 2020 “The Year of International Reading” by directing my reading attention to books written by authors from different countries. I hope to satisfy my craving to be whisked off into exotic lands and meet new people as well as get my fill by reading a wide variety of books. Little did I know that the pandemic would continue into 2021. So I continued to seek books from faraway places. 

At this mid-point of 2021, here is my reading update. I have written long reviews for several of these books and short ones as well on goodreads. 

Writing update

At the beginning of 2021, I also announced my plan to write my memoir and use my biweekly newsletter to share my writing journey with interested readers. I am happy to report that 6 months and 12 newsletters after the announcement, my book is ready.

Of course, there is still work to be done. Beta readers have sent their feedback, final editing has to be done. I am grateful to my newsletter subscribers for taking the time to read and provide thoughtful feedback that will make the book better. And thanks to all who helped me select a cover for my book. 

The newsletter will now be expanded to include something for readers, writers, travelers and thinkers who want a regular shot of inspiration in their inbox. Now that I have completed “Rewriting My Happily Ever After”, interested readers can use the small actionable tip in each issue to help you rewrite your next chapter. If you want to make sure you receive each issue without fail, sign up here and stay in touch.

Sound bytes

My new appreciation for audiobooks made me think about offering my own memoir in audiobook format. However, I had no idea how my voice sounded on air and had no experience of recording my voice. 

When I began working on the second draft of my book, I used an editing technique that many authors recommend – read aloud editing. During my short solo staycation in a remote corner of Singapore, I began reading and recording each chapter into the voice note of my phone and got the hang of it. Later I recorded the first chapter and shared it on my blog – you can listen to it here

Based on my own assessment of how a personal story sounds when heard vs read, I understood how important it is to offer this option because people who may be interested in my story may not necessarily be readers. And since I cannot narrate it to everyone in person, I must offer an audio version as well as become more accessible.

So I stepped into the world of podcasts. Just as I was wondering about an easy way to try my hand at it, I came across a great place to quickly record short mini-podcasts. Check my audioblogs – they tell the backstory and the context for my book.

Other updates

As a lifelong learner, I am always curious about new things. Like many nerds, I love the formal atmosphere of schools and colleges and even like exams!! And now, the pandemic has made online learning not just a fact of life, but opened up an infinite vista of opportunities to learn.

Last year I spent time listening to famous authors in Masterclass. This year I decided to expand into other areas including how the brain functions and how to move from a consumer of content to a creator of original content.

Here are three courses that I have completed in the first six months of 2021.

  1. Learning how to learn – Coursera
  2. Collector to Creator – Ness Labs
  3. Podcasting Masterclass – Udemy

I have enjoyed all of the above because they were interesting and covered the topics in a way that suited my learning style as well as available time.

What next

While I keep plugging away at all the activities that are required in the final stages of book publishing, I have reached out to fellow memoir writers from India, whose books I have enjoyed. The new monthly series of author interviews can be found here

Plus I have consciously decided to be more active on social media so do connect with me there for sneak peeks into a book’s journey as well as other interesting tidbits that I like to share.

It has been a wonderful six months so far and I am grateful for everyone who has so generously given me their time and expertise to bring my book to the stage it is right now.

Stay tuned for latest book updates right here or sign up for the newsletter to not miss anything. I plan to send special surprises to subscribers as the date of the book launch gets closer.

Drop a comment and let me know how your year has been so far. Do you use a planner?


Photo credit Ranjani Rao

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