In keeping with our promise of your rendezvous with Inspirational Women, we bring you Rinku Paul – a life coach, corporate trainer, neuro-linguistic programming practitioner, and co-founder of a writing studio, The Muse; who broke away from a sixteen year old career to chase her dreams.
Rinku Paul in conversation with Piyusha Vir…
Piyusha: When did you first discover you wanted to write? What was the journey like?
Rinku: I think the desire to write existed for the longest time. Off and on it also found expression in various forms…be it blogs on the personal front or even business plans on the professional one. As for the journey to turn into a published author, well it wasn’t anything short of miraculous.
When I quit my corporate job of over 16 years, wanting to do something a little more impactful, I did not know that my own journey will lead me to chronicle the journeys of many others. But I think the seeds of “ Dare to be” were sown somewhere there. The book, as you know, traces the lives of fourteen women, who gave up their corporate jobs to follow their passion. To say that they had a lot to contend with is an understatement. There were their own fears and vulnerabilities, the innumerable naysayers that they needed to outshout and a patriarchal set up to contend with. To their credit they decided not to be cowed down by any of this, which is what makes their stories so empowering.
Coming back to the writing journey, it was almost as if these inspiring stories were waiting to be told. While these amazing women opened up their hearts so graciously to share their life journeys, a star literary agent led us ( me and my co-author) to a fabulous publisher who believed in the power of these stories and the fact that the women’s entrepreneurial and creative eco system needs to be infused with meaningful story telling… And here we are.
Piyusha: You have a degree in English honours and an MBA in Marketing, making your entry into a media house fairly easy. And yet you would have faced many challenges while venturing into something different. What advice would you give to someone who is embarking on a similar journey?
Rinku: I firmly believe that if you want something strong enough, you will find a way to make it happen. Having said that, I am not trying to romanticize or glorify the process. You have to be prepared for the zillion uncertainties that will come your way, which you will need to navigate. Through the whole journey, as long as you remember to open yourself up to experiences and face your vulnerabilities, instead of shying away from them, you will be fine!
Piyusha: What does your family think of your writing? Are they supportive? Do they critique your work?
Rinku: Yes thankfully so. They were among the few people who did not write off my decision to give up a stable corporate career as being untenable; and that was validation enough for me.
Piyusha: What is your biggest fear as a writer?
Rinku: The biggest fear for any writer, I feel, would be not to be able to connect with the readers. I think as long as you are able to establish that connection, be it at an intellectual or emotional level, depending on the genre, writing will always be gratifying.
Piyusha: What cultural value do you see in writing?
Rinku: I think writing has the innate capacity to capture the spirit of the times like little else. It can be both- a mirror to society as well as help shape opinions, fight stereotypes and more. Therefore the value that it brings to the cultural fabric of a society is immense.
Piyusha: Do you think reading is dying and not as respected as it was before? What do you think is the future of writing and publishing?
Rinku: I wouldn’t go that far so as to say that reading is dying. The formats by all means are changing, as are attention spans. However, the desire to acquire information, the desire to hear a compelling story, I think can never go out of vogue.
It is a given that we will need to adapt ourselves to newer formats as we go along. So long as we keep ourselves relevant to the needs of readers, I think we have no reason to worry. In fact with technology becoming a big enabler there are definite reasons to be optimistic.
Piyusha: Which is your favourite story from Dare To Be and why?
Rinku: If there is one thing I wasn’t short of, in the journey of this book, it was inspiration. The women featured not only shared their professional journeys but also the impact on their personal lives. It is hard, therefore, to pick any one story as being more inspiring than the other. If in Neeti Palta’s story one gapes in awe at her determination that led her to quit a high flying advertising job to venture into the male dominated world of stand up comedy, in Sucheta Pal’s story one sees sheer grit in her overcoming the deepest depths of depression to follow her passion. Sairee Chahal’s story is a deep affirmation of the fact that when you have a voice you need to start giving back to society. Malini Agarwal’s story on the other hand proves the axiom that you can make anything your job as long as it is your dream and passion that is driving it. Should any of these stories force any one to dust them self after a fall and keep going, I would have achieved what I set out to do.
Piyusha: Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Could you summarize your writing process?
Rinku: I would think both; at different stages, that is. In writing a non-fiction particularly, there surely is some amount of logical evaluation before you start writing, on whether the subject that interests you, will interest other people. Having said that, once you set upon the writing journey, the process is totally intuitive. After a point, it is almost as if you are writing for your own self and not for an audience. And yet if you write with sincerity, the stories make their way into many hearts and that makes the journey even more gratifying.
Piyusha: What advice would like to give newbie writers?
Rinku: Clichéd as it may sound, I would just say keep writing! Write for your own self, more than anybody else.
Piyusha: Thank You Rinku, for these inspiring words. We wish you all the best for all your future endevours.