#Art + Culture

Preeti Shenoy on what it takes to be a best-selling author in India

Preeti Shenoy interview Author
Pandemic was a really stressful time for all of us. Coping with the locked up lives, nothing was working out. People lost their loved ones, there was depressing news everywhere. In these times, all someone needed was a little positivity and someone to give them hope that everything would become better eventually. And author Preeti Shenoy took it up to her to spread some ways to feel better at such times by writing positivity blogs. Her discussions with people who were looking for advices took her on a journey to write a book on sharing her experiences of coping with grief and pain. That’s what gave birth to her new book The Magic Mindset.

Preeti Shenoy is among the highest selling and most celebrated authors in India and has written books like ‘When Love Came Calling’, ‘Wake Up Life Is Calling’ and many other great pieces of literature. She talks with SheThePeople about her new book ‘The Magic Mindset: How To Find Your Happy Place’ and also about the difficult times and the changes that might be waiting to happen.

Blog posts on ‘21 Days Of Positivity

Preeti says that it is in the times of anxiety and uncertainty when everyone need an anchor to hold on. She has always been a part of blog marathons and she took it as a challenge. She wanted to write something that was not about the pandemic and it could be anything, a movie, a show, simply anything but the pandemic. That’s how she started ‘21 Days Of Positivity ‘.

Preeti says that she did not have a mindset at that time, it was just a way to cope with things around her. She says, “I lost him (her father) way back in 2006, but for anyone dealing with grief I can tell you one thing, the pain never goes away, you just learn to manage it better and you learn to go aboard your daily life but every happy memory is going to be pinched with sadness from now on and that’s something you have to accept.”

The Preeti Shenoy Interview | She says there were a lot of things that her father passed on to her that came naturally to her when she was coping with the grief of his passing away.

That’s how the mindset about The Magic Mindset came by. Even though she never had any life lessons from her father, she was using his methods to cope with the grief and she had mentioned this in her book.

Writing Non-fiction

It was not her first non-fiction book, she had written a book called Love A Little Stronger and then she used to write a column for Financial Chronicles called Sex And The City and also a book Why We Love The Way We Do and those were her non-fiction works. This book is actually her first self-help. She says, “To be honest, when I writing it I was not thinking, oh this is gonna be published or this is gonna be self-help, I just wrote it. Because it was more like a legacy kind of a thing that I was leaving for my children I said if something happens to me, I want them to have this wisdom, I wanted them to know what I followed.”

It was just a friendly conversation about the things that worked for her and that didn’t. She had conversation with readers on social media and there was exchange of views, ideas and advices and the readers told her how helpful it was for them. So the reason of putting it down in a book was a mix of all that.

Creating the magical mindset

Preeti tells us how she troubling the word ‘Positivity’ is to her. A person cannot remain positive when someone had died or they have lost job or gone bankrupt. But there are simple ways to feel better and it begins with understanding that your mindset can change a lot of things. Preeti gives reference to the Ellen Langer experiment where 70 year old people were kept in an environment of 50’s which help them reminisce their good old days. This changed their mindset and they came back with better healths.

Another incident that she talks about is of Graham, a man who lost his mobility in an accident and got the locked in syndrome. While doctors told him he can never move again, he never gave up and focused on improving his mobility and went from being able to move his little toe to racing cars. That’s the impact that your mindset has on your life. It is not possible to be positive instantly in difficult times but you can take simple steps towards it and that’s what The Magic Mindset talks about.

To do for everyone

Preeti thinks that all the problems are different, even though it might be that two people are facing same situation, their mindsets can be completely different. So she wanted her book to be a reflection and personal experience. She did not want it to give theory like other self-help books that people forget after reading. She wanted to be a therapist who asks questions and seeks answers to give people a personal experience. The exercises are simple, you can answer them in a word or a sentence but it will help you reflect on yourself.

When you come back after years to read it, you will notice how your answers have changed and that what made her include them in her book.

Cracking the code for better relationships

Preeti also started learning tarot reading and read to people, mostly answering questions about finances, life, relationships but it was much recent whereas she had been writing from way longer. She says that she had always written about relationships and family stories but they were not love stories, they were much more than that. She does not know whether she has cracked the code or not but if the readers and media is saying, so she will just accept it.

Dealing with rejection

Preeti faced 39 rejections, some of the people even did not see her work. Addressing them she says that she was a born fighter and all those incidents challenged her to prove herself. Their rudeness did not affect her as her father always told her that it is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice. She says that people’s opinions should not affect a person, writing is like standing naked in front of people passing all types of comments. You should not bother about what people say, if it gives you joy just do it.

Writing journals

Journals have impacted her life a lot. She had always maintained a gratitude journal but that became quite monotonous. She had filled different journals like morning journals, daily life journal and a lot more. She always believed in manifestation and it worked for her and she has included it in her book as well. But the book is not about manifestation, it is a road map of simple steps that you can towards achieving your goals. And the exercises help you see what you already have and accomplished and acknowledge it because it is very important.

Anonymous blogger to best-selling author

Preeti reminisces about being scared of revealing her identity as a writer and how she posted a picture of her feet when people wanted to know who she was. Talking about her success as a writer, she says that she thinks it was because of her determination and how relatable her writings were. When the reading makes you feel something, only then it is recommended and shared and that’s what happened with her works as well. She also credits her consistency and discipline when it cane to writing. This is her 14th book and she thinks that although it seems too big of a task, it is actually about little little steps that someone takes on a daily basis and that is not too much. She was writing when nobody was reading her and now that everybody is reading her, she is still writing. So it is important to maintain that consistency.

Love cooking, walking the dog, painting and writing 

Preeti Shenoy says that she knows how to manage her time efficiently and get 7-8 hours of sleep as well because that is really important for her health. Writing is her full time job and even if she writes for 8 or 5 hours a day, she still has time left to do so many things. She just does not get how people cannot make time for doing things when they have so much time, especially during these Covid times when they don’t even have to commute. As for cooking, she says she learnt how to cook as she did not have her mother or mother-in-law cooking for her and she learnt to manage time by making preparations like boiling potatoes and peas beforehand. This saves a lot of time when you cook. So, basically, she says that it is all about managing time efficiently.

A Peek Into Preeti Shenoy’s Journal

Preeti Shenoy usually don’t prepare a proper sketch of her characters or hand write her story line. She scribbles and note down the ideas and inspiration on paper that is often hard to read as they are rough outlines and lots lot words and underlines. She rights illustrated journals where she beautifully puts all that happened in her day that she feels like expressing. Shows, poems or daily incidents that she comes across, she writes about them and decorate her pages with beautiful drawings and illustrations. She tells how she took part in ‘Inktober’ where all artists around the world create something with ink everyday and she too had drawn many beautiful illustrations with ink.

Which 3 self-help books changed her life and in what way?

Preeti Shenoy has recommended a lot of books in The Magic Mindset that she felt that everybody should read. “3 self-help books that changed my life…..one of the books was Don’t Say Yes When You Want To Say No. I feel that was a game changer for me when I was in my 20’s that helped her a lot in her 20’s because I followed diligently all those exercises. That really helped me. And then there was another book that I read, How To Win Friends and Influence People which is helpful even today….you can read it even today.” The third self-help book she talks about is Who Will Cry When You Die by Robin Sharma that was very close to her heart as her father recommended it to her. At first, she found it funny that her father was reading that book but realised its importance when he passed away. She thinks that her father gave that book to her as a message and she cherishes it very much. As for currently, she says she is reading a French writer, Marc Levy.

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Facing a writer’s block 

Preeti Shenoy says that she has never faced a writer’s block. However, she thinks that if the story is stuck at some point then the issue is not at that point, it is somewhere in the previous chapters. Writer’s block can happen when the characters are not fleshed properly or the research is not proper, or maybe the secondary characters are not developed properly. It can also be that the writer is not fully aware of the world in which their characters are based. Preeti says that to overcome a writer’s block, the writer should go back and see if there is a fault in previous chapters, they should let the characters do what they want and not censor their thoughts. For the time being, they should leave the story be and set the characters free. If they still feel stuck, start a new story as maybe it is not a story meant to be told.

Has The Magic Mindset helped Preeti achieve some goals that were difficult?

As per Preeti, this book has helped her achieve all of her goals and that is the reason why she wants to share them with the world. She talks about how at a point in her life she was not able to say no to things. She recalls a time where as a book launch event years ago, there was this one fan that hounded her for pictures and photograph while she was really tired after doing the same thing for the entire day. She remembers it as a horrible memory and that’s how she felt like she need to say no to things that she does not feel like doing. Such experiences that helped her in achieving her goals, she has mentioned in her book and she hopes that they help others as well.

Her happy place

For Preeti her happy place is her room. Her bed, desk, journals and art, that’s her happy place for sure.

What are 3 qualities that an aspiring writer must possess?

Love for writing, discipline and deep empathy and understanding of humans.

How do you unwind?

Preeti says she does not watch news and such channels on TV but she watches quality shows, movies, she listens to music, reads, paints, goes for walks and yoga to unwind.

Can we expect an illustrative travel blog from you in future?

Preeti says that if any publisher wants her to do an illustrative travel blog, she is definitely up for it.

What are you working on now?

A fiction book that will be published by Harper Collins in April 2021, says Preeti.

Preeti says that most of the readers who ask questions are usually youngsters that are not close enough to someone to share their thoughts with them. They open up about their deepest thoughts to her and she tries to help them through her advises and tell them what worked for her. Usually she writes a blog in which she talks about ways to cope with their problems and then recommends it to them.

End of article