Day 153: Period story and writing lessons

28th May 2016 was marked as the second ever World Menstrual Hygiene Day. I didn’t know this until I saw a call for pitches for all manners of stories, essays, features related to menstruation, from a publication I have been trying really hard to break into. When I say trying, I mean repeatedly pitching, even in the face of rejection or no responses. Since the start of this year, I’ve pitched this pub four times, to zero response. I’m paying close attention to my pitching game of late, making minor tweaks here and there, trying something new every so often. This time around I decided I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. There is absolutely nothing to lose in constantly pitching someone when they haven’t responded. Editors are busy people, they receive a ton of email and there’s a hundred reasons why they may not write to you, even if it is to say no. And your idea not cutting it isn’t the first one of them. Also, just because one idea doesn’t make the cut, is no reason why the next shouldn’t. So pitch on, I did. Until eventually I broke through.

So, I wrote an essay on the harmful culture of shame and silence that surrounds menstruation in India, and the myths and taboos that feed into it.

Writing this was memorable because the finished piece is so far from the idea I originally pitched, but I am so happy with the way it turned out because it was an outcome of collaboration. There’s few things I love more than a truly collaborative editor who works with the best interests for the story in mind. This piece was a product of that kind of mingling of ideas and building from one step to the next, until you get something that’s loads better than the original idea you started with.

The other thing I learned with writing this essay is that contrary to what my lazy self believes, I can work under pressure in a short turnaround time. I agreed to write this essay at 5 am one morning when I was on my way to the airport. I landed in Bangalore to a week of family shenanigans, a chattering house full of guests, and no real place to even sit and work. I’m so used to giving myself the luxury of long deadlines, telling myself creative work like this demands time, mindspace and a conducive environment. It does, but it is not impossible to write without it, and I managed to finish this piece in under a week, essentially just two sessions of writing. It was also my first time writing a semi-journalistic piece which required a fair bit of research and putting facts into context. Also, since it was written for a non-Indian audience, I experienced writing in a way that takes care to spell things out and explore deeper nuances that I would otherwise get away with just mentioning, if I were writing this for an Indian publication.

So much learned.

This week, I also finally got down to updating my portfolio, which was time consuming and tedious, but it had to be done. It’s far form complete, but it’s a start and at least I have something up.

About 6 months ago I even purchased a domain for a personal website to route my work, and I did nothing about it. Until today. So that got an update too, check it out: http://revatiupadhya.com .

The only thing left to do was then update my about and contact page on here and link them all up. So I did that too, in a fit of motivation. Small steps that I have been putting off forever because I have no time, and when I do, I’m lazy. Go, see? Read? Share?

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6 thoughts on “Day 153: Period story and writing lessons

  1. Hi Revati,
    Been reading you for a while. Love the way you put your thoughts into words.
    Used to follow hungryandexited and tried some yummy recipes from that site.
    Cheers
    Anu

  2. Elizabeth

    I think it has been the shame has been ingrained in my mind for years that I sometime wonder at how I behave. But I do discuss my cramps and pains with my husband, more because I want him to support my daughter when she grow up. She is just 4 years now.
    Thanks for writing this post. We women needs to take a look at ourselves and should strive to lose some of that shame so that the next generation will have a better life.

  3. Pingback: Day 187: June | hAAthi Time

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