Please tell us about yourself
Born in Bhopal and raised in Delhi, Anubhav Shrivastava is more than just an ex-MITian and the ex-Editor of MTTN. On the 15th of February, 2017, he had his first novel published which soon turned into a best seller on Amazon and has sold over 700 copies so far. Returning to Manipal after two years to endorse his book and inspire young writers to freely pen their thoughts, he recounted his journey from being a recently graduated engineer to an author within the span of two years.
MTTN: How did you get into an offbeat, unconventional and cool career such as writing?
Anubhav: Initially when I joined MIT, I was quite taken aback. The fact that everyone had a variety of talents and honed their skills to the maximum potential inspired me to join MTTN as a writer. When I wrote my first article, I had my senior editors tell me that I did a terrible job. They had to heavily edit everything before it went up on the page. However, that one instance motivated me to better myself every day and eventually, I ended up writing around fifty to sixty articles for MTTN. So I guess you could say that MTTN kickstarted my passion for writing. Additionally, during my third year, I did some freelance writing for BookMyShow as well. The challenges that they gave me were, well, challenging (chuckles), but I was able to overcome them. This bolstered my confidence in my ability to write, and thoughts just freely flowed from my mind onto paper after that.
MTTN: What was the inspiration behind the novel and what is its basic outline?
Anubhav: During my former years, I visited my grandmother’s village frequently where life was completely different. Being a city boy, I had very contradictory views on life when compared to my friend (who had been brought up in that village). Our constant bickering and debating led to the formation of a very amicable friendship. This extremely fond memory of mine furthered into a plot for a novel and I went to a local village along with my co-author to do some research so that we could get started on the novel. One Last Time is a story about three people, all from different walks of life who are forced to interact with each other. Whether this leads to a fruitful interaction or is just detrimental to everyone is something you will know only if you read the book (chuckles).
MTTN: When did you start writing your book and how long did it take?
Anubhav: I quit my job at Fracktal Analytics in November, 2016 because I had an offer from Ola. The period between quitting my job and starting a new one was when I started working on my novel along with Shreehari (co-author). Since I had been used to writing frequently, completing a chapter within a day wasn’t much of a task. After four chapters of the novel, we e-mailed the sample manuscript to an interested publisher and well, the rest is history. I declined the Ola offer and took to writing my book and marketing it with utmost fervour. Voila! Within two months, we were ready to publish our novel.
MTTN: Did you face any major problems along the way?
Anubhav: Oh yes, most definitely. The thing about writing a book is that you need to be great at descriptive writing. Up until that point I was restricted to writing reports, reviews, previews, and short articles so I didn’t really know how to write descriptively. Another hassle was the plot. I knew the entire storyline and knew what I wanted the ending to be, but I had no idea about how to get there. There was a plot but no subplots. But eventually with time, I had it all figured out and just revised and re-revised the story.
MTTN: Although you make it sound fairly easy to write a book, we all know that there are times you get stuck and feel like giving up. Do you have any advice on how to overcome writer’s block?
Anubhav: I think the best thing you could do to avoid that would be to write constantly. If you write around two to three hundred words every day, I don’t think writing two to three thousand a day would be hard at all. If you face contradictions within yourself—when it comes to the plot, always ask yourself what an audience would prefer to read. In fact, when I finally managed to get a rough draft done, a friend of mine asked me to change the ending because there was something unsettling about it—I knew that when I was writing it, though. So to change the ending to cater to the public need was stressful because I was deviating from my initial idea. I didn’t know how to feel about that. In fact, I have two endings right now—the actual one and one that I might publish soon on my blog. So let’s see what reactions the alternate ending garners.
MTTN: So what now? What are your plans for the future?
Anubhav: I’ve just been accepted into the Indian School of Business where I’ll be pursuing my MBA. As a matter of fact, that’s how I met Shreehari—he’s a student of ISB. However, an MBA wouldn’t be the end of my writing career. I hope to write a second book soon and return to Manipal to endorse that as well.
The entire essence of the talk could only be summed up by one word: perseverance. Anubhav’s perseverance and hard working nature helped him overcome the various obstacles he faced and allowed him to convert what was once merely a dream to stark reality. MTTN wishes him the very best for all his future endeavours.