This week, I have the honor of introducing Sonam Chamaria, a phenomenal author, life coach, and motivational speaker.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing when I was in school – I would write a poem here, a story there. But I had never thought of becoming a writer. That idea first came to me sometime in 2014 I believe, when I realized I had a lot of things I wanted to share with other people – inspirational tips, spiritual insights, happiness hacks. And I started my blog with that intention in February 2016.
Tell me a little about your writing journey, thus far.
As I mentioned in the previous answer, I started my blog SoulSpeak with Sonam in 2016. The response was overwhelming and as I got busy with other pursuits, my idea for a book was shelved for the time being. In June 2019, I lost my mother while I was traveling in Europe. It was a wake-up call for me. I could not believe that my mother would never live to see me launch my book. As I came to realize how short and unpredictable life can be,I decided to go after my dreams without wasting any more precious time. And so, with a renewed perspective on life, I rewrote my book ‘From Stressed to Sorted’ and self-published it as an ebook in December 2019.Needless to say, my book is dedicated to my mother, who has been my biggest inspiration in life. The response has been exemplary so far and I am currently looking for paperback publishers for my book.
Do you write under a pseudonym? If so explain why.
No – I see no reason for not using my real name 😊
What genre do you write and why?
My forte is non-fiction with a focus on self-help or inspirational. But I have also explored fiction. In fact, each chapter in my ebook ‘From Stressed to Sorted’ starts with a flash fiction story, which lets the reader relate to the situation at hand. I have also had some of my short storied published on various websites. I have penned a couple of poems over the years. Both non-fiction and fiction come easily to me. But I prefer non-fiction because inspiring people to lead happier lives is something that brings me maximum joy and contentment.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on quite a few collaborations with various platforms. I have quite a few live Instagram sessions, video interviews and featured posts lined up. I am trying to make more videos for my YouTube channel (do check it out!), while juggling a lot of Tarot appointments. I have sent in some of my work for publishing as part of anthologies, which should be out in a couple of months, and am a part of an online LitFest by Ne8x. I am planning a brand new art project to create my own deck of Tarot cards. And lastly, I am planning on starting with my second book.
What inspired you to write?
An overwhelming desire to help people find happiness in life, mainly. As a Tarot reader with over 14 years of experience, I have gained a lot of insight into people’s minds, how the Universe works, and the power of the subconscious mind. At some point, I wanted to share it with the rest of the world.
What are your top 5 favorite books?
Ooh, that’s a tough one! If I had to choose my all-time favourite books, I’d say – Roots (Alex Haley), Being You, Changing the World (Dr. Dain Heer), Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro), Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden), Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng), and Palace of Illusions (Chitra Banerjee Devakaruni).
What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success is subjective. Based on the reception I’ve had for my debut book, I’d say I am successful.Having strangers get in touch with me to say my book inspired them is truly heartwarming and is a personal achievement for me. The book also made it to #3 on Amazon’s Mind, Body & Spirit bestseller list got me my first award for my contribution to Literature. But there’s still a long way to go. My eventual aim in life is to become world famous – to write many more books in the SoulSpeak series and to establish myself as a motivational speaker and life coach.
How many hours a day do you write? What is your writing routine?
I don’t follow any specific routine, to be honest. I work best when I have no set of rules and prefer to write only when I feel like it. I work full-time as an investment banker, and so, sometimes, days go by without me getting the time to write anything down. On other occasions, I spend upto 4 hours writing on a Saturday. It all depends on my mood.
How do you incorporate feedback into your work?
I think it is very crucial to encourage and accept feedback of any kind. I understand that as an author, while I might be very clear about an idea, it is not always easy to articulate it clearly to a reader. This I believe is one of the drawbacks of writing non-fiction.And so, it becomes all the more critical to know how a reader feels about something I wrote and most importantly, if the original idea got conveyed in its entirety. I try to incorporate constructive feedback into my writing, which I believe is a never-ending learning process.
What advice would you like to give to aspiring authors?
The biggest piece of advice I have for aspiring authors is to read, read and then read some more. Readinghelps you in ways I can’t explain. Had it not been for all the reading I’ve done since I was a kid, I would neverhave been able to express my thoughts in words. My second advice to them is to keep writing. Consistency is the key here. Don’t get disappointed If you don’t get a lot of followers on your blog at first. Write because you want to, write because you like to. If you keep at it, you will become better over time. And sooner or later, people will start taking notice of your work. Third, it’s much easier to pen down your book than to market it and to get people to buy it. And hence, it is important to understand that writing is only one part of an author’s journey.
Tell us a bit about your book.
‘From Stressed to Sorted’ is a self-help book, but without the ‘gyan’. It has especially been designed for millennials and people who wish to simplify their lives but simply have no time. The book is a collection of 11 happiness hacks that take in less than 5 minutes and equip you to deal with everyday stressful situations. Each chapter is divided into three – a fiction bit to help you relate to the situation, a non-fiction bit, and practical exercises to try. As a bonus, each chapter comes with a handmade doodle, made by me.
If you could pick a copy of my book, I would be very obliged. 100% of my sales proceeds during the lockdown period will be donated to charity.
Book: From Stressed to Sorted
Website: SoulSpeak with Sonam
FB book page: https://www.facebook.com/StressedtoSorted/
Tarot page: https://www.facebook.com/soulspeaktarot/
Doodle art: https://www.instagram.com/soulartwithsonam