April Fools’ Day 2018.
On that day, I had taken one of the boldest decisions ever in my life – quit alcohol forever. I got back home after a three-day counselling program. The counselling program was helpful, but experience is always the best teacher. I was battling with my addictive behavior for more than a decade. I was fed up with my life and with myself.
The day I came back home, I had decided to take a break from everything-both personal and professional. I spent most of my time in reading numerous books and articles, both offline as well as online on addiction and recovery. After fetching a great amount of useful information along with 16 years long experience of being an alcohol addict, I turned towards my blog. My intention was to let my friends, especially booze buddies know about my recovery. I also thought it would help them to recover from their addiction. I began to write a blog-post by titling it as Alcohol & I.
Writing is a magical process. The moment I put pen on paper, I begin to think like I have never thought before. I also begin to see things I have never seen before. When my mind began to wander through my childhood days during which I had witnessed the terrible consequences of alcohol addiction in the lives of my father, his friends and my uncles, words began to flow endlessly from my pen. By and by the blog-post began to inflate like a balloon. But it didn’t deter me from writing my mind out day in, day out. I thought it would be one of the largest blog-posts I have ever written in my life.
Along with penning down my blog-post, within three months, I finished reading nearly 15 books including few of the best-selling classics in addiction and recovery literature. All those books enlightened me but more than anything else, I witnessed a gap in the addiction and recovery literature. Most of the books I read are written in a spiritual or religious manner. Only a few books have taken a straight forward approach towards alcoholism and its terrible consequences. No author has ever taken an atheistic or rationalistic approach towards recovery from alcoholism. After witnessing a void like this, gradually, I began to think about writing a book rather than publishing a blog-post.
A book? Why not! I was a reporter. I have written numerous articles in newspapers and magazines. I regularly update my blog too. Moreover, I was totally lured by the thought of filling a void that can only be done with a book that takes an atheistic, rational approach towards recovery from alcohol addiction.
When an atheistic, rational approach is being taken, a delusion should be razed to the ground. Alcohol is a delusion, but I needed a divine entity to kill with my bare hands. When I researched more into alcohol, and the history of this merry making drink, I finally found her! Her name is Ninkasi. She is the ancient Sumerian goddess of beer. She was considered as both the brewer of beer and the beer itself. Ninkasi was also worshiped as a goddess of alcohol, fertility, harvest, drunkenness, seduction, and war. The name, Ninkasi, translates as ‘the lady who fills the mouth.’
Yes, finally I got a worthy opponent to wage a war at! I changed the book title from Alcohol & I to Ninkasi & I. I showed the new book title to my friends and family members. Soon, it got a great acceptance among them. Some told that the title seems bit mysterious while others claimed that the title itself says the book will be a bestseller. After thinking about writing a book and entitling it, the first thing I did was creating a synopsis of the book based on the content I had written so far and my vague idea about the content I could add later.
“Brilliant! All the very best dear” These were the words from Ravichandran C after reading the synopsis. He is a bestselling author, speaker, and an award-winning proponent of science and reason in our country. I have realized from his speeches and writings that he is a person who fights against alcohol and other drugs like religion in our society. I met him with the intention of getting a foreword for my book. I felt that his words would be the apt ones those can welcome the readers of my book. After reading my synopsis carefully, he agreed to write the foreword for my book but only after reading the manuscript. His words and gestures were such a confidence booster to a writer who is striving to publish his debut book. I promised him that the manuscript of my book will be ready within three months.
When it came to my debut book writing, my calculations were quite simple. An average book contains 70,000 words and writing just 1000 words per day can take only 70 days to fulfill the word count requirement of the book. I know to touch type faster. I’m also good at using Microsoft word and other online tools. So, I thought I could easily complete the book within three months. Anyway, it was one of the biggest blunders I have ever made in my life.
If you consider a job as silly and approach it with that mindset, what will happen when it gets tougher day by day? Of course, you will get confused and at the same, you feel terrified. That was exactly what happened to me. A task I regarded as an easier one was getting tougher and more complicated day by day. Editing leads to a few more editing. Little revision leads to more confusion. At some point, I even doubted my ability to write a book and publishing it. I was totally out of my mind and sometimes, out of this world too.
When time passed by, my friends, clients and even my family members began to inquire about the progression of my book. Their constant inquiries began to put me under more pressure. During the book writing journey, the chapter titles and their order, the ideas and the content underwent a drastic change. Everything was going topsy-turvy right in front of my eyes. Every single sentence needed to be edited whenever I read it again. Editing and refining the content get caught in an infinite cycle.
When I allotted three months for the completion of the book, little did I realize the word count itself doesn’t make a book. There are lot of other important factors to consider while writing and publishing a book. Especially when you publish your book independently, you are on your own. You should take care of every little detail of your book from proof reading to interior designing to promotion of the book. Finally, after 7 months since I embarked on a mission to publish my debut book, I successfully published Ninkasi & I on 5th December 2019.