Poet Rita Rana is inspired by the initial sentences from the invitation page of the book Sparks of Phoenix written by Najwa Zebain. In fact, Rita’s debut book entitled ‘Need of a Change’ happened as a result of her acting upon those very sentences. She quotes Ms Zebain: ‘If this book has moved you, then move, lift up your pen and start writing your own story. Do not keep it inside of you, if it needs to leave you.’
Be that as it may, the twenty-one-year-old goes on to state, speaking to the Literary Express in an exclusive interaction, that she indited her first poem at the age of eleven. ‘But I don’t really remember what the poem was about,’ she guffaws, adding that she tends to overthink and that composing poems has now become a means to escape. Letting us know that her love for poetry grew manifold after she had read Daffodils by William Wordsworth, Rita goes on to say that she loves the way beauty of nature and loneliness is expressed in the poem. ‘And I’m only elated to be able to compose poems,’ she adds with a beautiful smile.
While Rita, who is also pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Arts, decided to share her thoughts, poems and emotions after being inspired by the sentences from Sparks of Phoenix, she came up with Need of a Change in order to motivate others. ‘If my words end up motivating even one person, I will be filled with contentment,’ she says, adding, ‘I have been noticing since the onset of the pandemic that people do not accept change easily and tend to lose hope soon; that is exactly why I focused on the theme Importance of Change,’ she shares with us.
On being asked if she has an author whom she derives inspiration from, Rita, who resides in the city of Ludhiana in Punjab, India, emphasises that she is inspired by several authors and that it is hard for her to choose one amongst them. ‘Nonetheless, I would like to mention Najwa Zebian. Her book Mind Platter is my favourite as it has helped me overcome my self-doubts and loneliness. I am also emotionally attached to this book, for it has motivated me in difficult times. I love her other two poetry collections as well,’ she explains.
ENGAGE WITH EXPRESS: Fancy reading Need of a Change? Well, you can buy yourself a copy right off the bat by clicking on the book’s cover image right below.
‘Tough’ at Juggling
Being a student, Rita concedes she gets less time to focus on writing. ‘And that is perhaps why I do not follow a schedule; I write whenever an idea strikes my mind,’ she lets us know with a laugh.
Was becoming an author, however, a conscious decision she made? ‘No,’ she declares with all earnestness. ‘It was not at all conscious. As I have already mentioned, I was inspired to publish my work after reading Sparks of Phoenix, and I wanted to spread some positivity through my words during the lockdown,’ she iterates.
Admitting that she finds it tough to juggle writing and studying, she lets us know she faces writer’s block many a time because of less time and too many things to do. ‘Watching movies related to the genre I am writing, attempting daily VSS prompts, and listening to soothing music and meditation help me come out of writer’s block,’ she tells us. She adds that besides writing, she likes playing musical instruments, painting, making portraits, and doing yoga.
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Letting us know that her chief work in progress happens to be a fantasy novella, Rita shares with us that she is working on a poetry collection as well. And being a budding author, she admits she is still not very much experienced. ‘But the most important thing I have learnt is that having patience and consistency is important if we wish to become successful in our ventures.’
Giving a piece of advice to other up-and-coming authors, Rita says, ‘Have patience and be confident about your work. Negative feedback has always helped me enhance my work. Do not let negative reviews make you doubt your abilities. Even well-known authors have negative reviews on their most popular books. Just keep writing, shining, and following your heart.’
As the conversation draws to a close, we ask Rita if there is a thing or two she would want to change. Says Rita, ‘I would like to change the mindset of judgemental people. It is hard for some people to stop criticising everyone, finding faults everywhere, and being unkind to others. I feel this can be possible if better education, moral values, and good upbringing are provided to children as they are our future. I wish one day everyone will become more kind and supportive to one another.’
The writer, who is also well-versed in Hindi and Punjabi, avers that she is grateful to the fans she has as followers on Twitter. ‘I’d thought Twitter was a boring app filled with rude people, but after having discovered the writing community, I have learnt very many useful things about writing and publishing. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, rude people continue to exist, but I have now learnt how to use Twitter in a way that uplifts me,’ explains Rita, signing off with a smile.
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