People imagine me to be gainfully and happily occupied, editing and re-writing submissions most of the time. But I struggle with a lot of self doubt. To be the best, I have to be unchanging in what I am doing.
The funniest thing about being an Editor and a Writer is that my job profile is expected to be made of supernatural phenomena. I ain’t Shaktiwoman (the fake feminist in me doesn’t accept Shakti and Man together) and managing a magazine is not another hobby but serious work.
Telling the world (yes, my magazine is globally known and I am proud of it) that I am an Editor is like telling them I am a distant cousin with the Kapoors or Bachchans – where people tend to think this is “a very cool thing.” In fact, I am the first famous person in my family, as I chose a profession which is always behind the camera (read it as a magazine/books). I am not ashamed of the fact that members of my extended family live a mechanical life with a routine 9-5 job, where showing off their Tupperware lunch box is their only goal. There are no brickbats, criticisms, adrenaline rush of deadlines, awards, appreciation, mood swings and responsibility of leading from the front at work. This definitely makes me stand tall and apart from them.
Exciting, dynamic, fashionable – these are some of the words that social media has used to describe my life as a magazine’s Founder and Editor-In-Chief. To be honest, the only words that come to my mind are sapping and dubious. Running a magazine is enjoyable and it opens doors to many new opportunities but living the Editor’s life has its oddities. Laughter is the best friend I took along with me on this journey which makes things easy for me to swallow when an ocean of blunders and misprints runs above my head.
I have been a full-time employee, signing attendance registers timely so that a “late fee” is not deducted from my salary. I have worked on publishing many articles per day in print, sponsored content, editing for brands, writing books, ghost-writing articles, mentoring debutants ( bloggers), journaling, conceptualising fiction, social media content and just about anything else that requires threading words as one.
My present life is largely not casted on the standard 9am-5pm schedule. I don’t have a Boss to whom I have to say “Present Sir”. My alarm doesn’t go off at 6am. I don’t run through email and social media whenever I wake up. I use the day (starts after a few hours post breakfast and coffee) to respond to emails, read submissions, publish what I’ve planned the night before, listen to music, get ideas, brainstorm with my team, and edit pieces. Every night and sometimes early morning when I retire to sleep, I always thank God for increasing my patience levels; and I thank Kaldi and his goats, Mayans and Aztecs for their discoveries which keeps my brain in good working condition.
As an Editor, I love the fact that I am involved in every phase and aspect of my magazine/book’s life (oh yes, I am also the Programme Head of an International publishing house where I approve manuscripts) from the smallest part of the notion to the launch, approving marketing ideas and keeping a track of sales! The least good thing about my job is that I rarely read for pleasure anymore. When I edit books and articles all the time, it’s difficult to turn that side of myself off and just enjoy it. The editor in me is always awake.
My days are never the same. On hectic days, I have back-to-back meetings with potential writers/established authors and my team and you can see me going crazy editing manuscripts, rejecting articles or making endless phone calls to coordinate events, prizes and hampers. Days like this I even forget to drink my freshly brewed cup of coffee. On calmer days, I get to enjoy my lunch while watching Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah with my mother.
“How do you write so much?” I am asked this question every time I meet someone new. I’ve written 15 books, reviewed 400+ books, 100+ articles for various publications and websites. If I had to guess, that’s somewhere in the range of a couple of millions of words and more. I love writing and I feel like I’ve been manufactured by the Almighty only for this. I am committed to pursuing this profession for it brings out the thoughts festering inside me.
I simply laugh away people’s ignorance when they tell me being an editor means sitting at an expensive coffee shop (read it as Starbucks), typing away the soundless keys of my trendy MacBook while swaying to jazz and breathing in a latte with New York cheesecake or Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s customised menu. It’s these kinds of fake-chic images from movies that make people fancy professionals from the writing industry. People think we are blessed with a lot of free time on our hands or that the craft of editing is all effortless labour just like downloading a picture from Google images.
I whoop piercingly so that the world listens to me – I am a pen bearer, the font fanatic, and late-night warrior. My life isn’t romantic—there is extra large baggage of annoyance, tedium and absolute horror. Creative careers are fantastic, but they don’t fairly pan out as smoothly as everyone imagines.
I have won awards in categories where stalwarts from the industry were nominated against me. Winning them was no less than an Academy Award for best screenplay or story and it has contributed to my life in a positive way. I am constantly second guessing the reaction of the audience to my next published work. I am also constantly learning about the business and art side of writing, editing and publishing, exploring the craft and experiencing the joy of it together. Above all the things on this earth, I love well written words, because for an Editor, there is nothing more orgasmic than reading a piece that is error free.
Romila started writing at the age of 13 when most people her age were worrying about not having an affair or a crush. She is a hardcore romantic, who finds love in everything she does. She is currently working on the manuscript of her 16th book. She owns, edits and publishes a magazine on literature and art besides being the Program Head of an international publishing house. Her life is all about words. When she is not writing professionally, you can find her writing for her Instagram feed. She is not religious, but has created her own version of God. She stands up for what she believes in. She is unabashedly bold about her views on relationships, sex, homosexuality, menstruation and parenting. She is as real as the sun and the moon are. She is a blahcksheep with 8 piercings, 7 tattoos and a pair of big brown eyes that notices everything around her.