A Masterclass writing workshop by Sandeep Das, PGP 2009

A Masterclass Writing Workshop by Mr. Sandeep Das was held on the 6th of January, 2019 at the campus. The workshop, covering the nuances of taking up writing as a career, was a part of ‘LitFest 2.0’, the flagship event of LitSoc, the Literature Club of IIM Bangalore.

A bestselling author and also a regular columnist for leading national magazines, Sandeep talked about his 10-year long journey of scaling great heights in the literary field. A PGP’09 alumnus & currently an Associate Director with PwC, he also spoke about how his professional career led him to start his first book, ‘Yours Sarcastically’. The workshop was divided into three facets; the first one covered his journey as a bestselling author, the second talked about the critical ingredients of any captivating write-up, and the last one was an activity to help the participants get a hands-on experience.

In the beginning, Sandeep spoke about his hurdles of making it work as an author; right from finding time to write, to finding a publisher and finally marketing the book. He shared how his mantra of diligently following a strict regimen of writing about a thousand words per week helped him complete his first draft. From writing while traveling to while waiting at airports, he explained how churning out time from the usual routine is both important and helpful. “You always have MS Word on your computer. So, find a place and start writing whenever you find time”, is what he advised everyone on a lighter note.

During the workshop, he also answered the pertinent question of every aspiring author – whether to leave one’s day job to pursue writing as a full-time career. Sandeep discouraged the idea of leaving one’s profession and encouraged aspirants to write in whatever free time they find. One of the reasons behind this was the unpredictable time one could take to get the first break as an author. He also spoke about the three main acts in a book; introduction of conflict, the build-up of the conflict, and finally, the resolution of said conflict. He emphasised on the second act, which he believes plays a decisive role in keeping the readers’ attention.

To master the art of enthralling writing and to eventually make it big in the literary circles, Sandeep advised on how helpful it was to test the waters before taking the plunge. From taking feedback from one’s inner circle to putting pieces online on a blog, he talked about various ways of testing the written material to have an idea of where one is headed. He encouraged participants to start by writing newspaper columns. Writing columns for a newspaper would help them stay relevant and connected to a larger crowd as publishing a book might take a longer period than expected.

Later, Sandeep also gave a framework as a go-to reference for any aspiring author. The framework illustrates the importance of identifying the audience and developing the characters to suit the target audience before going deep into building the story. The framework also underlines the importance of working on the flow of the story and encourages a minimalistic design with a fast pace. The final leg of the workshop saw the participants putting this framework to use. The individual pieces were later peer-reviewed and mentored by Sandeep himself.

The conclusion of the workshop saw aspiring authors who were glad to have received such intricate details about the business. It also provided them with an insider’s view to help them pace their steps at the right speed to achieve what almost everyone desired – publishing one’s book.