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If it is not obvious, for clarity’s sake it’s dad who is writing this newsletter. 

I want to share with you my biggest weakness as a writer and how I compensate.

Before I do that, let me also clarify part of the title (Part 1 of 10). Ten is a somewhat arbitrary number. I might come up with more than 10 or not quite 10 topics to share. I thought it might be interesting to give an intimate look at the writing struggles, our process, how we overcome them or, as the case may be, do not overcome them … yet.

This is #1 in the new series in this New Year.

My Early Christmas Present

I bought myself a present this month. I didn’t buy it for Christmas, but I guess I could use that as an excuse.

I enrolled in the online course – Masterclass. I had seen advertisements for it for sometime and was eventually persuaded. I thought it better to learn something than to mindlessly watch reruns of Gilmore Girls or the Americans.

I walk a lot – about 90 minutes each day. I listen to the Masterclass instructors while I walk.

I have listened to Ron Howard, Natalie Portman, Ken Burns, Margaret Atwood, Steve Martin, Chris Hadfield to name a few. I am currently listening to Werner Herzog.

I am learning from writers and directors and actors (characters) hoping I can grab a nugget or two that can help make our books better. I have not been disappointed by the learning. Whether our writing improves remains to be seen. If our writing doesn’t improve, it’s my (dad’s) fault.

One thing has become crystal clear. 

My Biggest Weakness

I don’t read enough.

To be a good writer, I must read more. A LOT more. 

To be good at anything, you, I must be willing to do it a lot. A lot a lot.

I came to the reading party late. I was a terribly slow reader when I was a kid. Life took over. And my reading ability went downhill from there. It wasn’t till relatively recently (in my 50s) that I became a more active reader. Even now, I don’t read nearly enough. And I don’t read in the genre we write. 

So, how do I compensate for this glaring shortcoming?

Compensating for a Shortcoming

The answer is simple – my co-author. Mia is a voracious reader. Some kids have to be told to read more. We have to tell her to stop reading sometimes. She has a few friends who also read our books as we write them. Some of you reading this email have already signed on to become early readers and I suspect more will step up. Your feedback is invaluable.

I depend on readers to make the stories work.

As for my part, I work to come up with good:

  • stories
  • themes
  • locations
  • characters.

Two Simple Criteria 

Firstly – I want our books to be true-to-life. No magic. No time warps. No shapeshifting. No CGI for books. When you read our books, you should be able to think, “Yeah. I can see that happening.” 

Secondly – I want to tell stories that I would like to read. Mia, her friends and you keep me honest. 

You are welcome to apply to become an early reader, too.

Coming Up Next

Part 2 of 10 – I want to address how I can get knocked off track in my writing schedule and what I do to get back on track..

Final thoughts:

We deeply appreciate having you part of the GUA world.

Thank you for following along as we grow our series and our newsletter.

We hope you are staying safe and healthy.

Hit reply and tell us what you are thankful for.


Parashu Shalgar

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