“Write to express, not impress”: Manjula Reddy on her poetry collection

Manjula Reddy on her latest book, "She Writes"

At what age did you start writing?

 As a child, I read quite a lot. So the writing came quite naturally to me. I had a few pen-pals in different countries, and corresponding with them was fun. I learned to express myself and describe aspects of our culture on limited space on a postcard, an airmail sheet, or a few sheets of paper.  My penchant for writing which began as a need to communicate, slowly turned into a passion for writing. But serious writing happened only recently.  

Name a few authors/ books that you personally admire the most (Fiction/Non-Fiction). If you’d ever get to meet these authors, what is the one question that you’d ask them?

My absolute favorite authors include Roald Dahl and Edgar Allan Poe.

One thing I would like to ask them would be, “Do you constantly think in verse? If so, does it ever get annoying?

One Superpower you wish you had?

There are so many lines that pop up in my head but disappear as soon as I rush to grab a paper and pen. I wish I could jot them all down! 

What would be your one advice to aspiring writers?

Keep at it. Stay disciplined. Stay honest to your work and abilities. Study. Improve. Remember, “Write to express, not impress.”

Do you have a writing ritual? 

I used to – every morning. It’s changed now.  Inspiration strikes anytime. 

How did “She writes” come to life? What/Who was your muse behind writing this book?

Well, I joined an international online poetry group in 2012 and participated in a lot of poetry writing competitions. I learned and mastered poetic forms and techniques of writing. Although the theme in a competition was guided by a prompt, the content and style always remained original in expression. This learning process involved passion, discipline, and keeping an open mind to constructive criticism. 

Having earned a Masters degree in English, from the Hyderabad Central University, I was already familiar with poetic and literary devices. I simply practiced and improved my skills. 

If there’s one thing that most of the self-published authors vouch for, it’s the mere fact that self- publishing teaches you all aspects of publishing? Is it true? What are your thoughts about the same?

In the changing face of media and publishing, I’ve been advised that the phrase ”self-publishing” is not to be used too much. That one’s work is published is an accomplishment in itself – self, or otherwise. Having said that, yes, one does learn a lot about the processes that go into making that first copy. It’s been quite an adventure for me! 

Would I publish again with BecomeShakespeare.comYes!! 

What was your journey of writing your first book like? How did you feel when your book was released?

I felt a great sense of accomplishment on the release of my book, She Writes – Pedantic Poesy‘. The book showcases a selection of poems written over a period of six years. I made a conscious effort to give more time to writing, and I’m happy I did that! Every poem carries a bit of my soul, my experience, my passion, and my reaction to others’ experiences. When my collection of poems grew, I knew I had to lay them out in an orderly fashion and present them to the world! And I must thank BecomeShakespeare.com for helping me achieve this! There are already more words cascading into poetry that will need to be presented once again!  

If you look back now, how has the whole experience of self-publishing been?

Writing is the easiest part. It’s self-expression that satisfies the writer. Publishing is another ball game which has been many things – challenging, exasperating, time consuming, and finally, fulfilling – a great learning experience, indeed. 

Your epitaph would read?

“Verse outlives the poet’s end.”


To grab a copy of ‘She Writes’, click here.