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Ink and Insight: A fiction writer and a freelancer at The Blogsmith

Ink and Insight: A fiction writer and a freelancer at The Blogsmith

Ms. Salini Vineeth is a passionate fiction and freelance writer and is currently working as a freelancer at The Blogsmith. She completed her Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical and Electronics from BITS Pilani (Goa, ‘08). She was part of the first batch at the Goa campus. She's authored five books, including "Lost Edges" and "Magic Square," her work has been featured in esteemed publications such as The Bangalore Review, Borderless Journal, and Kitaab International.

Could you share insights into the pivotal factors and experiences that led you to transition from an engineering background to a career as a fictional and freelance writer?

Rumi says, ‘What you seek is seeking you.’ I started writing at a very young age of eight or nine. Then, I moved to engineering, and there was a hiatus. However, technology helped me reconnect with writing. I started a Malayalam blog for short stories and a travel website called Pick, Pack, Go. I wrote prolifically during the 2014-2016 period. Later, I published my first book, a travel guide to Hampi, which was well received. It gave me the courage to publish fiction books like Magic Square, Lost Edges, and Everyday People.

How has your engineering education influenced your writing journey, and what advice would you offer to individuals contemplating a similar shift in their professional pursuits?

Engineering education gave me the discipline that is much needed for a writer. Being tech-savvy is a great boon for a writer; it helps you use new technologies to research, write, and market your books. My engineering background has helped me secure freelance content writing gigs. However, quitting my engineering job and becoming a writer was a hard decision. Shifting careers isn’t easy. Especially in creative fields, there is a lot of uncertainty, fierce competition, self-doubt, and rejection. One needs to be pragmatic about the career change rather than romanticizing it. Quit your job only if you know how and what you will pursue.

Can you share how the friendships or connections you formed during your time at university have impacted your life and career?

I count my days at BITS as a blessing since I found life-long friendships and love on campus. My husband, Vineeth, was my classmate at BITS Goa. Most of my close friends are BITSians. Even though we live in different countries, we have got each other’s back. My friends support and cheer for my writing career. It’s the BITSian startup founders who gave me my first freelance assignment.

What extracurricular activities did you participate in while attending BITS, and how did those help you transition from engineering to writing?

Since we were the first batch at BITS Goa, there weren’t too many clubs focused on writing. We, Keralites, used to conduct Onam celebrations every year, and I used to write the emcee’s script. Then, there was the technical writing course and a public speaking course I enjoyed. The BITS library, with an exhaustive collection of fiction books, was also a boon.

Were there moments when you questioned your decision, and how did you stay motivated?

Yes, plenty. I have faced a lot of rejections and self-doubt. It’s sometimes painful since I have quit a lucrative job to pursue a low-paying, highly uncertain career as a writer. But my love for writing is unflinching, and I have never been happier in my life. I am fortunate to have a loving family, friends, and readers who support and encourage me.

Can you share some of your favorite projects or pieces you’ve worked on since becoming a freelance writer?

When you love what you do, every project is a favorite project. I have immensely enjoyed writing all my books and short stories. Lost Edges is my debut novel, featuring BITS Goa as the primary location. It’s my tribute to the great institution that shaped me into who I am today. Once, I wrote eight poems for Apollo Cancer Center for the breast cancer awareness initiative; it’s a project I will cherish forever.

What is the future of being a freelance writer in India? How do you envision this industry evolving?

Currently, there is a lot of demand for freelance writers. I work with a U.S.-based agency, the Blogsmith, and it’s a great place to work. However, artificial intelligence is posing challenges not just for writers but also for many sectors of the creative field. One needs to follow the changing trends and upskill themselves to stay relevant.