Freelance writer Nidhi Pathak: “Improve writing by writing a lot.”

Though she has been writing for as long as she can remember, Nidhi Pathak realized that writing could be a profession only after her MBA. Thrilled by the idea that her life-long love for writing could be a respectable career, she began working hard into exploring writing further.

Gradually, she not only established herself as a good writer who delivered results but she also found her niche – writing about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) social development, parenting, and wellness. And she confesses she ‘loves every bit of it!’.

Mayank Batavia of Almostism spoke to freelance writer Nidhi Pathak a few days back.

Here are the excerpts (You can also check out her video interview here):

Q: Before we begin, we would like to know about Nidhi Pathak outside of writing.

Sure! To begin with, I belong to a small town called Dehradun in Uttarakhand. I completed my schooling and college education from there. Then I began my professional journey, and worked for over a decade as communications professional. I particularly worked in the field of social development and CSR. Besides, I love cooking and I have a huge passion for yoga. I also want to travel solo as much as possible.

Q: How did you get into the world of writing?

I was an introvert child and I always found comfort in writing. Expressing myself through words was the easiest. Also, I used to read a lot. Though I was exposed to the literary world quite late in life but whenever I got a chance, I loved spending my time reading magazines, books or even comics. Sadly, due to our education system and also our limited understanding at that time, I never thought that writing could also be a career option. It was only after I completed MBA and had my first job, I realized that my world was different.

That’s when I started thinking about changing my professional domain. That was also the time when I felt inclined to work in the social development field but I had no supporting qualification. Hence when I began my job hunt with NGOs and related organizations, they were not very keen to recruit me for program implementation. Instead I was offered a job to handle their communication and documentation work. I was pretty happy about it because most of that work involved writing. For over ten years I worked as a communications professional with various NGOs and corporates.

In 2019, I decided to take my writing to the next level and spend more time honing my skill. Since then I am working independently as a full-time freelance writer and content strategist.

Q: If a client approaches you with a project where you have limited understanding on the subject, how do you begin?

Firstly, I have defined my niche very well. Given my professional and personal experience as well as my qualifications I mostly write on subjects related to Social Development, CSR, Parenting and Wellbeing. I have studied nutrition and I am also a certified teacher – hence I also aim to write on related topics.

However, if a client approaches me with a domain which is new or where I have limited knowledge, I follow a very well-defined process. I begin with a thorough research about the business. I ask a lot of questions about the business and its stakeholders.

Also, it’s very important to understand the organization’s vision and values which will play a critical role in deciding the tone and style of writing. I read and gather relevant data that helps immensely in setting the foundation.Then I prepare an outline, get approval from the client and start weaving the story.

Q: Since you have been writing for clients in the development sector, you would have got a lot of opportunities for storytelling.Tell us more about it.

Storytelling is an inherent part of almost all forms of writing. Most clients agree to the style and if it’s in the social development sector then I insist on doing a field visit. Mostly these organizations are working with people in rural, remote areas, and beneficiaries are from underprivileged background. I try to hear the experience directly from the beneficiaries. If face to face conversation is not possible, then I aim for a telephonic call. I also speak to staff members who are directly working with the beneficiaries so that I get information as raw and real as possible.

Even if the impact is small, how you articulate it into words is important. Once you get the essence of the work right, a good story is inevitable. Understand clients’ pain points. Find out what were the challenges people were facing and how the business aimed to change the situation, what were the steps taken and then the final outcome. Also, don’t leave the story at that. Tell the reader about the way forward. Tell your readers how the business is persistently working to realize its vision and fulfil people’s dreams.

Q: Any particular compliment you have received from your clients which is close to your heart?

The best one I received so far came from the Founding Director of an organization. Here it is…

“You wrote so well that I couldn’t stop reading.”

That was something special and gave me a lot of confidence.

Q: Do you also have blog? Where else do you write?

I blog on my website www.nidhipathak.com

I also write on Medium, Women’s Web and Momspresso. I also write fiction, which is of course not related to my professional gigs. Some of my stories and poems could be read on Story Mirror.

Q: How do aim to constantly improve and grow as a writer?

The first step is to write a lot. Forget all your fears and doubts. I get better as I write.

Also, I try keep myself encouraged, despite all the failures and setbacks. Writing is a lonely journey, so you have to find ways to motivate yourself. Keep a journal, talk to your close friends and family members who understand your challenges.

To upgrade my skills, I read a lot. I also listen to podcasts on freelance writing, online and digital marketing, etc. I also enroll for free online courses on platforms like Hubspot, Coursera, etc.

Q: Tell about your favourite writers and books?

Two books which had a deep impact on me. These are Think and Grow Richby Napoleon Hill and Ikigaiby Hector Garcia and Albert Liebermann. I also read Premchand, Rumi, Stephen King, Amish and many others.

Some Fun Questions

Q: Burger or Parathas

Parathas, without a doubt.

Q: Are you a morning person or a late-night person?

Morning!

Q: Books in hard copy or Kindle?

Physical copies as much as possible.

Q: Describe yourself in five words

A simple girl learning to smile every day ?

Q: Your favourite quote(s)

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford

“You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down”– Charlie Chaplin

Q: That’s great! Where can people know more about work?

You can visit my website www.nidhipathak.com

Also, people can connect with me at LinkedIn and Facebook.