“If I Had Lost Faith In Myself, I Wouldn't Be What I Am Today.”
Sanjana Singh, a 22-year-old writer from Ajmer is slowly changing the world with her words.
A Content Lead with Terribly Tiny Tales, Sanjana is the woman behind numerous poems, short stories and open letters that have gone viral on the internet.
Hard as it is to believe, she has no formal education or training in content at all. In fact, she left a cushy engineering job behind and chose to embrace the struggles of being a professional writer and even leave her hometown behind to move to a new city, simply because she wanted to pursue her passion and follow her heart.
She shares with us her story.
“Back in school, English was my favourite subject. My answers and essays were read out aloud in the class. I also used to write scripts for hosting school functions. Though, at that time I hadn’t identified this interest as something significant. I just used to enjoy reading and writing.”
I was clueless about my strengths and inclinations. Also, in a small town like mine, I wasn't really exposed to my career options. Almost everyone was choosing engineering. I mistook my academic intelligence to be my interest. I wasn't forced into the stream, just that I didn't know what else to do.” And so, Sanjana ended up pursuing a B.Tech in Electronics & Communication from a Government Women's Engineering College in her hometown, Ajmer.
Despite being in an engineering college, subconsciously she still kept chasing what she really wanted. “I started creative writing only once I was in college. It became an outlet. And, after a point it hit me that I enjoy this. I used to bunk classes to sneak in the library and most of my class notebooks were filled with poems and letters. I used to find opportunities during annual fests, where I used to co-ordinate and participate in the literary events. There wasn't a literary club in my college. I initiated it and it led to the publication of the first ever college magazine.” Sanjana smiles.
Soon, she discovered Terribly Tiny Tales on her social media and started to follow the platform religiously. “I never even knew what microfiction really was. I followed it for a year, then began submitting my tales to their community portal. Relentless, I used to submit at least two tales every day. Finally, one day, I got a call that one of my tales was getting published. There was no stopping after that.”
She continued to write even when she was pursuing an internship. Though she officially hadn’t made the switch to being a writer yet, this was a turning point in her life. “That period was a very important one. It was during those 2 months that I discovered my loyalties. And they weren't towards Engineering. That is when it occurred to me that I'm in a place where I don't belong and I had no idea how to get out of it.”
Sanjana found herself at crossroads. On one hand, she was elated that she'd finally discovered her passion and considered the fact that she could still pursue what she really wanted to but on the other hand, it was a scary decision to make. She was already in the 3rd year of engineering - one year from getting a job offer and she was wondering whether she wanted it, in the first place.
Before giving her parents the shock of their lives, it was important to convince herself for that step. She used to lose sleep, debating in her head about what she wanted to do. “Once I made up my mind, I told my parents that I'm not sitting for the final placements. At first, they laughed and thought I was joking, but then when they realised that I was serious about this, they were not really happy.” she remembers, “I don't really blame them completely. After spending a fortune for 4 years to get me an Engineering degree, the last thing they were hoping is for me to tell them that I want to become a writer. It took me almost a year to convince them. It was exhausting. I almost gave up mid-way. But then they saw my conviction and they came around.”
They say even the universe falls in love with a stubborn heart. And soon enough, an offer letter from Terribly Tiny Tales to join them in their Mumbai office as a full-time writer turned up alongside her pre-placement offer from the place where she was interning. But for Sanjana, the choice had already been made and she knew she wasn’t going to turn back now.
She now lives in Mumbai and leads the New Content Development vertical and is doing the exact thing that people said she couldn’t – using her words and her talent to support herself.
When asked who her biggest support system has been through this journey, she laughs. “I am going to be really selfish about this and say my own name. There was a time when people actually used to mock me. My relatives were calling my mother, warning her about the stupidity her daughter was doing. No doubt my parents supported me most of the times, but I know for a fact that if I had lost faith over myself, I wouldn't be what I am now.”
“Follow your passion, isn't just a textbook quote. It comes with a lot of patience, dedication, and willpower. There is no fixed time to find your calling. You could be 20 or 40. But whenever you do, make sure you chase it with all your heart.” She leaves us with some serious food for thought!