Writer, book lover, civil engineer, YouTuber, aspiring talk show host — not always all of them. Not always in order.
I’m Ana. I’m 28 years old and was born in a small town called Jorhat in Assam — a hilly Indian state nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. English is my fourth language, but somehow the love for the language is rooted deep in my heart.
When I was young, my friends had dreams of becoming astronauts, movie stars, or pilots. I always wanted to be a writer.
There wasn’t even a single doubt in my head. It was my one true love.
I wrote my first poem when I was only four-years-old. When I was ten, my poems and stories won national-level competitions in children’s magazines. At fifteen, my essay won the first prize in a competition organized by India’s central bank responsible for regulating the country’s currency. My parents always encouraged my writing habit and supported me further by taking me on regular trips to local bookstores.
I started writing online in 2014 on a website called Quora. As a college student, I was terrified of the platform because so many world-class experts wrote frequently on it. But, I stuck on, and in 2016, I became one of the Top Writers. That year, only 24 people from India made it to the list of Top Writers. I was the youngest.
The Move Towards Self-Publishing
I became a Quora Top Writer again in 2018. Around that time, I met a friend in college who asked me, “If you only write online, should you call yourself a writer or a blogger?”
A simple question — but one that changed my perspective. After that, I was focused on publishing my first book, For the next few months, I spent every waking minute I had putting together a collection of poems. Finally, in April 2018, I self-published my first book. Stolen Reflections is a poetic journey through the eyes of a modern young woman. Naturally, I dedicated my first book to the person who had inspired me to actually dream of being a published author.
I always loved to write, but I never thought it’s possible to pursue a career in my passion. That’s why, when the opportunity presented itself, I started my undergraduate studies in civil engineering at NIT Silchar — one of India’s best colleges. By 2018, I had completed my master’s degree in geotechnical engineering from IIT Guwahati and started my job as an Assistant Professor at NIT Silchar.
While studying for my Master’s at IIT Guwahati, my Facebook profile was hacked. For two weeks, a stranger had access to every bit of personal information I’d shared with my contacts through messages. It was terrifying, but thankfully, I got my account back with the help of a friend who works for Facebook.
This incident opened my eyes to the importance of controlling what information one shares online. It also made me realize that many people aren’t aware of the kind of impact leaked personal images can have on a woman’s life. This led me to write my second book — a cybercrime thriller called What Did Tashi Do?
By then, the person who’d first inspired me to dream of a book had become a more important part of my life. Like my first, this book too is dedicated to them.
What did Tashi do? is the book that changed my life. After its release in February 2019, it got several wonderful reviews online. These helped me sell 10,000+ copies of the book. A publisher liked the concept so much that they offered me a traditional publishing deal to print the paperbacks and distribute them all over the world.
One thing led to another, and suddenly, I was flooded by invitations to author talks, book-reading sessions, and workshops for students about how to self-publish your book.
My Medium Journey
Much of 2019 was spent getting used to my job and promoting my book in various talk sessions all over the country. Then, the pandemic struck, and suddenly, I had a lot of time on my hands I didn’t know what to do with.
That was the time I turned to Medium. In May 2020, one of my articles made $100. This opened my eyes to the potential of Medium not just to make money for writing, but also to build a community. I started writing every day and by September 2020, I got my first $1000+ from the platform.
When I started the year, I only made about INR 3000 ($35 US) from my writing. By December, my earnings were up to $3200+ in a single month — all thanks to the wonderful opportunities Medium has given me.
As a non-native speaker, it’s a huge deal to be making such life-changing amounts on a platform with a largely English-speaking audience. I’d started my journey from scratch and come to a place where people actually asked me for advice on how to “make it big” on Medium.
That’s why, in December 2020, I launched my course to help new writers make their first $100 on the platform. It’s called Project Medium and consists of recorded video footage, group calls, checklists and cheat-sheets, one-on-one coaching, and access to a private Mastermind group for editing support. The first batch of my students have done amazing work so far and I’m so excited to see where this takes me in the following months.
20 Random Fun Facts About Me
- I’ve been living away from my parents since I was 14. First, it was because of boarding school, then college, and now, my job.
- I have a blue belt in taekwondo.
- I once applied orange peel to my face thinking it would clear my skin. But all it did was leave angry purple spots behind that I had to live with for a week.
- I love reading and have read 800+ books in my life. I also created a book-related publication on Medium called Books Are Our Superpower that grew to 4k+ followers in 4 months.
- As a teenager, I thought “oral sex” meant talking about sex.
- I have a younger brother who writes way better than me but is currently working a full-time job that leaves him no time to write.
- If I use a lot of emojis while talking to you, chances are I like you and want to be your friend, rather than just a “connection”.
- I love eating and can never get on a diet. I’m also obsessed with adopting a healthy lifestyle, so I’ve started 16/8 intermittent fasting. It has shown amazing results so far.
- I come across as reserved at first, but once you get to know me, I talk a LOT. I’m that annoying person people turn to with a stern glance inside airplanes because they can’t shut up.
- If you ask me for a book recommendation, I’d recommend Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari if you prefer non-fiction. But if you’re a fan of fiction, it would most definitely be Wolfsong by TJ Klune.
- My other passion is photography. I love snapping pictures wherever I go, even if they don’t turn out that great.
- I love exploring new places. Before the pandemic struck, going on solo trips was my favorite way to indulge myself. So far, I’ve only traveled solo within India but definitely look forward to visiting different countries on my own.
- My top three favorite TV shows are Mr. Robot (psychological thriller), Sense8 (science fiction), One Day At A Time (sitcom).
- I can barely remember a movie I watched two weeks ago. But if you ask me about a book I read back in school, I could tell you a lot of details.
- My favorite song is Chanda ki Doli by Sonu Nigam. My other favorite songs are Take Me to Church by Hozier, Lips of an Angel by Hinder, Bad Romance by Lady Gaga, and Mathu Tumi by Papon. You can check out my “Happiness Playlist” here.
- The one food item I’d love to try but have never gotten the chance is Sushi. (Edit: I tried Kimbaap in March 202. Does that count?)
- I once gave a signed copy of my book to a guy I liked a lot. He never called me after that. I’m still wondering if it was my writing or me that scared him off.
- This was something else I had to delete because things got too personal. Here’s a different fun fact: My typing speed is insane. I can type 124 words per minute. Here’s how you can check yours.
- I used to write Harry Potter self-insert fan fiction when I was in school.
- I designed an ambigram of my name when I was sixteen (obviously, Dan Brown was my inspiration). I’m still pretty proud of that accomplishment.
Find Me Elsewhere
I’m not just a writer. I love to create content in various forms.
On YouTube, I post weekly videos about self-improvement. I also host live streams where I invite interesting people to chat with and deliver some value. So far, I’ve interviewed a professional magician, a personal finance expert, a life coach, and several top writers on Medium.
On Instagram, I post short videos about various topics related to self-improvement. I also share glimpses of my life and reviews of the books I’m currently reading.
Twitter is like my online journal. I don’t control the quality of what I post. Most of my Tweets are stream-of-consciousness pieces. Going by the stats, the audience loves it.
LinkedIn is where I’m all posh and professional. I post content related to writing and self-publishing. I’ve designed my profile based on where I want to be, not where I currently am.
My weekly newsletter on Substack is called Be Your Best Friend with Anangsha. Every Sunday, I send an email with some message to make you smile and feel more motivated. I also share updates on the projects I’m currently working on. It’s informative, non-spammy, fun, and totally free.
My Top 10 Highest-Performing Articles on Medium
That’s all about me. Thank you so much for reading. If you’d like to get in touch, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.