Writing Is My Drug Of Choice: Bobby Pawar, CCO & Chairman, Havas Group India

You are never as good as you are going to be, so whatever you are into keep at it.

Bobby Pawar
CCO and Chairman Havas Group India
Havas Group
Paris, 法国
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Tell us a bit about yourself and your side hustle.

Everyone has one stand out quality. Mine just happens to be laziness. Apparently, I got that trait while I was still in the womb. According to my mother, I was so lethargic about coming out that she had to spend more than half a day in labour. After all these years she still brings it up, especially when she thinks I am being ungrateful. All in all, it is nothing short of a miracle that I have a side hustle that does not involve sleeping, or procrastination.

I am a storyteller. Been that way for a long time. It started with short stories that kept getting longer and longer, till one day I ended up writing a full-length novel. I am chest deep in writing another one. Call it laziness or insecurity, or whatever, I’ve never really thought about getting my stuff published. Maybe one day I will. But for now, I am happy with letting the characters that live in my head spill their story onto a computer screen. Once the tale is told, those characters slink away into the ether. And I wait for another set of characters to declare squatter’s rights to my cranium.

What inspired you to start your side hustle? How long have you been doing it?

Actually, it is not a side hustle. It’s more like a compulsion. Now that you made me think about it, I started doing it since I was a kid. I discovered fairly early on that reality sucked a bottle gourd, so I started to tell fanciful tales, usually to my friends, sometimes to teachers and family members. My parents used to fake smile indulgently and say that I had an overactive imagination.

Does your side hustle benefit the community in any way? If not, do you plan on using it to give back at some point?

Sadly, my side-hustle has no greater purpose than giving me the high of writing a story. It is an utterly selfish thing. There are authors whose works have shaped thinking, changed perspectives and sparked revolutions. I will gladly admit that the most my words will do is give people the joy of reading a good story, reasonably well told. Of course, I need to get off my well larded hip cushion and go about getting them published first. Not likely as of now. Why? Because laziness.

What motivates you to keep hustling?

I love the act of writing. That’s my drug of choice. The high is so great that it overcomes my natural inclination to do nothing.

Were there any specific skills you needed to start this project?

These are my three Ps of storytelling. Patience, persistence and persecution. The patience to develop the characters and the plot. The persistence to keep tickling the keyboard when the right words are anti-social distancing from you. And finally, the persecution of rewriting. Hacking away at what you wrote is about as fun as self-flagellation, although the scars you have from the former show only on your ego.

Has your day job helped in developing those skills?

My day job has totally made me a better writer. Every single day it allows me to interact with so many creative minds who sometimes make me see things differently from how I would on my own. I find the young ones are the most stimulating. Thanks to them I know that the wisdom gleaned from experience can be limiting, that the unthinkable is just that only because nobody has dared to think about it, and that what is wrong today can be hailed as the right thing tomorrow.

Does your side hustle benefit your day-to-day work?

I have to say it does. Anything you write affects everything you write, but only if you devote yourself to the craft. Another thing, as attention spans shrink like the smile of a debutante who has been told that she has toilet paper stuck to the heel of her Laboutins, and the world moves even more toward video brands need the power of great storytelling to engage audiences. 

What have you learned since you began your side hustle? Has it evolved it evolved the years?

The inspiration for what ends up on a page can be found brushing by you in the streets, sitting on the table next to you in a restaurant, or talking your ear off from the across the aisle of a plane. Over the years, I have become a people watcher, and a shameless eavesdropper. The drama of other people’s lives has bestowed upon me interesting traits for my characters, scenes, and lines of dialogues. I thank them for their joys and miseries.

Is there any advice you’d give to young creatives & executives on how to pursue their passion projects on the side?

You are never as good as you are going to be, so whatever you are into keep at it. Just as you do at work, seek out a mentor, or few. Study those who brilliantly do what you love to. At first, don’t be afraid to imitate them. Apply what works for them, till you figure out what works for you. Every now and then look back and appreciate how far you have come.  Always be alert to the opportunity that can turn your side-hustle into your main act.