I Had No Idea Journaling Would Lead to My First Book
How everyday writing led to self-healing and becoming an author.
The first time I remember journaling was in a very pink, very purple, glittery, pony-adjacent, girly journal with large spaces between the lines. Who knows what I wrote about? Signing my name, about my mom or dad, my annoying siblings, or just the goings-on of the day. I had no idea then that writing would become such an important part of my life, that I would feel incomplete if I went long periods without doing so, or that the simple act of journaling would help heal me.
Journaling allowed me to become a friend and voice of reason for myself. From silly doodles to middle school crushes, to high school drama, college adventures, love, heartbreak, trauma, and wisdom, my writing has guided me through it all.
Twenty-two years or so later, I have published my first book. When I began this journey, ‘You Anthem,’ wasn’t the book I planned to publish. I was working on a fiction novel based in Cuba that explores four very different lives and a tragic secret that unites them all. I was three-quarters of the way done with the book but grew tired of the constant questions, ‘When will it be done?’ or ‘Do you have anything published?’ At the time, I had no idea when it would be done, and I’d never published anything.
To quell these questions, I started writing ‘You Anthem.’ The goal was to be a quick 50–100-page eBook with tips to help manage your mental health. Just something people could buy to support my writing while I finished the larger project. Nothing big, nothing fancy. That was until a literary agent got her hands on it and continued to push me to expand it, to add in journals, to tell a broader story, and soon said, ‘The world needs to read this.’ ‘You Anthem’ evolved from a simple self-help eBook to a memoir sharing some of my darkest moments and greatest victories. It exposes the rawness of depression and anxiety with a vulnerability that, to be honest, can be terrifying.
Sometimes I wonder, am I sharing too much? Then I recall my younger self, how I felt in those times, how lonely it was. I like to think that if I’d found a book like mine, perhaps it would have made those experiences a little easier. I like to hope that maybe I wouldn’t have felt so alone. So, I let those fears subside, because if just one person finds solace in my words, then I can handle a little discomfort.
Everyone has a story that others can relate to or gain insight from. I’m a huge proponent of journaling and writing or telling your story. I encourage you to share your struggles more openly and give insights into what you’ve learned along the way. Vulnerability is a strength that unites people from all walks of life.
‘You Anthem: Stories and Reflections of Celebration’ comes out this Saturday, October 7th, 2023. Get yours today while on pre-order through BookBaby here.
With so much gratitude,