Why I am Writing a Mental Health Poetry Book
I’ve decided to write a mental health poetry book.
It’s something that I’ve thought about for quite some time, but it was only a week ago that I got around to sitting down for an hour and setting a goal.
The goal is to compile and self-publish a mental health poetry book on Amazon by November 30th.
Why am I doing this, writing a mental health poetry book?
Because I know that poetry is in me, and I know that other people enjoy it.
I’ve been tweeting almost every day on Twitter for over two years, and I’ve built up a following of almost 20,000. I’ve done this by almost exclusively writing about mental health and sharing well-structured thoughts about what I feel it means to live a good and healthy life. I consider each tweet a sort of poem. I believe the platform lends itself well to poetic form of communication.
I tweet as much for me as I do for others.
It began years ago when I decided to make habit out of writing online.
It was by writing on Medium.com and this very website that I learned the impact of my poetry.
I started writing online thinking that only the longest, most carefully search-engine-optimized posts would ever do well.
To my surprise, it was my poetry that my followers enjoyed more than anything. It was the poetry section of this site that garnered the most traffic from Google.
But still, why a poetry book?
The simple act of writing a poem, whatever form it takes, is a distillation of one’s wisdom. It’s an amalgamation of thoughts that have been bubbling just beneath the surface, waiting for their time to brim over and connect with the hearts and minds of whoever finds them.
I believe that words have ineffable power, and if I can have the same impact with few words that I would be able to with long prose, I think we’re all better off for it.
Poetry is also an act of vulnerability.
It’s cracking open my soul to let the light out. It’s sharing my truth to, hopefully, have the chance for someone else to see their truth in what I write.
We all approach the world in our own ways, but words have a special power to sync up our bodies.
Words written in just the right way can release a sudden tide of tears, or they can ignite burning passion that someone else never knew they had.
Words are symbolic, and they are one of the main ways that we communicate. When we cannot see one another—for instance, if we are forced to connect through computer screens—words can bridge the divide. Whether the reader chooses to see the bridge, the divide, or both, is up to them.
To write a book is to accomplish something I’ve long thought of and felt that I may never be able to do
To do this is to prove to myself that I can.
It’s also to take the leap to the next level as a creator. I overcame my fear to write online, but I still have a hard time believing that what I create has monetary value.
People have told me that, when it comes to poetry, I have a gift.
But am I allowed to believe that about myself, or shall I forever be resigned to feel like an impostor?
To say, “I will create this, and I am asking you to pay me for it” is a great mental leap for me.
But still, I know that it’s possible to change a life with words. I’ve done it for myself, and I’ve helped others do the same, both in the professional and personal sense.
How could the act of forging vulnerable words into strong stories of courage and triumph be any different?
I love seeing how others connect with what I write. There are few other activities that come close to bringing that sort of joy into my life.
And so, finally, the process has begun. I
have hundreds of poems that I have written over the years, and now it is time to craft them into a cohesive whole that is greater than its composite parts.
Add to that new poems to surprise and delight my most engaged readers, and, if nothing else, I’ve pushed back against my own fear.
I know that the things I must do are the things that scare me. That’s the fastest path I’ve found to becoming a more complete person.
I hope my words inspire others to do the same.