Behind the Scenes of Breaking into Butterflies!

Hey guys!
August was an insanely busy month for me, so I'm super excited to sit down and get some things done now that it's September! And with all the exciting craziness surrounding the fact that my debut poetry collection releases next month (!!!) I thought it was about time I gave you some background information on the collection and why I decided to pursue self-publishing.

I've always loved poetry. When I was nine, my 4th grade teacher had us all write poems that she was going to submit to a poetry press for potential publication. I was determined to get into the anthology, and I worked so very hard on a short little poem about four jellybeans that didn't want to be eaten.
My teacher, Miss Cubberly, looked me in the eyes after reading my poem and told me I was going to be a published writer some day. My poem ended up being selected for publication, and I never, ever forgot what she said to me.

As I got older, I began using writing as a form of self-therapy. It became my way to deal with my emotions. I wrote when I was sad. When I was hurt. When I was tired, or depressed, or anxious, or angry. Poetry quickly became my coping mechanism for all kinds of things, and the words that flowed from these emotions were more powerful than I ever thought they could be.

And as time went on, poetry began to become a popular trend in the writing world. Suddenly poets like Rupi Kaur and Amanda Lovelace were paving the way for a new era of poetry--poetry that talks about real issues that real people have, but don't always feel they can talk about.

And the more I looked at my own poetry, the more I realized I wanted people to be able to hear me. The more I realized I wanted others in the world to know that they were not alone.
So, I started an anonymous Instagram account and began posting my poetry. At first, it was terrifying! I had never let anyone read my poetry like that before. It was a huge step. But, it was incredibly enlightening, and soon the idea of putting a poetry book together began brewing in my mind.

I'm not exactly sure what made me fully decide to put my collection together. I think it had something to do with the realization I had one day that my poetry was very influenced by whatever season it was outside. Winter was cold and often a time for seasonal depression. Spring was a time of new beginnings and change. Summer was often filled with long nights of overthinking. And Fall, obviously, was a time of change.
I had some time off in January, so I decided to play around with piecing my existing poetry into a book layout that followed the seasons outside. And then suddenly it was February and I had a 100 page poetry book!

Simply titled Seasons, my collection was pretty short but flowed nicely through the four seasons and felt ready for publication. I found a few publishing houses I liked and got my query letter and samples all polished and ready.
But, something in the back of my head felt unsettled. Something in me didn't like the thought of traditionally publishing my poetry. Still, I hit submit and waited.

And waited. And waited.

And I heard nothing. For several months.

By that point, the idea of self-publishing (which usually seemed very daunting to me) was really appealing. I started messing around with a few cover designs and made an account with Createspace. I started doing research and tried to decide if self-publishing was actually the direction I wanted to take. I went very back and forth for a while, but after receiving rejections from the places I had traditionally queried, I realized that I actually felt relieved. Something about self-publishing felt right, and I knew that all along--I was just afraid to admit that to myself because I was afraid I wouldn't have what it takes.

But in reality, I love how much control I have with self-publishing. I love that every decision I make is my own. I love that I get to choose what to do with my words, how they are formatted, and what changes I should make. I love that I get to make this process my own, and no one else's. It's freeing.

But the real decision-maker that made me fully decide to self-publish was my book cover. As I was messing around with a few different designs, I noticed how pretty it looked when I added butterflies to it. I loved how simple and elegant they were. And just that morning, I had posted a poem to my Instagram account (which I transformed and is no longer anonymous) about butterflies. Specifically, I had used the words "break into butterflies."
I don't know what made me erase the title "Seasons" and write "Breaking into Butterflies" instead, but I did it.
And wow, did I love it. Every bit of it.
And so, Breaking into Butterflies was born!
The collection is now almost nothing like Seasons was. While a few of the original poems remain, I have added 50 more pages and changed the theme from seasons outside to the stages of metamorphosis! Caterpillar, Molting, Chrysalis, and Wings.

Caterpillar discusses breakups, toxic relationships, and strength.

Molting discusses losing yourself, confidence, and self-searching.

Chrysalis discusses depression, anxiety, body issues, and longing.

Wings discusses the lighter, refreshing times of self-discovery, change, and freedom.

I poured my heart and soul into this book. I wrote it not only for me, but for the people who need to hear my words. I wrote it for those with the same struggles that I have. I wrote it for people who need to know they are not alone.

And I am so excited to share this book with all of you. I truly hope that it will speak to you in ways you need to be spoken to--whether you struggle with depression, anxiety, feel out of place in the world, or simply love poetry. Thank you for supporting me and my dreams!