By Olivia Schmid || Layout Assistant
On Sunday, April 11th, the Writers House welcomed author Amy Morin to F&M for a fireside chat about her journey from therapist to psychology lecturer to bestselling author! The event, sponsored by all five of F&M’s college houses, DipCares, and the Office of Student and Postgraduate Development, drew in a crowd eager to learn more about her work and her take on mental strength, as well as her personal experiences that led her to become so passionate about the topic.
Morin first discussed her own journey of finding mental strength in the midst of hardship and immense loss. What started as a letter to herself in the midst of pain soon became a $15 article on Lifehack.com called 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, which then ended up on Forbes! She recalls being at the “lowest point in her life” at the time this article was published on Forbes, and when a book deal with HarperCollins presented itself to her, she claimed that she wasn’t the pinnacle of mental strength; however, she decided to go for it anyway. “Time doesn’t heal all things — it’s what you do with that time that can heal,” Morin claims. A mantra she seems to take rather seriously is to never wait until “someday” to take a risk. Morin comments that one of the most important lessons she learned through all of this is that she is way stronger than she thinks, which makes her work “proof positive.” And now? She lives on a sailboat in the Florida Keys.
After this, Morin dove into the writing process itself, mentioning that writing her first book was a huge leap of faith. She discussed the gray areas in terms of what to expect and the doubt she had about whether or not people would pick up her books in the first place. She actually wrote her first book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, on the side while she worked 20 hours a week as a therapist. She recalls the strict deadlines she had that kept her on the grind — Morin had 39 days to write it! She spent 3 days a week on the book: the first day devoted to research, the second devoted to writing, and the third to editing. She elaborates that the deadlines helped hold her accountable. But the work was far from done after writing — it still needed to get in the hands of people around the world. Sophomore Madison Fortier recalled that, “It was interesting to learn about the marketing that authors must do in order for their books to become successful. Like Morin, I had always thought that authors just wrote books and those books went to the bookstores and became successful because of their content, but I learned that is far from reality.”
The event, occurring over one year since the coronavirus began, also highlighted the relevance that mental strength has to the pandemic. Morin called it the “great reset,” a time in which we can devote ourselves to self-reflection and shift our values as we see fit. We have time now to be in charge of how we spend that time. Morin offered her audience some sage advice: that it’s okay to be alone — being alone with your thoughts is key to getting more comfortable with yourself. She pointed out that more and more people are willing to discuss mental health and mental strength (which we learned are not the same thing) as it becomes prevalent in each of our lives. Morin noted that she’s observed that online therapy has gotten more popular, as well.
To college students in particular, Morin reminded us to remember that we’re not supposed to know all the answers as soon as we graduate. She noted that you shouldn’t worry about feeling unqualified because you don’t know your limits until you start failing. If you change your behavior first and act like you feel confident, then your feelings will follow and you will begin to develop authentic confidence in everything you do. “In her book talk, Amy Morin not only modeled the characteristics of a mentally strong person but also made me recognize my own strengths and capabilities,” commented first-year Lily Vining after attending the virtual event.
Kerry Sherin Wright, the founding director of the Writers House, agreed, stating, “Amy was charming, gracious, and so informative, and I feel so lucky we got to host her.” This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an author here at F&M, and it certainly won’t be the last. Professor Wright exclaimed, “The Writers House loves it when we get to sponsor programs that are proposed by students, and we really admire the current student body’s activism and passion for making good things happen on campus.” Students interested in proposing future authors to come to campus are encouraged to directly reach out to Professor Wright at email@example.com.
First-year Olivia Schmid is a Layout Assistant. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.