My mission is to hold people in a safe, nurturing, and inspiring way, as they move into the wilderness of reading, writing, and living. – Laura Munson
Thank you for finding me. It’s taken me quite some time to get here.
One of the primary things I’ve been longing for all these years of writing—of trying to find the intersection of heart and mind and craft on the page…is the reader. You. The completion of the trajectory that begins each day at my writing desk and wants to land in your hands, as you spend an hour in bed reading in the wee hours, or on your commute, or in a quiet corner on a Sunday afternoon. It’s you who I want to reach, and it’s you who I need to make my work whole.
People ask me how it is that I could have spent the last 20 years writing so devotedly when I was not meeting with big-time publication. The answer is simple: I am obsessed with writing. You have to be obsessed if you are going to live the writer’s life. Years ago when I announced that the precarious and non-lucrative field of writing was my true passion, someone asked me: “If you could look into your future and see that you’ll never be published, would you still write?” Without batting an eyelash, I said, “Yes.” That’s how I knew I was hooked.
And so it has been. I’ve written and written and written, but until 2010, without a published book. Just when I thought I’d never fulfill this fierce dream, I wrote a small essay which landed in the New York Times. It led to a book deal with my dream editor, Amy Einhorn (The Help), and launched my career as a New York Times best-selling author. It still doesn’t feel exactly real. I’ve toured all across this country, and internationally, promoting my book. I’ve found myself on stages and in front of microphones and television cameras. It’s been quite a ride. And I’m here to tell you: If it can happen to me, it can happen to you, whatever it is that you dream with all your heart.
But in all of it…from the trenches of “failure” to the altitude of “success,” I have learned one powerful lesson: it’s all about doing the work.
I love this work. And I love sharing the messages the writing life has taught me. Rejection doesn’t need to be taken personally. No one can define our emotional state. Our emotions are our choice. Perseverance and practice are the two things we can control in making our dreams come true. No one will take the stand for your hard work unless you first take that stand. But I didn’t learn these lessons from success. I learned these lessons from a place of surrender. And so it is with surrender that I live my life. Controlling what I can control, and letting go of the rest. Sometimes I’m actually good at it. Sometimes.
So, after years of hammering away at my craft in what often felt like an impossible industry…I now sit here with a bio to write, on a web page to share, in hopes to inspire you to take a stand for what you believe in. I speak about it at events across the country. I teach it at my Haven Writing Retreats in Montana, and I live it every day when I face the blank page. I’ve said many times: writing is my practice. It’s my prayer. It’s my way of life. And sometimes it’s my way to life.
Whatever it is that you love dearly, I want you to believe in yourself and in the arc of whatever truth begins in you and goes out to the world. Even when things seem bleak—in our relationships, or in our careers…sometimes things go our way. Especially when we are honest. Surrendered to outcome. And being our most raw and real selves. Vulnerability is vital to our human experience. We don’t have to be alone. That’s why the book art form will never die.
I hope that you are inspired by my words. And I thank you for your support.
Laura Munson is the author of the New York Times and international bestselling memoir This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness (Amy Einhorn/Putnam 2010) which Book of the Month Club named one of the best books of the year. It has been published in nine countries and has been featured in Vanity Fair, Elle, Redbook, Time, Newsweek, Washington Post, Publisher’s Weekly and many other newspapers, magazines, and online venues across the globe.
Laura is the founder of Haven Writing Retreats, which Open Road Media ranked in the top five writing retreats in the United States, and speaks and teaches on the subject of voice and empowerment through creativity at conventions, corporations, universities and schools, retreat and wellness centers.
Her work has been published in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, O. Magazine, The Week, Huffington Post, Redbook, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, More Magazine, Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Sun, The Shambhala Sun, Big Sky Journal and others. She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Early Show, WGN, many NPR stations, Hay House radio, as well as other media including London’s This Morning and Australia’s Sunrise. She lives in Montana with her family.
Photograph of the author © Heidi A. Long