Q&A With Julie Chavez
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Q&A With Julie Chavez
Last month author Julie Chavez and I spoke through Instagram and she was kind enough to do a Q&A with me for the month of February. Julie is the author of “Everyone But Myself: A Memoir,” being published by Zibby Owens’s publishing company Zibby Books. Julie is also the host of Ask A Librarian Podcast which is very impressive.
Q: So Julie, what made you want to write your memoir, “Everyone But Myself,” now? Can you tell our readers a little bit about it?
A: Of course! In 2018, I experienced a significant mental health crisis that began with my first panic attack at the age of 38. After a challenging path to find support, I was diagnosed with depression, and it required both medication and therapy for me to find my way back to feeling like myself. But when I reached the other side of that season, I was able to see that what happened to me isn’t uncommon—my depression and anxiety were very tied to a deep depletion. There are so many women like me who are trying to balance their own needs with the never-ending parade of the world’s tasks, beginning with those in our own homes. Everyone But Myself is a story of putting myself back on my own list and learning to practice real, fruitful self-care. My hope is that this book will be a good, trusted friend to its readers, and that they’ll see themselves reflected in this book and my story.
Q: What’s your advice to anyone wanting to write a memoir of their own lives?
A: Get help! When I started working on this book, it wasn’t even close to a book—it was source material. I was very fortunate to work with Brooke Warner as a writing coach, who then helped me shape the early drafts of this story. But the great news is that she has a wonderful book that she co authored with Linda Joy Myers (Breaking Ground on Your Memoir: Craft, Inspiration, and Motivation for Memoir Writers) that I’ve referenced again and again. It was extremely helpful to me in creating a structure that worked for this story. Memoirs can ramble on (and I tend to ramble on), but the right structure can provide guardrails. When you begin writing, it’s also helpful to have a deep understanding of what you’re trying to achieve with your memoir: it keeps you on track through revisions and editing!
Q: Are you writing anything right now? If so, is it another memoir or is it a fictional novel this time around?
A: Since I’ve read through this memoir approximately five thousand times, I’d currently rather chew glass than write another memoir about me. I’m slowly working on a novel, but I know very little about writing fiction! I’m reading lots of craft books and novels from my favorite authors, paying careful attention to how they construct their stories. It’s fun to be a beginner again!
Q: I always find it amazing that an author can juggle multiple things whether it’s being a journalist, a blogger having their own podcast etc. What’s it like having a podcast? How do you juggle writing and having a podcast?
A: Oh, man. This is a good question! I wish I had a better system, but the truth is that I just squeeze everything in where I can. I work in an elementary library and have two busy teenage sons and a traveling husband, so our life is very full (which I love). I write on evenings and weekends, and I read for the podcast whenever and however I can. Mostly, I really put into practice the lessons I learned in the year that’s described in my memoir. I pay attention to self-care, try not to overcommit, and I try to accept that doing everything perfectly all the time isn’t a realistic goal. That said, having a podcast is so fun! I love talking to people and I love learning, so having these conversations is a gift.
Q: What is your advice to anyone who wants to start their own podcast?
A: I was very fortunate to have support through Zibby Audio as I started my podcast, but there are so many resources available to people who are out on their own. I’d recommend listening to similar podcasts to figure out where yours would fit and how you’d like to structure the episodes. Then I would take time to determine what success looks like for you. Do you care about reach? Is this a passion project? Do you want to have advertisers/sponsors? Creating a plan at the beginning gives you focus, and keeping it flexible allows you to adapt as you learn more about which goals matter most to you.