If you identify as a creative, a writer, a seeker, bicultural/multicultural, and/or just a human who tends second guess everything they do, I think this newsletter will have something for you.

It will mostly consist of my own unfiltered thoughts on writing a book on mental health and identity, all while I navigate my own personal mental health struggles and identity crises as an adult child of immigrants (while finishing graduate school full-time, working as a therapist intern, floundering through a pandemic, and continuing to build the first and largest mental health community for children of immigrants).

I’ve written vulnerably for years, yet nothing has made me feel as naked as I have in this process of book writing. Being a writer of personal stories is a sort of excavation of the soul. It can be a long, daunting process when you don’t know where to start or where to look. Sometimes I feel like I am exorcising my inner child, and other times I feel like I am floating aimlessly out in the middle of the ocean alone. As of late though, I mostly find myself constantly trying to get in the right mindset to “write something profound, or perfect,” so the voice in my head demands. Writing a book, let alone anything, can feel so darn lonely as it is, but the more I (unintentionally) lean into these perfectionist beliefs, the more isolated I get with my work.

This newsletter is a way for me to tackle my own imposter syndrome as a writer. It will explore what it really means to get in the right mindset and uncover our own stories, but also how to use writing as a tool for change and healing. As a (supervised) narrative mental health therapist, and a former blog and personal essays editor of almost seven years, my passion lies at the intersection of mental health and storytelling. I also have my own monthly mental health advice column on The Lily and founded the first and largest mental health community for children of immigrants over at Brown Girl Therapy on Instagram.

On top of writing and creating as a mechanism for healing, I am also currently finishing graduate school and working as an individual and family therapist. I think in stories, connections and themes — others and my own, and there’s no shortage of personal and professional tension or growth that I experience every day. I am always noting, curating, and tracking things, and I want to bring the behind the scenes of this creative experience to the forefront. I want to share what I am feeling, learning, and reflecting on in real-time with you all, partly to archive this book writing process but also to provide you with tangible tips and advice to help you explore your own internalized narratives, build your own sense of self, re-author your own story, and write your Truth. (Due to requests, I will also share more on the logistics of writing and publishing a book as a first-time author and woman of color, building and having a large social media platform, and exercises I utilize to help me build my writing practice and tell my own stories authentically.)

It goes without saying that writing a newsletter about writing a book that has been difficult to write can go wrong in so many ways. I want this to feel restorative and healing, allowing me to externalize parts of this process that both facilitate or hinder the process for me, so I will be an erratic poster (2-4x per month) and I will be posting in formats that feel most comfortable and easy — like bullet points, lists, and audio. Short and sweet, said the most verbose writer I know.

Let’s see how this goes,

Sahaj Kaur Kohli

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Real-time reflections and tips as I write a book about mental health and identity while I navigate my own mental health struggles and identity crises as a child of immigrant parents and a mental health therapist.

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Sahaj Kaur Kohli 
Writer, mental health professional, and facilitator of (un)learning. You may know me from my work at Brown Girl Therapy or from my weekly mental health advice column on The Washington Post.