Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
Hi! I’m Danielle Holian. I’m a journalist, photographer, and author of Beautifully Chaotic. My debut book, Beautifully Chaotic, explores many topics like mental health and sexual assault. I flourish my creative love through words and art, continuing my passion for words through media work as a music critic of reviews and interviews. I went to college to study the media and entertainment industry in radio, journalism, public relations, marketing, and film; then gaining substantial experience in each role to date.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Beautifully Chaotic, began as a project almost like a diary for me to explore what was going on around me and within. I spent most of 2018 writing poetry and one day something clicked inside me and I knew I was on to something which in time became the book. Throughout the collection, I talk about sexuality, feminism, trauma of sexual assault, and heartbreak. I wrote each story about my own life as a way to heal, grief, and move forward from.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Since I work in different creative fields, I have a lot of different inspirations that influence my creativity. I find reading poets like Olivia Gatwood and Rupi Kaur inspire me to write my story. Then other things like being outside in nature, reconnecting with my loved ones, spending time with myself, listening to music and podcasts, watching a movie, or planning an adventure to document my life through my camera always sparks my love to create.
How do you deal with creative block?
I have a different answer for this question each time the creative block goes away. What I find works best for me is to be creative in other ways than the one thing that’s currently being blocked – so if I cannot sit down to write a poem, I bring the same effort I towards something else like reading a book, being in nature, or doing something totally out of my immediate comfort zone.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
The biggest mistake I made when I was creating the book before I had the manuscript together was not being completely true to or trusted myself where I once felt discussing heavy topics would scare readers away, but I knew in my heart I had to go with what was right for me. It’s about the creator at the end of it all as it’s their body of work and name on the collection.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I have written many collections and books prior to Beautifully Chaotic, and choosing a title is a different experience each time. For previous (unpublished) work I usually began with a title, whereas Beautifully Chaotic’s title came halfway through creating the collection unexpectedly. Regarding the cover, my friend Chika Delaney, who is the cover designer, knew what direction to go in for the final product and with the story I wanted to tell, as a book cover can usually tell what the story inside entails.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I take everyone’s criticism – good and bad – on board. I don’t take it personally, but I take note on how I could improve my work for the future. I know I create for me, but it’s the public who responds to my work, so if something doesn’t go down well I know I have to find a way to make it better for next time.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I’ve always been creative for as long as I can remember, but I do notice in the last few years, especially now being in my twenties, I don’t write about the same topics as I did as a child or teenager. I do see my creations becoming more my style and who I am today. This, I know, will change in time again. For example, I used to spend all my time being creativity, whereas now I know to set a time and a place to be creative and spend the rest of my time valuably.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The only bad encounterments during the entire process of completing Beautifully Chaotic was experiencing writer’s block when I needed to be creative and having certain doubts about the entire collection. But once that passed, when I sought out feedback everything was positive, and once the book was released the amount of support I received warmed my heart.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I tend to balance the two, but aim more towards personal satisfaction. I’m a perfectionist as well as a people pleaser, so I keep the person who will view my work in mind, but focus on the story I’m trying to tell overall and if it feels right to me.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
Everything. I use my creativity to express my emotions.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
What works for me is to stay creative, even if I’m not creating. For example, when I want to write and feel lost, I pick up a book and read. Other than that, I usually spend time in nature, watching things to inspire me, take my camera out and go on an adventure, try to live life without the stress of creating, because in time the creations will happen.
What are your plans for future books?
Currently, I am working on a new book, but the process is completely different compared to my debut. I’m still debating whether I will release a previous book before this new collection. So, I don’t know when I will release my next book. But there are collections in the works. Stay tuned.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.
I am extremely passionate, strong minded, and although I might not be tempted to buy a whole new wardrobe for the new season, I would always be up for buying books, as I never have enough. I enjoy my own company. I surprise myself with my writing. I have weird, off-beat talents and interests. I pay attention to everything. And I usually pause to catch sunrise/sunset to experience the little moments in life.