As the mother of two young children, all of Julie Berry’s focus was on keeping them safe, happy, and healthy, but despite loving them fiercely, Julie also felt intensely isolated. Walking around in maternity clothes with spit up and pieces of breakfast clinging to her, Julie couldn’t help but feel frustration with her limited sphere of influence in the world. What had been the point of going to college? Was this really all she was made to do?
While at her lowest point, a comforting sense came over Julie, and she remembers having the distinct feeling that she would someday be influential in the lives of women, particularly young women.
And I thought, “Oh, right.” You know, like, look at me…What could I possibly have to say that would be influential to large audiences of people? And I remember the feeling coming to me saying, “It will be because of something you've written. You will write a book.” And I just sort of chewed on that thought and, and frankly, disagreed with it pretty emphatically.
But as I look back on my life now, I realize there have been a number of those little quiet inklings telling me, “This is what you're meant to do.”
While the feeling was strong, life is rarely simple. It would be several years (and an additional two children) before Julie finally felt ready to pursue her dream, but the “distinct feeling” has proven out: she is an award-winning author, with books ranging from children’s stories to adult fiction. Her breakout hit, All the Truth That’s In Me, received multiple awards and remains atop many “must read” book lists. Her most recent book, Lovely War, is likewise critically acclaimed and well received.
Julie didn’t expect to lead the life of an author. At an important crossroads in her life she was ready to take the “practical” choice with a safe and steady job, but through the support of her husband she found the courage to take a leap into the unknown.
“I desperately needed something for myself, and it wasn't until I began writing that I felt this inrush of joy and excitement and fun and gratitude, and I just didn't know how badly I had needed it until I gave it chance to begin.”
Julie’s story is beautiful, and especially dear to me as Julie was a “late bloomer.” She may not have left college as a bestselling author, but her stories are made all the richer by the experiences that have led her to this point. Join us as we discuss her circuitous career path, the inspiration behind All the Truth That’s In Me, and how we should pursue the things that matter most to us.
Download the podcast on Apple Podcasts or click on the player below. Have you read any of Julie’s works? Did her story, her real-life story, surprise or resonate with you? Leave a comment! You may just get a “shout-out” in a future podcast.
Takeaways from this episode:
- With so much focus on youth and the next tech wunderkind, it’s easy to become discouraged and lose sight of the fact that most success comes later (often in our 40s and 50s). This is not a failure or a disadvantage. We can put all the knowledge gleaned from our previous learning curves into choosing the curve that is perfect for us—often unexpected, but perfect nonetheless.
- It can be hard to trust your “inner voice” when you are in the middle of life’s chaos. Julie was blessed to have a strong support system that pushed her to make a jump, but she had to be willing to try. Don’t be afraid to experiment and chase your curiosity.
- Is there something you’ve been wanting to try? A dream that has been tickling your brain? Give it a chance to come to the surface.
- Disrupting ourselves doesn’t only apply to our profession. We can disrupt ourselves in tiny ways in every area of our lives.
- We only live once. Don’t postpone pursuing the things that matter most. Life will go on either way, so “you might as well live a life where you look back and are proud of yourself that you took a chance, than look back and wish that you had.”
Links Mentioned in this Episode:
- Julie Berry – Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Sound Clip from Lovely War
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'engle
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Beauty by Robin McKinley
- All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry
- The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
- The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
- Lovely War by Julie Berry
- Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
- The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson
- American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, and the Birth of Hollywood by Howard Blum
Upcoming Books from Julie Berry: