Being A Writer, Poetry

Reflections: How It Feels To Publish My First Poetry Book

Marisa Donnelly first poetry book

Believe in your dreams. That’s what everyone says, isn’t it? As a child, you believe this phrase with ease. Want to become an astronaut? Totally doable. A pro baseball player? Without a doubt. As we get older, though, oftentimes the world convinces us to follow a more ‘realistic’ path. We face setbacks and get defeated. We listen to outer and inner critics, and we stop before we’ve truly begun. We give up on those dreams pounding in our chests.

But what if we didn’t?

I was one of those people who almost did. Even though I’d loved writing since I was a little girl, I traded the passion of writing for teaching, thinking it would be a more stable career path. I pursued other things. I stopped believing. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a in the classroom, but the drive for writing was always within me. And I almost lost it, thinking I should follow the world’s rules. Thinking I would be better off with something more stable, more secure, more satisfying than chasing ’empty’ desires.

But that would have been foolish.

Ever since I was young, I had a dream of writing and publishing, a dream of seeing my name printed on the cover of a book and knowing that it was mine. I started (finally) pursuing that dream when I sent submissions to different publications during my student teaching back in 2015. (Click this if you want to read about my entire writing journey.) Those pieces paved the way for job opportunities, to full-time work, to my first poetry book. This was a beautiful and challenging journey, but as I hold this book in my hand—a book I recently obtained full rights to—I realize how truly remarkable dreams are.

[Purchase the book right here.
Get the Kindle/digital version right here.]

Somewhere On A Highway is my first full collection of poetic work. It’s about love and loss, about leaving everything you’ve known to start your life, and about finding yourself in the wake of (often painful) change. It’s my heart and soul. And I almost stopped believing I could write it! The journey of publication back in 2016, to feeling defeated when it didn’t get the instant popularity I hoped it would, to pursuing other interests, to realizing how much I wanted to own that book, to actually owning it, to where I am right now: this has ultimately taught me to never, ever give up.

What you hold in your heart is your story, your truth. Do not be afraid of it – of the words you will speak, the thoughts you will construct, the blessings you will bring and carry.

What you hold in your heart is your memory, the bodies you’ve touched, the hands you’ve held, the lips you’ve kissed and the love you became and lost and constructed within your own spirit.

All of this is what I’ve learned in releasing such a personal volume of work. Each of us has a story and something unique to share. Whether that’s physical, written product or a completely different talent, what we feel we’re meant to do is what we should pursue.

So, I hope you write the pages of your life carefully, but tread wildly wherever you go.
I hope you never stop chasing, never stop dancing to the beat in your chest.
I hope you believe in yourself, and in things greater than yourself.

And I hope you never, ever give up on those dreams.

This entry was posted in: Being A Writer, Poetry


Marisa Donnelly, M.Ed., is a writer/editor, credentialed teacher, proud bonus mama, and CEO of Be A Light Collective, a coaching and content creation business and digital marketplace. She is the Director of Donnelly’s Daily Apple, a flexible learning/tutoring and educational resource platform, and the lead voice for Momish Moments and Step by Step Parents, verticals dedicated to sharing and advocating for non-traditional parenting journeys. Marisa currently resides in San Diego, California, with her fiancé, kiddo, and their two rambunctious Pitbulls. ❤️