What I’ve Learned in One Year as an Author (and Speaker!)

A year ago today, Running in Silence was released.
The best way to sum up this year would be that it has been a huge learning experience. Writing and getting a book published doesn’t suddenly make everything easier–I had a LOT of work ahead of me. The more emails I received from those who went through similar journeys, and the more people that attended my talks and spoke with me afterward about their struggles, the more I realized I needed to get out there and keep hammering the message.
As a recovering perfectionist (striving to be an “imperfectionist”), writing a book and having it published without being able to make big changes or adjustments when I overthink scenes or experiences in my life has been terrifying. I see ways in which I can grow as a writer, but I’m thankful that I’m not still laboring over the same piece a year later. My perfectionism might’ve left me with this book still in only my hands for the fear of publishing something I might STILL deem not completely “up to par.”
The reality is, I had to get it out there. It was time.

I started an Instagram also–follow me at @RunninginSilence !

Speaking in front of a large audience, let alone a camera (hello YouTube channel! Another challenge accepted right there) has been tough, and I often find my perfectionism coming back to bite me in the butt. Luckily I have a hilarious boyfriend who keeps things light, and helps me to get me out of my robotic or strained state.
So none of this has come easy to me. In fact, I continually try to live up to the mottos, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” and “Do one thing each day that scares you.” It’s part of a vow to myself that I would always pursue these things in my recovery, because these words are what help me to grow.
I attended an amazing Eating Disorders in Sport Conference in August where I met a great group of dietitians, therapists, and coaches striving to raise awareness and help athletes get back to the sport they love in the way they should. I met and talked with the producer of the Why Don’t You Just Lose 5 Pounds documentary. I’ve connected with people across the world with similar stories to share, many of them from the great community called Strong Runner Chicks.

Speaking at the MITCA clinic at Central Michigan “Why I Kept Silent About My Eating Disorder, and Why Coaches Shouldn’t”

The future is still very much unknown. I’m taking it day by day, seeking out venues and places to speak month by month. I feel like things have begun to speed up from here, because in just a few short weeks I will also be speaking at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont (Thursday November 30), Boston University (Monday December 4), and at the University of Rhode Island (Tuesday December 4, see all events HERE).
Beyond that, what keeps pushing me is knowing that this message needs to be heard. I want to give a thank-you to those of you who have shared your stories with me. I applaud your tremendous bravery. You are helping to pave the way to make eating disorders (ALL eating disorders, for ALL genders), less taboo.
I can’t do this alone, so keep using your voices. They are so needed.

About Rachael

Rachael Steil is a graduate from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts. Steil an author, speaker, and a recipient of the Spirit and Outstanding Runner award for the Aquinas College cross country team and has received 6th place All-American accolades in cross country as well as 7th place in the NAIA track nationals.

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