American poet Maya Angelou once said, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Through this process of writing my upcoming book, I have come face to face with the truthfulness of Angelou's words. Every chapter I created felt like I was draining hidden pain into the ink. It hurt sometimes to dig so much inside myself to withdraw aspects of a story that must be told. There were days when I knew what I needed to write, but it took great courage to allow myself to express topics that are personal, both through experience and witnessing.

My advice to any writers out there is that you must write about the things you are most afraid to write. It's interesting to have noticed that when I wrote what terrified me the most–the things that burn my tongue to say and the things that have never left the shelter of my shoulders–I found that those things were what needed to be in the world most. Those things were the most truthful, raw pieces of myself that were missing from the world of stories.

Write what hurts, and what makes the inside of your soul swell with feeling. That is the story you were called to tell.

A.R. Hansen

Author of Battle of the Mind