By Margaux Nersesian, Strategic Communication major, Class of 2021
Senior Strategic Communication major and published author Victoria Becker shares the experience of writing her first book, “A Way in the Wilderness.”
Why did you decide to write a book?
I’ve always wanted to write a book before I turn 30, but I didn’t think it would happen while I was in college. When my summer study abroad plans were cancelled due to the pandemic, I felt in my gut that this was the time to share my story. It took me a while to figure out exactly what I wanted to write about, but quarantine gave me the time to research, experiment and move forward.
What is the title of the book?
“A Way in the Wilderness: A Journey from Depression and Isolation to Progress and Peace”
What is the book about?
“A Way in the Wilderness” tells the story of my sophomore year of college. When my sophomore experience didn’t meet my impossibly high expectations, I fell victim to anxiety and depression while constantly comparing my internal messes to others posted “perfection.” I hope “A Way in the Wilderness” encourages others to acknowledge their brokenness, embrace the hard work of healing and share their story with others, so that others will know they are never alone.
How did you decide on this subject?
I decided to write about disappointment, depression and anxiety because I believe that human beings are not as different as we may think. Since my sophomore year, I’ve heard of many other college students experiencing the same kind of struggles that I faced. So, I wrote “A Way in the Wilderness” to remind people that they are not alone in their sadness. I hope that this book starts honest conversations about some of the more challenging aspects of college and young adulthood.
When did you initially decide to write the book and how long have you been working on it?
I decided I wanted to write a book during my sophomore year of college, when the books I was reading encouraged me through a really tough season for my mental health. During quarantine during the spring of my junior year, I began researching the writing and publishing processes, and I officially began writing “A Way in the Wilderness” in May. I finished my first draft at the start of August, and over the past few months I’ve been editing, working on design, and self-publishing the book.
What was your biggest inspiration and/or motivation in this process?
My biggest inspirations during this process were my friends, especially my friends who are younger than me. I wanted to write them the book I wish I would have had as a sophomore.
Has the Schieffer College, your professors, or any TCU faculty acted as a resource to you in the writing process?
While I kept the book secret for a long time, I would not have been able to write it without the professors like Alex Lemon, Sarah Angle and Russell Mack. And although I did not know Dr. Ashley English until this semester, she came into my life at exactly the right moment to encourage me through the final steps of my publishing process.
Is there anything specific you have learned from the Schieffer College, your professors, or courses you have taken that you have applied in writing the book?
The skills I’ve learned as a Strategic Communication major in the Schieffer College have made a huge difference in my self-publishing success. I’ve learned a lot about writing and editing from Professor Russell Mack. I used the Adobe suite to design the exterior and interior of my book, which I learned in Design class with Professor Steve Levering. My experience in Roxo with Professor Sarah Angle was critically important to the conceptual development and branding of my book. Finally, the legal knowledge I learned from Dr. Josh Bentley gave me clarity through the process of registering for copyright and citing outside sources in the book.
Has the Schieffer College helped you in promoting and advertising the book launch?
As I mentioned, I kept the book a secret for a long time. However, I was thrilled and surprised when Dr. Ashley English gave me a shoutout during our Case Studies class and encouraged my classmates to preorder a copy, just one day after I’d announced the book on social media.
What was your favorite part about writing the book?
My favorite part about writing the book was really a journey of self-discovery. Since the book is about my life, I was processing what I’d been through as I wrote it. It was emotionally exhausting to say the least, but I finished the book more confident and grounded than when I began. I also thoroughly enjoyed learning about the book publishing process, from start to end – there is so much more that goes into it than just writing a manuscript! Particularly, I loved writing the “Acknowledgements” section, dedicating the book to my parents, and working with fellow TCU senior Blake Vilven to bring my vision for the coverand the pull quotes inside the book to life.
Would you like to write another book in the future?
YES! I have ideas for at least two more books I’d like to write. Next time, my goal is to work with a publishing house instead of self-publishing. My goal after I graduate is to work in the PR world while simultaneously writing these books. Eventually, I’d like to be an author full-time.
When is the official book launch and where will it be available for purchase?
“A Way in the Wilderness” is officially launching Tuesday, November 10. It can be purchased on Amazon.com. I’m incredibly grateful for the support of the TCU community and can’t wait for everyone to read it.