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Healing through Crochet with Kathryn Vercillo: An O2O Author Interview

Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo has written two amazing books chronicling her journey through depression and how the hands on, repetitive nature of crocheting help pull her out and put her on a path towards healing. In our interview, Kathryn shares some background of how the books came to be plus her experiences with writing them.

kathryn vercillo books

Kathryn-Vercillo-headshotO2O: What are your books about?

KV: Crochet Saved My Life is about the mental and physical health benefits of crafting, with an emphasis on crochet. It includes my own story of healing from depression through crochet along with the stories of nearly two dozen other women who healed from a variety of conditions through the craft.

Hook to Heal takes the research I did and asks the question, “how does crochet help?” I’ve applied the answers to creating a set of 100 creativity exercises that crocheters can use to improve their lives in myriad ways across all different areas of their lives.

O2O: What was your inspiration for writing these books?

KV: I discovered crochet in my late twenties; it was one of the only things I was inspired to do during a bout of near-suicidal depression. After I’d healed, I began blogging about my experience, and I discovered that so many other people felt the same way. I was compelled to talk to these people, research and share their stories. Once Crochet Saved My Life was published, I started more intensive research into how crafting heals us and worked to apply that to the second book.

O2O: There is still a lot a stigmatism connected to mental illness and depression; did you find yourself facing any doubts or fears associated with publishing a book that tells your story so candidly?

KV: There is definitely a lot of stigma surrounding depression and other mental health issues. I believe strongly that sharing our individual stories makes it more okay for others to share their stories and this process creates a world of compassion that will ultimately lead to decreased stigma. But, of course, it was a little scary to put my story out there. I worried, especially, about how it would impact my family and others who love me. (They all received it well.) What really kept me moving forward was that nearly two dozen other women had entrusted me to share their stories, and I felt very humbled and honored to be doing this work; if they could be so brave then so could I!

O2O: What surprised you most about the writing process?

KV: Interviewing other people about their experiences really kept me going through the writing because it allowed me to see the book as about so much more than just myself. That was helpful.

However, once the book came out, I was really inundated with strangers wanting to share their stories with me. It was touching and humbling and wonderful, and I’ve gone on to publish many of those stories in other formats (such as on my blog and in magazine columns) but it was also really overwhelming in those early days.

O2O: Was there anything different or surprising about writing the second book than when you wrote the first one?

KV: I got such great support for the first book that I decided to utilize that support to help fund the second book through crowdsourced funding on Indiegogo. What I discovered was that “owing” the book to people really paralyzed my creativity. The book ended up coming out much, much later than planned, and only after I’d let go of all expectations and offered refunds to funders (who were mostly supportive and didn’t take the refunds). I learned that this kind of approach is terrific but not right for me.

O2O: What were your writing habits?

KV: I tried to write every morning, before doing anything else, aiming to reach a specific goal each day (finish the chapter, get ten pages done, etc.; the goals changed depending on where I was in the process). I felt like if I at least did a little writing before doing other things then the day was a success. I did my writing at home, with my cup of coffee by my side, usually sitting in my loveseat in the kitchen.

O2O: Was there a writing quote or mantra that kept you inspired?

KV: In her Artist’s Way series Julia Cameron says, “leap and the net will appear”. That’s something I’ve always kept in mind when I’m not sure what’s going to happen next in my work.

My favorite quote that consistently inspires me is Martha Graham’s, “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you.”

O2O: How has blogging helped or contributed to your life as a writer?

KV: Blogging is really how I started being able to make a living at writing. I started working as a freelance writer just when blogging was beginning to become a big thing for businesses, so I started getting jobs early on that allowed me to work from home, blogging for other people. This allowed me the freedom of schedule to explore other writing. Blogging still makes up a large portion of my writing income. Beyond that, I love the immediacy of blogging and its casual nature; it gives me freedom to play with different forms and ideas and interests. This lets me develop my writing style, which is beneficial to writing in print format.

O2O: What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a book?

KV: Write. Every day. Don’t worry about the rest. Just write.

O2O: Will you write another book?

KV: Yes!

Where to buy the books

Giveaway

Kathryn has a signed copy of Hook to Heal for a One2One Network member! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling us your favorite thing to do while you’re waiting (waiting at the doctor’s office, waiting in the school drop-off/pick-up line, waiting for your pedicure to dry, etc). Do you crochet, read, color, listen to music, watch YouTube videos, catch up on Snapchat? Giveaway closes midnight (PT) Monday, June 20th. Winner will be notified via email on Tuesday, June 21st.

More about Kathryn

Kathryn is a freelance writer and indie author who has written across a diverse array of mediums and topic areas. She especially loves to write about the intersection between crafting/creativity (with an emphasis on crochet) and the mental health/wellness/personal growth. She shares, “I am a writer, a crafter, a daydreamer and a part of a community that starts in my San Francisco home and radiates out. I believe that self-expression is the key to self-realization and also the key to connecting communities.”

Kathryn is the blogger behind Crochet Concupiscence, one of the leading crochet-only blogs on the web. Because of this blog, she was named a Black Sheep Wools Blogger of the Month, made the list of Craftypod’s “Top 5 Posts I Refer to Again and Again”, and received the best curator and storyteller award in the Crochet Lounge Top 20 Heart-Centered Bloggers list. Her Crochet Concupiscence blog was voted one of the top 5 2012 craft blogs in Inside Crochet Magazine and was a 2011 runner-up for a Flamie award from the CLF. Her book Crochet Saved My Life has received more than 30 5-star reviews. She is a column writer for Interweave Crochet print magazine and Happily Hooked digital magazine, and she writes regularly for Lion Brand Yarn and Red Heart Yarn. Her writing has been published in a wide variety of other magazines and websites.

Kathryn writes from the heart of personal experience, using her own unique view of the world as a starting point to connect with others. She fervently believes that writing should not only be used as catharsis and confession but also worked as a tool to create connections between people.

Learn more at www.kathrynvercillo.com.

*No Purchase Necessary. Void Where Prohibited By Law. Entry period will run from Monday, June 13, 2016 through midnight (PT), Monday, June 20, 2016. Entries must be received in those time frames to be valid. Contest is open to One2One Network members, 18 years of age or older, and a resident of the United States of America. Winner will be chosen via random draw and notified via email. Please see Official Rules for Giveaways.

6 Comments

  1. Graciela Rhodes says:

    When I am waiting I like to read my book. Crochet is for when I am at home. Crochet has helped me more than going to therapy.

  2. Ali Brophy says:

    Usually have my nose in a book. I haven’t quite grasped taking my crochet our of the house.

  3. Susan Kraus says:

    Since I bought an E-reader, I usually take it with me for appointments and the like. I knit and crochet at home. I’m a quiet person, an introvert I guess. People tend to talk to me about what I’m making, etc. when I take yarn crafts along. They don’t talk to me when I am reading. That may or may not be a good thing. Keeping my mind busy helps keep depression at bay.

  4. I have a library of crochet patterns, techniques, books stored on my iPhone… a perfect way to pass time in the waiting rooms…

  5. Heidi Greig says:

    I like to crochet anywhere, riding the bus, lunchtime at work, waiting for my brother at the hospital, at hime. It’s my meditation, my way of centering myself. It reduces my anxiety. Thank you for speaking about your use of crochet as therapy.

  6. Gabriela Murphy says:

    Whenever I have and appointment dentist, car wash or waiting for a friend for lunch I bring my crochet or knitting work. I love it. I always have something to do, and also is a piece of conversation if somebody else is waiting in the same room with me. I realize that there are a lot of knitters or crocheters in this world. Specially young woman.