Chatting With Nika Erčulj About Her New Book: My Garden Of Flowers And Broken Pieces
Add this one to your Christmas list!
Nika Erčulj is a 22-year-old YouTuber, author, wellness teacher, and certified trauma healing practitioner. She is perhaps best known for her videos on productivity, sustainability, and mental health, having developed a strong identity and community over her many years on YouTube. As if her CV wasn't glowing already, Nika recently released a beautiful book titled, My Garden of Flowers and Broken Pieces, which we'll be talking about today. Get your purse ready.
Hey Nika! how are you doing in these crazy times?
This year has definitely come with its many challenges, but I’m trying to stay as positive as I can and take advantage of the extra time I now have to create more, work on myself, and do the things I previously didn’t have time for.
You recently released a book, (congratulations!) how does it feel to share something so personal to you?
Thank you so much! It is incredibly exciting and meaningful to finally release this book into the world. I’ve been holding onto it for so long and I just felt it was the right time to publish it. There is definitely a little bit of fear sharing something so personal, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I wholeheartedly believe that us being honest and sharing our vulnerabilities brings us together and makes everyone feel less alone and a little more loved and understood.
I imagine the book was a long time in the making — when did you begin writing My Garden of Flowers and Broken Pieces, and what spurred it on?
I wrote the first piece “Trapped” about five years ago and I decided to make it into a short film for my YouTube channel. The response to the video was so powerful and sort of shocking to me, because so many people related to it. Something that came from such a lonely, desperate, and vulnerable place brought so many people together and I thought that was so magical and special. That’s when I decided to create a book that would hopefully do the same.
I think I speak for everyone when I say the title of your book is gorgeous, how did you decide on it?
Thank you so much. It sort of came very naturally when I was writing one of the poems. Originally it was “my garden of sand and broken pieces”, but there are so many flower references in the book that I thought it was a much better fit and also sounded prettier. Once I had it written down it was an instant “yup this is it”.
As for the content, was it difficult deciding what poetry/prose to include, or did things come together pretty smoothly?
The whole creation process of this book went pretty smoothly. I think it’s because it was very genuine and pure. I went with my heart and gut with every single decision and I am so happy with the pieces I chose to include. They are the ones I felt most connected to, even after re-reading them so many times.
The book itself is very aesthetically pleasing — is art & design something you’re interested in?
Yes, definitely. I am a very visual person and have always appreciated art and design in any form whether it’s movies, interior design, fashion, photography, etc. I love it all and I always try to create something that isn’t only meaningful but also appealing to the eye.
Who are some of your favorite writers? And are you reading anything right now?
My favorite writers are Charles Bukowski and Andre Aciman, although there are so many amazing authors I haven’t even discovered yet. I just started reading “I know why the caged bird sings” by Maya Angelou. I’ve never read any of her books, so I’m so thrilled to dive into it.
Other than literature, what else inspires you?
I am mostly inspired by my own experiences, especially the ones that were really painful and hard to go through. I find so much passion, creativity, and motivation in the lessons I’m able to gather from my hardships.
You’ve been very open about your mental health journey on your YouTube channel, have any of the lessons you’ve learned along the way made it into your writing?
This book is a reflection of my healing journey over the past couple of years, so it is full of lessons I’ve learned throughout the years, mainly related to how I feel about myself and how I treat myself. I think the “tone” of the book is completely different at the beginning of the book than it is towards the end and the same goes for my mental health and my overall happiness. I wanted the book to tell a story and reflect that whatever you go through, no matter how dark or challenging, has its valuable lessons and that there’s always so much love and happiness waiting for you on the other side.
And finally, you’ve come a long way as a creator - if you could go back and tell past Nika all of the things you’ve achieved, how do you think she would react?
It’s often hard for me to answer this question, as I feel like past Nika and current Nika are two very different people, with different desires and values, but I think she would be very shocked and hopefully proud and excited for the life she’s going to create for herself.