Hello, and thank you for picking up my book!
Maybe you’re in a bookstore, browsing, and wondering who I am and why you should buy this book. Or perhaps you’ve already brought it home and you’re wondering how to use said book. Well, let’s start with who I am. My name is Ashly Perez. You may recognize me as that girl from BuzzFeed. I worked there for five-and-a-half years, producing, writing, acting, and directing short-form internet content. Some of my most popular videos included “I Learned How to Dance in 30 Days,” in which I mastered a dance routine in order to confront my long-standing body-confidence issues, and “Coming Out,” which is a short film about my personal experience coming out as queer. I actually got my start at BuzzFeed as a writer, where I published some of BuzzFeed’s earliest viral posts and quizzes. I’ve been writing my whole life—personally in blogs and journals since I was a kid, and professionally for the past decade. These days, I’m a television writer and artist.
I wrote this book as a response to one of my own issues—something I like to call “phone fatigue.” Most mornings I wake up and find myself immediately reaching for my phone. Even before my eyes fully open, its blue-light glare is in my face, and the endless scrolling begins, usually through Instagram (for updates on my friends) and Twitter (for updates on the world). It’s good to be informed, but my scrolling isn’t really satisfying, fulfilling, or inspiring. In fact, most days it leaves me exhausted, sad, or comparing myself to everyone whose life is clearly better than mine—or at least is so in my perception. That’s no way to start your day . . . or end your day, or spend any of your day, for that matter. During every break from work, I scroll. In the line at the grocery store, I scroll. When I’m stopped at particularly long red lights, I scroll. I scroll all day until I scroll myself to sleep.
It’s not very enriching, but what’s the alternative? Enter: Read This for Inspiration.
I wrote this book as a remedy for my phone fatigue. I wanted a quick and easy way to take a break from work, munch on a thoughtstarter, and get back to the business of being a human. I genuinely believe most of us are trying to be better people. We want to treat our bodies better and take time to nourish our souls and our friendships, but it feels impossible to find the time. We relish the thought of starting our days or resetting our minds with a bit of inspiration, but we don’t know where to find it.
Sure, there are thousands of inspirational books written by incredible authors, but most of us don’t have more than fifteen minutes (if that!) to spare before we start our day. Read This for Inspiration is a compilation of the wisdom, encouragement, and enlightenment I’ve picked up along the way, presented as short, crisp entries—or, as I like to call them, “sparks.” No long paragraphs or giant chapters to slog through—instead, I’ve written disgestible thought-starters you can easily dip into. Scoop them up and take them with you to meditate on throughout your day or as you wind down your night. I’ve covered all sorts of topics: creativity, belonging, relationships, money, organization, motivation. I’ve tapped a plethora of sources, including books, music, TED Talks, my social and work experiences, my family. I share lessons, metaphors, and new perspectives that have helped me see my life more clearly and live it more intentionally.
I certainly won’t pretend this book is the absolute compilation of every bit of inspiration the world has to offer—it’s not! But I do hope it serves as a launching point for discovering your own inspiration. You deserve passion in your life. You deserve to be challenged and surprised every day—not just on special occasions. You deserve more than endless scrolling. You deserve quiet moments, introspection, and epiphanies. I hope this book will help you find those signs.
Copyright © 2020 by Ashly Perez. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.