Sharma publishes book, offers guidance on navigating life as a member of Gen Z

Deepali Yedulapuram, Features Editor

Diya Sharma attends a Black Lives Matter protest, Oct 11. Witnessing the global movement was part of what inspired her to write The Muscle of Resilience: The Next Generation of Adults. (Courtesy of Naomi Yoo)

Diya Sharma (12) felt suffocated. Witnessing all that was happening in the world—the pandemic, the protests, the presidential election—she felt drowned by the chaos. 

“It was like life blurred together,” she said.

With the seemingly endless stream of thoughts racing through her mind, Sharma decided to organize her ideas using the only way she could think of: writing. 

“[Seven months ago] when I started writing, I honestly had no plan,” Sharma said. “It was kind of like a personal excerpt of my life and just my thoughts, but I was writing it in a way that was going to be read by someone else.” 

As she began to jot ideas down, Sharma said she started to consider what she thought other people her age should hear. Her ideas began to develop, her bulleted lists turned into chapters, and as she began to research content, the blank sheet of paper she had originally started with had transformed into an eight-chapter book—The Muscle of Resilience: The Next Generation of Adults.

The 47-page book covers topics regarding social media, politics, racism, mental health, faith, and school. According to Sharma, it’s an overview of how to navigate through life as a member of Gen Z.

“I feel that each chapter can be read separately, because it’s not a story, it’s more of just like a handbook of how to be okay with life,” Sharma said. “It’s kind of a message targeted towards Gen Z. [A friend even] texted me and he was like, I love how [the book offers] a perspective of Gen Z and how adults can finally understand what we’re going through.”

Editing, according to Sharma, was difficult to get through. With no prior book-writing experience, Sharma took to YouTube videos and online searches to guide her through the writing process.

“I didn’t really have a plan, so I would move around chapters and I would move around segments,” Sharma said. “I’d be like, how does this fit? What is a logical way that I can put this into a cohesive unit where it’s not just me babbling about random [stuff]? So, I just started doing research and writing. I don’t have anything in [the book] that is not backed up by research.”

After seven months of writing, and about 140 hours of editing and reorganizing, The Muscle of Resilience was published on Amazon, Oct. 28.  

“I would say the process was not the most organized; I had my mom, my stepdad, and my brother look at it, but I didn’t hire an editor,” Sharma said. 

The lessons she has learned from her parents, cousins, siblings, and surroundings, Sharma said, as well as what she’s taken from navigating through her own challenges, are what have helped her come up with content to publish this book.

“Working through challenges that you face in your life [helps] develop muscle resilience, which is a word that I feel like describes our generation so incredibly well,” Sharma said. “We have gone through so many things that have made us into better people, that have made us understand how to have empathy, and how to be just better human beings on the planet. We see our parents and we see our grandparents, and we see that we want to do better. And I feel like my book really takes into account how we can do better.”

Writing this book, Sharma said, was something she felt that she had to do for herself.

“I felt suffocated to the extent where I needed to somehow bring ease to myself,” Sharma said. “Even if I didn’t have it published, [writing this] would’ve been something that I [would’ve done to] bring peace to myself. The main message that I want to convey is that we’re all going to be okay Hopefully, through my words, people will find solace and comfort through all the chaos going on in our lives right now.”