Meet Ellie Hunja: author interview

Last November, I was interviewed by about my writing journey, lessons learned, social media tips, and more. Here’s an excerpt below, and you can read the full interview here.

I’m an author, and I actually have the pandemic to thank for pushing me to pursue writing. Like so many others, 2020 took a toll on my mental health. I was wrestling with the collective grief of COVID and racial injustice, the challenge of parenting without the usual external supports, and the isolation that we all experienced.

On top of all that, my son had just been diagnosed as autistic, and the early days of trying to understand what that meant felt all-consuming. With all of this burdening my heart, I found myself in a mental fog – until I realized that a hobby I loved could really help with that.

Before last year, writing wasn’t even a hobby – more like a (very) occasional creative outlet. I have a Master’s in Social Work, and I work in fundraising and communications for an incredible nonprofit. I’m also a wife and mom of three (ages 8, 4, and a brand new bundle of joy!) so life is definitely full. But I’ve always loved to write – I’m an external processor, whether that’s verbally or through writing – so getting my fingers on the keyboard pulls tangled thoughts out of my brain and helps me make sense of my world.

But once my academic career was over and I became a parent, my writing became limited to an occasional long Facebook post on a social issue or a reflective Instagram caption about parenting. Without fail, though, beloved friends would always comment on those sporadic pieces of writing with: “so when is your book coming out?!”

I’m so grateful to have always had family and friends in my life (and my husband most of all!) who never let me lose sight of my identity and passions, even in the hectic season of parenting young kids. Thanks to their encouragement over the years, I decided to start my own website in the spring of 2021 – – where I post reflections on parenting, mental health, social justice, faith, our journey in understanding autism, and whatever else is on my mind.

Instead of feeling pressure to “niche down,” I simply chose different online publications to submit my work to based on the subject matter so I wouldn’t feel limited. (I’ve been published on Thought Catalog, The Mighty, Her View From Home, Medium, and more.)

What sets my work apart, I hope, is the way it is both vulnerable and practical. With my background in mental health, I know how important it is to be honest about our emotions and the challenges we face instead of sweeping them under the rug and embracing “toxic positivity”. At the same time, I always want to make sure my readers are taking away some kind of practical encouragement – even if that’s simply just feeling seen and validated in their current experiences. So I try to strike a balance of realness and hope, especially when it comes to parenting topics. I truly believe we can be authentic and cling to the joys of this stage of life at the same time!

One of the things I’m proudest of on this journey is staying committed to something that brings me life, when it would be easier to get bogged down by my other obligations. One of my favorite quotes is by Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Writing excites and fulfills me in a unique way, and I’ve made the conscious decision to only choose projects that align with my passions. In less than two years, it’s already blossomed into something bigger than I could have imagined!

Read the full interview here.

Published by Ellie Hunja

Ellie is a mother of two (ages 7 & 3) who's on a journey to cultivate a life of purpose, authenticity, and joy. She writes about parenting, autism awareness, mental health, faith, racial justice, and more. She believes that empathy and vulnerability can change the world, and that there is ALWAYS room for dessert.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: