283: That One Decision With Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is writer and author.  She is the author of the debut novel Harmless Like You which is receiving praise That One Decision With Rowan Hisayo Buchananand raving reviews.  Rowan has a BA from Columbia University, an MFA from the UW-Madison, and a 2015 Asian American Writers’ Workshop fellowship.

At first, Rowan did not believe that she could write for a living.  She thought it was something so impossible for her.  In the end, Rowan made the decision to write anyway despite her fears and it has led her to a life that she never thought was possible all because of that one decision.  Listen to her episode as she shares her story.


Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is writer and author.

Cultural Background

Rowan is of Japanese, British, Chinese and American descent.

Favorite Self Confidence Quote

I actually think of myself as quite a shy person, although I know I give the impression of someone much more confident. I think what I do have is a capacity to listen to the other, even if the other is an opponent. That leads, in all senses of the word, to an engagement.

Definition of Self Confidence

Self-confidence doesn’t mean believing you’re the best. It means finding something you love and believing it’s more important than some abstract rating of your worth.

Her Life Before the Discovery of Self Confidence

Rowan was a very sad and very lonely child. She was bullied for a while and that made it hard for her to talk to people.

The “AHA” Moment

Oddly, it came from fear. For a long time, Rowan thought being a writer was like being a dragon, something impossible. And then she decided she had to try. That even failing at writing would be better than spending the rest of her life not trying. And once she made that decision, other things followed. Rowan had to reach out to other people, because if she didn’t how would she know how they saw the world? She had to do things that scared her because there might be a story in it.

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Her Life After the Discovery of Self Confidence

Rowan still worries a lot and still beats herself up, that’s the truth. But slowly, slowly she pushes to make a good paragraph, a good sentence, even just to choose the right verb. And having this task, has given her a way of being in the world. She still suffers at times from depression, there are days when she cannot write at all. But, then she reads or simply look at the world and tell herself that all of this will make it into a book someday.

The One Self Confidence Tip For the Listener

It is an ongoing journey and that’s okay. You don’t have to become magically, self-confident superwoman. It’s okay to doubt yourself. It’s okay that some days you might want to be anyone else. But if you can find a thing you love, be it writing, drawing, accounting, podcasting, caring for a child, running a marathon then that will help. It will help, because as long as you can find a thing to fight for, then you will also fight for your right to do it.

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