Morgan Harper Nichols Reveals the Meaningful Inspiration Behind Her New Book, How Far You Have Come

Words sound more like music when they come from Morgan Harper Nichols's pen. She writes beautiful, inspiring poems for her 1.7 million Instagram followers and countless others who've picked up her bestselling first book, All Along You Were Blooming, or her stationery and clothing from her shop, Garden24. Her latest book, How Far You Have Come, was written during the COVID-19 pandemic and was released on April 27.

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Nichols currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband Patrick and their son Jacob. Prior to focusing on her art and poetry, Nichols spent years as a college admissions counselor and later as a full-time touring singer-songwriter and musician. Her artwork is inspired by real connections, as she invites people to submit their stories to her, then she creates a special piece of art and sends it back to them privately before sharing it. This unique, personal way to engage with fans and lift people up at the same time is what sets Nichols apart and makes her work so special.

I know that whenever I'm feeling down, lonely, or anxious about life, I just pay a visit to @morganharpernichols on Instagram to see beautiful flowers, colorful artwork, and poems that are guaranteed to make me feel valued and worthy (you'll probably shed a few tears while reading her words, but in a good way). A recent favorite of mine? "And perhaps things will come together not perfectly, but beautifully, and you will be so glad you chose to believe the timing of it all would be just right."

If you like her bite-size poetry pieces, then you'll love her latest book, which includes a collection of illustrated poems and essays that focus on a familiar route that she's traveled along the southern border of the US Despite the hurt, division, and pain this past year has brought to so many people, Nichols encourages us to look at these moments in another way — with hope for how far we've come.

Keep reading to hear more from Nicholas about her new book, where she gets her inspiration from, and what motivates her in our exclusive interview ahead.

Her Inspiration Comes From Nature

Despite not being able to travel as much as she used to due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nichols still turns to nature for her inspiration. "I've just been finding what I like to call beauty and inspiration in everyday nature," she told POPSUGAR. "Flowers from the grocery store or the tree in backyard, for example. I challenged myself to photograph one tree every day for five days to see how it looks different. Lately, things like that have been a huge source of inspiration."

How Far You Have Come Was Inspired by One Photo

After finding an old picture on her iPhone, the idea for How Far You Have Come was born. "It started with me finding the photo from my phone that was beautiful, and I remembered when I took that photo I was going through a difficult time," Nichols said. "That led me to think about so many similar moments in my life. The landscape itself is so beautiful, but at the same time, I was going through something. When you look at that together, I can see I've come so far and seen so much beauty. I've traveled so many miles and seen things."

So for her book, Nichols decided to focus on the landscapes of specific states, and she created art and essays in each section. "My biggest hope is that people walk away from this and go through their camera rolls to see moments in their lives with beauty and courage. Especially now with so many of us spending more time at home than we normally would have and so much happening during the past year. Looking back and seeing how far you've come is important."

She Stays Motivated by Focusing on People

When the pandemic feels isolating, Nichols stays motivated by focusing on other people. She said her motivation comes from "finding beauty in the everyday and staying connected to people however I can," adding, "I've made it a huge part of what I do to respond to emails and DMs. That has kept me so grounded because it's so easy to get in my head because I think I'm not doing enough, and I've said everything I can possibly say. Hearing stories has helped ignite motivation and inspiration. A message from someone who lost a loved one or feels stressed from racial unrest helps me stay grounded. I can't fix everything, but I can talk to this one person and let them know they are seen and they are heard — that keeps me going."

She Has Many Female Role Models (and A-list Fans!)

Throughout her career, Nichols has gained many celebrity fans, including Jennifer Garner, Sarah Ramos, Reese Witherspoon, Sophie Bush, Jenna Dewan, and more. But Nichols' number one role model is her mom. "My mom is totally someone who is very creative and taught me from a young age how to make things with what you have, even if you don't have much," Nichols said. "My mom wore vibrant colors and cool outfits from vintage sales and garage sales, and she would paint the walls in our house vibrant colors from the discount section. I have so many examples of that in every facet of my life. That impacted me in so many ways as an adult."

When she isn't working, Nichols loves to read and has a passion for art. She's especially inspired by creative women storytellers, including Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Corita Kent, Alma Thomas, Yayoi Kusama, and many others.

The Advice She Would Give to Her Younger Self

It's hard to believe that Nichols wasn't always the confident, inspiring woman she is today, but when she was younger, she regrets putting too much pressure on herself. Nichols said: "I really felt a lot of pressure to get everything right and make everyone proud. I was distraught if I didn't get a perfect score in college. I wish I could tell my younger self, 'take a deep breath, it's OK. You don't have to navigate this perfectly to navigate in a meaningful way. You're going to get where you want to go when you get there. Take some deep breaths and some naps and that's what's going to help you pace yourself for the rest of the journey.'"

Where to Get a Copy of Her New Book

Order a copy of her new book, How Far You Have Come from Amazon for $14.