Diana Raab, PhD, MFA: award-winner writer, speaker, & educator

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Diana Raab, PhD, MFA, is an award-winner writer, speaker, and educator. She is the author of nine books including, Lust, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal, and Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey, and holds writing workshops around the country. Originally from New York, Dr. Raab now lives in Southern California. In her 40-year career, she’s been as an advocate of personal writing. Dr. Raab facilitates workshops in writing for transformation and empowerment, focusing on journaling, poetry, and memoir writing. She believes in the importance of writing to achieve wholeness and interconnectedness, which encourages the ability to unleash the true voice of your inner self. Dr. Raab serves on the board of Poets & Writers (Magazine Committee), and Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Santa Monica, California. She is also a Trustee at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Raab blogs for numerous blogs, including: Psychology Today, Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, Thrive Global, and PsychAlive. She lives in Southern California.

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What do I do best?

I am supportive and nurturing, especially when people are going through challenging times. I also have an innate ability to inspire others to write their stories as a way toward healing and transformation.

What makes me the best version of myself?

I am intuitive and have always listened to the messages of my heart. I also believe that to be successful, we need to establish, tap into, and follow our passions. Once we know what our passion is, we also need to be tenacious and believe in ourselves and our life mission. From an early age, I’ve loved writing and knew I wanted to be a writer because that’s what made me happiest. Writers receive many rejection letters; however, my tenacity and my belief in my work has also helped me gain success.

What are my aspirations?

My personal aspiration is to be a good role model for my children and grandchildren. I want to be the person they come to when they are in need, and I want to be a woman they admire. My professional aspirations include inspiring people to follow their life passions. I also want to encourage others to write their stories, if they’re compelled to do so.

My Biggest Success?

It’s difficult to identify just one, because I am proud of a number of my accomplishments. On a personal level, I take pride in being married to my soul partner for more than 40 years. I’m proud to have three extraordinary children and two amazing grandchildren, and am blessed to be surrounded by love. I am also very proud of the fact that I have nine published books; have written numerous articles and poems for national publications; and currently blog for Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, and Thrive Global.

My Most Challenging Moment?

My most challenging moment was in 2001 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. There was no history of cancer in my family, and the news came as a complete shock to me. Because my cancer was found early through a routine mammogram, I was given the choice of having major surgery or having radiation and chemotherapy. It was a difficult decision that involved a great deal of research.

At the time, I was living in Florida and learned that the best specialist for my type of cancer was based in Los Angeles. I decided to make the trek out there—first for a consultation and then for surgery. I’ve always believed that “from all bad comes good.” My husband and I stayed in California for my recovery. When I was strong enough, we explored the areas surrounding Los Angeles, and we both fell in love with Santa Barbara—"the American Riviera”—and a place where the majestic mountains meet the vast blue ocean. A few years later, we decided to pack our bags and live permanently in Santa Barbara. Since then, I’ve never felt more at home. It was truly the best decision we could have made.

My Motto?

Listen to the messages of your heart. Follow your passions. Be grateful and count your blessings.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

There are bits and pieces of many people I admire and who have inspired me during various stages of my life. I admire the philosophy and writings of Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. At an early age, I was inspired by the work of memoirist Anaïs Nin. Her work resonated with me because we both began keeping a diary at the age of ten as a result of a loss in our lives.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

I love Hawaii and Bali—both incredibly lovely and special places.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I love having Buddhas in various places in my office and around my home. They are comforting and grounding. I also love feathers, which are symbolic of wisdom, freedom, strength, honor, and trust. Of course, as a writer, I love anything connected to writing, including books, pens, and journals. I also collect typewriters.

My Current Passions?

Writing and reading are my favorite passions. Although writing is a huge part of my professional life, it never feels like work; it feels like more of a hobby. I also love hiking, and taking beach walks with my Maltese poodle, Spunky. Lately, I’ve begun collecting bonsai plants, and I’m enjoying getting to know how to nurture and care for them.