Two years later, Connor is ready to bring to light a side of himself he’s rarely shown on or off camera. In this diary-like look at his life since A Work in Progress, Connor talks about his battles with clinical depression, social anxiety, self-love, and acceptance; his desire to maintain an authentic self in a world that values shares and likes over true connections; his struggles with love and loss; and his renewed efforts to be in the moment—with others and himself.
Told through short essays, letters to his past and future selves, poetry, and original photography, Note to Self is a raw, in-the-moment look at the fascinating interior life of a young creator turning inward in order to move forward.
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One of the greatest fears we have as human beings is to embrace our own truths. More often than not, we paint over them — covering them with false smiles, bold words, or textured skins — too afraid the world won’t accept us for who we are. All it takes is one person strong enough to shed their layers for us to find courage to do the same.
Fortunately for Connor Franta, embracing his own truth has proven to be a lucrative venture. For millions of his die-hard fans, the 25-year old superstar is more than just a “YouTuber.” He is a social influencer who is merging business and culture, almost effortlessly.
The best-selling author of 2015’s A Work in Progress: A Memoir, Franta is also cofounder of the lifestyle brand Common Culture, which has nearly 300,000 followers on social media and continues to grow from curating coffee and music mixtapes to offering clothing. His record label, Heard Well, has produced a number of best-selling compilation CDs, including from YouTuber Tyler Oakley and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas. He’s been featured on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine and, in 2016, won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite YouTube Star.
Now the self-made millionaire has a new book, Note to Self, and is looking to the future in the only way he knows how: by focusing inward. After all, being introspective was the initial catalyst for Franta’s success. But becoming his own brand has required him to be the center of attention — and that’s a role he had to get used to.
“Growing up, I was never the front-and-center kid,” he explains. “I was kind of three rows back. I definitely didn’t sit in the front row in class. I didn’t want to be onstage, nothing like that. So it was almost an acquired taste to be an entertainer or whatever it is I classify myself as nowadays. It’s something I’ve had to learn how to deal with. But I’ve come to really enjoy it.”
Still, Franta makes a conscious effort to maintain a “three rows back” kind of attitude with his brands by not placing his face on packaging, and instead relying on quality to sell products — a strategy he hopes will give his brand staying power. It seems to be paying off.
He opens up about depression, anxiety, self-love, and more.
Connor Franta might have millions of followers across his various social media accounts, but he’s still anxious about his sophomore book Note to Self finally getting into the hands of his fans. Following the success of his New York Times bestselling memoir A Work in Progress while still balancing his lifestyle brand Common Culture and various other projects including his coffee line, Connor was prepared to open up about parts of himself that don’t always make it to his uber-popular YouTube videos: depression, self-love, and other dark spots on the back of his otherwise effervescent mind (which is aptly the title of one of his book’s pieces).
The 23-year-old had been working on Note to Self for about 18 months, however, it wasn’t initially a book. They started off literally as notes to himself, the kinds that any person keeps in their phone’s Notes app or Twitter drafts. He had penned poetry, essays, little quotes, and messages to himself for cathartic reasons and after about six months of doing that, he realized he had quite a large assortment — enough to put together a second book.
Connor describes the amalgamation as a “chaotic collection” of his mind in a way, an inside peek at a period of his life that was a total rollercoaster. And every aspect of the book has Connor’s touch; he took all the stunning photos in conjunction with the notes he was writing, meticulously selected all the book’s fonts, the colors, and even the spacings. The supreme attention to detail is obvious throughout all of Note to Self.