Featured Writer on Wellness: Crissi Langwell

Filed in Writers on Wellness by on May 28, 2015 • views: 2485

Crissi FeaturedThe biggest challenge is definitely getting up and moving!

When I’m on a roll, I just want to sit with my laptop for hours on end. At my 9-5 job, I’ll even use my lunch break to write when I’m in the middle of writing a novel!

That’s a lot of sitting. I have to remind myself to stop what I’m doing and move around a little before going back into my writing cave.

I do yoga almost daily to loosen my body and to keep my mind clear.

It’s amazing how just 30 minutes of yoga can detach me from any stress I’m feeling.

I love hiking! We have so many beautiful hiking trails here in Northern California that make it easy to get up and go when the weather is nice (and even when it’s not!).

Running Motivates Me to Eat Well

And I also re-started a Couch to 5K program, something that has always helped me to go from a sedentary lifestyle to running 3 miles easily. I’m only on week 3, so my muscles are still wondering what I’m doing to them. But I can already see how the running is getting easier.

Crissi on the beach with her dog, Jasper.

And because I’m running, I’m motivated to eat better, as well. I try to focus more on proteins and vegetables, something that isn’t so easy some days for this carb and sugar lover! But I’m trying to focus on the way foods make me feel.

Sugar and heavy carbs make me feel bloated and sluggish, and they also induce heavy food cravings, even when I’m not hungry. But when I stick to whole foods, I have much more energy and feel amazing.

What Do You Mean You Don’t Like My Story?

I love writing. It’s something I’ve done since I learned how to read, and it’s always been my best way of expressing myself. When I’m just writing for myself, it’s easy. I can get my thoughts out of my head and begin to make sense of whatever I’m going through.

Creating stories for people to read, however, can be a little trickier. Suddenly it’s not just my opinion that counts, it’s other people’s opinions, as well.

I learned early on that not everyone is going to like my stories. That’s a hard pill to swallow, because I love my stories, my characters, everything about my books! They’re my creations. So when someone doesn’t like my books, it’s like they’re saying they don’t like my children.

I’ve had to force myself to not take people’s opinions so personally.

Some people will be moved by my stories. And some people won’t. After all, I don’t like every book that’s popular right now, and that’s okay.

So the biggest emotional challenge is definitely to not let the critics’ voices be louder than the voices of people who love my stories, or even my own voice as I write. It’s not letting negativity keep me from continuing to share my stories.

Crissi talks about her book, "Forever Thirteen."

Crissi reads a chapter from “Forever Thirteen” to her writing group, Redwood Writers.

Focus on the Positive Feedback

Yoga has definitely become my way of coming back to center. I also lean on my faith in God and pray, especially when I feel overwhelmed.

What also helps is to know that there are people who love my books, many who reach out to me to let me know how a particular story touched them.

For every bit of negative feedback I receive, there are at least ten positive ones. I try to focus more on that, while also pulling any constructive criticism from the negative comments so that I can learn more on this writing journey.

Working with an Editing Team

My darkest moment also became my greatest moment in my writing career.

About a year and a half ago, I finished the rough draft of my upcoming book, Come Here, Cupcake. I was so proud of how this book turned out! I self-edited it, and then allowed one of my good friends, someone who is bursting with creativity, to read it and offer me any tips on where the story might need improving before I sent it off to my editor.

What I thought would be just a short process of adding in a few extra details turned out to be a massive rewrite of the whole story. 70,000 words, down the drain!

Crissi found it difficult to collaborate at first.

This was the moment Crissi got to hold her published book in her hands.

I teamed up with this friend and his fiancé, utilizing them as my developmental editors. In the beginning, I had a really hard time with this. I was a solo artist! I wrote my own stories! My original way of writing was to create a loose map of where I was going, and then write as the story led me. Often, I would veer way off track. But that was okay, since that was where the characters were leading me.

The new process, however, was to have story meeting with my developmental editors. We created a map of the story, but then went over each chapter in detail before I even wrote it. This felt strange at first, especially since I was working with a team.

But soon, the process started to feel more natural. By the time I hit the halfway mark, we were all on a roll. I just finished the rough draft of this new story this week, and I’m so excited about the way the story came out! I’m even looking forward to working with these two individuals for the second and third installment of this new series.

The One Thing That Keeps You On Your Path

The one thing that has kept me true to my path is most definitely my love of storytelling. I love everything about it—from writing my own stories to reading the newspaper and other people’s stories in books.

Growing up, I used to entertain my family with humorous stories I presented as gifts on birthdays and at Christmas. Now I get to present my stories to a much larger audience. I’m truly fortunate.

Crissi with her family.

Crissi with her family: husband Shawn is sitting next to her, with children (from left to right) Lucas, Summer, and Andrew.

Advice to a Young Writer

The hardest part about becoming an artist or writer is not letting discouragement dampen your enthusiasm for your craft.

You will meet naysayers along the way who will wonder when you’re going to stop fooling around, tell you this isn’t a real way to make money, tell you that you’re not good enough, make you believe you could be spending your time better, etc.

These naysayers come disguised as your friends, your parents, your coworkers and sometimes even yourself. But let me tell you, if you believe your art or writing is a vital part of your life, then don’t let anything or anyone get in your way.

First and foremost, never forget why you’re doing this in the first place, and then cling to that.

Then, on days when you feel like throwing in the towel, think on that soul-filling moment when you realized that art or writing was your life. Use that moment as your strength so that you never give up.

* * *

Crissi Langwell lives in Petaluma, California with her husband and their blended family of teens. She is the author of fiction novels, A Symphony of Cicadas, Forever Thirteen and The Road to Hope, as well as her upcoming novel, Come Here, Cupcake. When not writing novels, Crissi works for her local newspaper, “The Press Democrat,” and is the newsletter editor of her local writing chapter, Redwood Writers.

For more information on Crissi and her work, please visit her website, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

forever-thirteenForever Thirteen tells the tale of a boy who lived his life in fear of other people’s opinions of him, dying before he understood that he was the one holding himself back.

In his death, Joey discovers that it’s never too late to make things better, and he learns just how strong the bonds of friendship really can be.

This book is the sequel to A Symphony of Cicadas, and was awarded Honorable Mention in the 22nd annual “Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.”

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

revised-symphony-cover2A Symphony of Cicadas: Rachel Ashby is on the other side of life, looking in. Her fiance is trying to live without her, and failing.

Both are left clinging to a path that no longer exists, blind to the bridges they’re burning along the way.

A Symphony of Cicadas shares the surreal story of two worlds held together by the fragile strings of love, the grief in letting go, and the spiritual journey on the road towards healing.

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00030]The Road to Hope: The majority of us don’t really anticipate the worst happening to us. After all, bad things only happen to other people. And we don’t get to choose when other people become us.

Jill Johnson and Maddie Russo are two mothers who experience the earth-shattering impact of separate tragedies. Both 35-year-old Jill and 16-year-old Maddie fall victim to their personal circumstance, succumbing to a life neither of them plans for herself.

But a brief encounter between the two of them forces the path of their lives to change course, offering light to their despair, and setting a journey where hope leads the way.

Available at Amazon.

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Comments (4)

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  1. I actually seem to be the one person in this country who can’t stand to do yoga. But I find center in walking, bicycling, working in the yard. So helpful to find a way to move my body that I enjoy. It makes exercise something that enriches my life rather than a chore that needs to be crossed off a to-do list.

    Plus, cooking. Few things make me feel better than cooking.

  2. Cinda says:

    I “know” Crissi -a prolific writer, she puts me to shame. I follow her blog. I’ve been thinking about yoga for awhile now.
    Thanks for this post.

    • Crissi says:

      Aw, thank you, Cinda! Keeping active can still be a struggle for me. But whenever I run or do yoga, I definitely feel better, body and soul! I have a cool yoga app on my phone that keeps me going called “Yoga Studio.” Makes it so I can take a yoga class without leaving my home or spending a lot of money. 😉

      Btw, thank you so much, Colleen, for featuring me. This was one of the best interviews I’ve ever done, and had so much fun doing it. I’m honored that you reached out to me!

      • Colleen says:

        Thanks for the app recommendation, Crissi. Will have to check that out! Thank YOU for sharing your tips for wellness. So glad to have you!