Featured Writer on Wellness: J. T. Twissel

Filed in Writers on Wellness by on April 6, 2016 • views: 1714

Jan HeadshotI destroyed both my knees playing soccer with a group of parents who didn’t learn the sport until they were over thirty-five, but envied their children and wanted to learn a game which should only be played by the young.

For me, the biggest physical challenge of writing is standing up after I’ve been sitting too long. My poor knees are like spaghetti noodles unless I get up and move often.

Pilates Is Great For Writers!

I adhere to a thirty minute Pilates routine every evening at exactly 4 p.m. (unless I’m on vacation). I can’t recommend Pilates enough for writers. The stretches and the core strengthening exercises make a world of difference in preventing stiffness.

After Pilates I reward myself with a glass of wine and a walk around the garden. If I approach the computer later in the evening it’s generally to get involved in some goofy hashtag event. They can be addictive if, like me, after a glass of wine and writing all day, you tend to get a little goofy.

Not Everyone is Going to “Get” What You Write

Gosh, I’ve suffered from all of the above [emotional challenges] but to be honest, it’s the reaction of friends who don’t understand why my previous life as a mother, co-worker and travel partner was not enough.

And I can’t explain in a way that makes any sense for them.

Oh, they are supportive, but I can’t tell if they’re being honest (or if I would want them to be honest!).

Friends are not the best people to read your work and comment and that’s a hard lesson to learn.

I try to keep in mind that not everyone is going to “get” what I write, even and especially close friends who feel that they know me well. Thus, I’ve learned to keep the writing part of my life separate from friends and family (unless they ask, of course).

One of the hardships I have to overcome as a writer: keeping the kitty out of my writing chair!

One of the hardships I have to overcome as a writer: keeping the kitty out of my writing chair!

I Refuse to Make a Fuss at Book Launches

My darkest moment came after the publication of my first book, Flipka. My publisher had convinced me that if I didn’t have thirty-five five star reviews, advanced publicity, back-to-back book signings and launch parties galore my book would rot faster than three-day-old fish.

So I worked myself up into quite a tizzy begging and harassing friends and family and other writers to “read my book!!!” and leave reviews. Then I spent a fortune on a release party certain beyond a doubt I’d alienated the whole world with my behavior and no one would come to my pathetic event.

Luckily a close friend, also in the publishing business, stood by with tape and glue to literally hold me together. Since that dark moment I’ve refused to make a fuss at book launches.

Oh, I’ll do the usual give-aways and support on my blog but there’s only so much tape and glue in the world.

Who Has Kept Me On My Path? My Grandmother’s Ghost

I’d have to say ghosts.

My grandmother died on a dreary November eve in 1998. At that time I’d been writing a long, long time, always feeling guilty I was wasting time which could be spent cleaning the house, volunteering or actually making money.

I guess it was the way I was raised. Knowing my grandmother’s fervent belief that a woman’s place was in the home, I took my grief to the kitchen and began scouring the stove.

“What are you doing?” she snapped, her voice loud and demanding. “Who will write my story? Get back to your computer!”

I was confused but I obeyed. My gram was not someone to argue with.

JanSculpt 2

From my sculpting days – my self-portrait.

Advice for a Young Writer: Build a Following Before Launching a Book

It’s so difficult to make a name for oneself these days that I would advise anyone wanting to be a writer to begin by submitting articles to on-line magazines.

Build a following before attempting to launch a book.

However, despite well-meaning marketing advice, don’t write the next Fifty Shades of Grey or Harry Potter just because it might sell. Write what’s in your heart or your grandmother might have to come haunt you!

* * *

JT Twissel is the pseudonym of a writer and artist living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the author of three novels: Flipka (Amateur Sleuth), the Graduation Present (Humorous Coming of Age/Adventure) and Willful Avoidance. 

To find out more about JT and her work, please see her blog, or connect with her on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, and Wattpad.


WAfinalWillful Avoidance: Willful Avoidance is the story of a woman who from the outside has it all—a successful husband, a home in a desirable neighborhood, and two healthy children.

But it’s all smoke and mirrors.

When the curtain falls, she is left with a conniving ex, a string of temp jobs from hell, and a tax debt she couldn’t pay off in a million years. Enter a no-nonsense tax attorney who’d rather be rescuing horses. Sparks fly between the two from the beginning. Fourteen years of tax cases have left him with a hard and cynical shell while she is ready to do battle, confident that they will win.

The title is from a section of the tax code designed to provide relief for women who were duped and mislead by an ex-spouse.

Available on Amazon.

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Comments (11)

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  1. “Write what’s in your heart.” What good advice! It’s the only path to authenticity, and although it can be scary, I think it’s the only way to reach the reader.

    But I love the idea of my grandmother’s voice, too!

    Thanks for a great post.

    • Jan says:

      Thank you Ann Marie and thanks again Colleen! I generally don’t hear voices but my grandmother’s voice was quite distinct and the message so unusual considering the source!

  2. Lisa Reiter says:

    Nice to find this lovely writing post through #SundayBlogShare. Pilates is the only way I manage to spend ANY time at my computer – chronic back problems and all that boring yadda!

    • Jan says:

      Thanks Lisa – Colleen has the most amazing blog. I’m jealous! Without Pilates I would be like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz – “where’s the oil can???”

      • Admin says:

        Thanks for the kind comments, Jan. Ha ha ha. I’ve had that Tin Man feeling often as well! :O)

  3. Jan, it’s all luck of the draw this pub game. Success is writing what you want and getting it finished. Amen. the rest is jam. Good piece.

  4. Mary Alice Lynch says:

    Great blog! Sat this morning with, “What do I want to do or be when I grow up?”…. Is this it? Have I become a caretaker until I need to be taken care of? F*** this shit! Love you!

    • Jan says:

      I hear you Mary Alice! Being in our positions as caretakers makes it more imperative to take good care of ourselves! Thanks for stopping by Colleen’s blog. I’m sure you’ll find some great articles here! Love you too, Jan.

  5. Jan says:

    Thank you so much Colleen! : )