Featured Writer on Wellness: J. C. Andrijeski

Filed in Writers on Wellness by on July 27, 2017 • views: 1322

JCProbably lack of time to exercise is my biggest physical challenge as a writer, as that causes other problems like back problems, aches/pains, insomnia, and weight gain.

I’ve had to be really strict about working some amount of exercise into my daily routine, or it doesn’t seem to happen, which usually means getting up earlier in the morning to work out for at least a minimal amount before I leave the house.

I can’t really rely on “oh, I’ll go to the gym later” since work stuff often comes up and then I don’t end up doing anything at all.

Bangkok

Bangkok

After I Pulled a Muscle, Twisted My Ankle, and Wrenched My Back, I Realized Something Had to Change

I’m getting old enough now that I have to worry about throwing my body out of whack if I don’t do certain things. I can’t really even skip days anymore, which kind of sucks, lol.

After I pulled a muscle, twisted my ankle and wrenched my back (all in a matter of two months), I realized I needed to make some changes. So I get up early every day now (see above), do yoga and sit-ups before I leave the house, and walk to where I work offsite so I get at least 10-15K steps a day.

Walking is a big mental and physical health thing for me, and I really feel a difference when I have to work at home for whatever reason rather than walk somewhere to work off-site. I also try to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

More and more, though, I have to make sure any exercise is a part of my schedule or it doesn’t happen reliably. I also had to quit coffee because it was giving me some kidney issues, and I’m trying to eat better. That means more healthy food and most days I try to have at least one big salad a day so I get enough raw greens.

Luckily, that’s pretty easy to do here in Bangkok—every grocery store has a really nice salad bar, fruit is everywhere, Thai food is mostly pretty healthy and they have awesome sushi here, too.

Being a Writer Means Being On An Endless Learning Curve

Honestly, probably uncertainty / money worries are my biggest emotional challenges.

There are definitely times when I get way too worried about things I can’t control, and that just have to do with the up and down nature of this industry in general.

Before I wrote full time, I had corporate jobs that had their own problems, but inconsistent paychecks wasn’t one of them. So that’s been an adjustment, just dealing with the rapid change in this industry and learning to live with uncertainty.

Also, I’ve had to learn when to be conservative in relation to change and when to take risks. I don’t tend to worry about the work much anymore. Meaning, I enjoy writing and writer’s block isn’t generally an issue for me. It’s pretty rare that I’m so stressed that I can’t get into a creative space, although it does happen.

I generally am happy while writing, and promotion can be frustrating but it doesn’t bum me out or anything. I more feel like I’m on an endless learning curve with everything all the time, lol, whether writing, promotion, business planning, etc.

Writing spot in Bangkok.

Writing spot in Bangkok.

Spending Too Much Time Online Gets Me Too Wrapped Up In My Own Problems

To help myself cope, I meditate. I’ve wondered if that’s why I don’t suffer from a lot of the stress/depression problems that seem pretty endemic for a lot of writers.

I also try to make sure I get outside every day, and I value my face-to-face relationships and everyday encounters with people, even strangers. Online friendships are fantastic too, of course, but for me it’s really important to engage with real people in the flesh, and to see everyone around me as equally valuable and important.

I’ve really noticed that I get too wrapped up in my own problems when I spend all of my time online. I also get more down on the world and more cynical in general.

Travel is also a really great thing for me, if I’m feeling kind of mentally stuck. Living in Bangkok means I can travel really cheaply to nearby countries, so that helps.

I also very consciously live in cities so I don’t get too isolated from other people, since that’s a danger for me, too (and with writers in general, I suspect). I also love nature, so I try to hit the parks here when I can and spend time in nature whenever I travel.

Me with a friend in Vietnam.

Me with a friend in Vietnam.

When Not Everyone Wants You to Succeed

Suffice it to say, sometimes not everyone around you wants you to succeed. Sometimes people will go to great lengths to see you fail, in fact, which can be disheartening on a number of levels.

One, that someone could harbor so much ill will towards you in the first place can be a bit shocking, especially if you’re not the kind of person who ever goes after other people in a malicious way. Two, often it works, at least in a limited/temporary way—meaning, there are ways to really mess up someone’s livelihood in this business that can take a while to recover from.

Three, (and this was really hard for me), sometimes the person who harmed you is never held accountable. So… life isn’t fair, I guess would be the short version? (lol)

I think that still shocks my justice-loving heart, but hey, it’s part of living on this big blue rock, and something we all have to learn to deal with. It really helped me in terms of perseverance.

As hokey as it sounds, sometimes you have to go through things like that to realize they won’t destroy you, that you can make it to the other side. After that, you don’t get as afraid of other people. At the end of the day, they can only stop you if you let them.

I Go a Bit Nuts When I Don’t Write

I have a sense of purpose, I guess you could say, that keeps me on my path. It’s tied up pretty intimately with the writing, and I do get the incessant voices from characters, too.

Also, I go a bit nuts when I don’t write, so I guess it’s a combination of the above. Really, that’s always a hard question for me to answer. I’ve basically been writing my whole life, so I can’t imagine not doing it at this point.

If I wasn’t a writer, I’d probably be meditating in a cave somewhere. I’m actually not kidding, saying that… I’d probably go to Nepal or India and meditate full time.

Me in Goa, India.

Me in Goa, India.

Advice for a Young Writer: A Full-Time Writing Career is a Ton of Work

I would want to know why they wanted to be a writer, first. The advice is going to vary so much, depending on what they want.

So many people get into this hoping for instant fame/money and that’s a LOT harder than it looks from the outside. Also, going into writing for the money is a very different path than someone who has a specific “thing” they want to express. Those two paths can even be incompatible at times, frankly, unless you’re able to marry them in some way.

In simple terms, if you want the money/fame thing, the hardest part for you is probably going to be the writing itself. I would recommend to someone like that to study bestsellers, learn the genres, learn the sub-genres, learn the tropes of those genres and sub-genres, learn how to outline and hit beats, learn the nuts and bolts of writing itself, study dialogue, study screenplays, and read, read, read.

If you’re more like me and have a drive to express a particular thing (and already read/write obsessively), then the hard part is probably going to be figuring out how to sell the danged things you write, unless you naturally write down-the-line, nails-a-popular-genre and hits-all-the-genre-tropes kinds of books to begin with.

If that isn’t where your instincts lead you, you either need to figure out how to make your work more like that, or else develop the patience and perseverance needed to find your readers without riding the wave of already-popular works.

Either way, in all honesty, a full-time writing career is a ton of work. I don’t know many bestsellers who don’t work their tails off (there are a few, but they are huge exceptions). I don’t ever want to discourage anyone who really wants to write, but the truth is, there are a lot easier ways to make money. So if you don’t really care about the writing itself, I’d probably find something else to do.

Unfortunately, of course, most new/beginning writers don’t want to hear that and are convinced they will be one of the lottery-winners, lol, but that’s human nature, too, so good luck to them!

Nepal.

Nepal.

* * *

J. C. Andrijeski is a USA Today bestselling author who writes paranormal mysteries and apocalyptic fiction, often with a sexy, romantic and metaphysical bent. J. C. has a background in journalism, history and politics, and loves martial arts, yoga, meditation, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, painting… and of course reading and writing.

She grew up in the Bay Area of California, but travels extensively and has lived abroad in Europe, Australia and Asia, and from coast to coast in the continental United States. She currently lives and writes full-time in Bangkok, Thailand.

To learn more about J. C. and her writing, please visit her website, or connect with her on Facebook and Bookbub.


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