I am thrilled to introduce to you an amazing wellness writer, Chrissy Gruninger. Chrissy is an author, yoga teacher, happiness mentor and received her Graduate Degree in Integrative Health and Sustainability from Sonoma State University in 2008. She is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and owns Social [media] Wellness, an online business management firm and ChrissyGruninger.com.
Chrissy empowers individuals in creating more harmony in their lives and supports professionals in creating more harmony in the world. She offers personalized mentoring based on her signature approach, Inherent Harmony, as well as online business management for wellness and eco companies committed to spreading positive energy.
What inspired your latest book?
Moving abroad, becoming an entrepreneur and living in a foreign language and culture…All at the same time. How could I not write a book about that! My latest book, Lost and Found in the Land of Mañana – Wildhearted Living in an Imperfect World, is actually a continuation of two other previous books.
However, this book looks completely different than what I originally thought I’d write about. Even the title is a complete 180 from the working title I had when I first moved to Costa Rica, which was: Sundresses and Sandals, My Life on the Rich Coast. What I thought I’d be writing and what I actually wrote look so very different. It honestly took me a while to make that shift and understand that the life I thought I’d be living (and writing about) did not end up becoming the reality.
What are common traps for aspiring women writers?
We’re afraid to show up and truly be ourselves. To be vulnerable. So often we want to please others which prevents us from writing our truth, or worse, writing at all. What we need to learn is that not everyone will 1) like everything we write and 2) like us. We must still speak our truth and not take negative feedback personally, understanding that we each see life in different ways.
Another issue that I often see is not writing in our authentic voice. Sometimes I read posts from other women and wonder if they actually wrote it as it doesn’t sound like something they’d write or as the person I know them to be. Often times that’s due to writing for someone else (rather than ourselves) which isn’t sustainable and doesn’t help us make strong connections with our readers.
What is your writing kryptonite?
I’m a very casual writer. I start sentences with And’s and But’s, I use kinda and gonna in my books, blogs and podcasts. Basically, I write like I talk. I know that doesn’t follow standard writing guidelines and it’s often looked down upon but what I’m sharing in my writing is ME. I want my readers to feel comfortable because if they ever met me in person, I’d want them to see that I sound just like I write. Walking my talk, being authentic – I can’t do that if I’m always following the rules.
Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you building a body of work with connections between each one?
I have two collections of books right now but that’s not how it started.
With the Rich Coast Experiences Collection, it simply started with Vicarious Adventures on the Rich Coast. And I thought that would be the end of it. But then I received an opportunity to work and live in Costa Rica and I decided to write a second book about my decision to move and the challenges I faced during that time (plus adding in travel stories as it was a continuation of the first book which was a travel guide and memoir). While writing the second book, No Fear, and with the knowledge that I’d be moving to Costa Rica, I decided I’d make it a trilogy.
Same with my Living Well Collection. It started off as an inspirational photography book, An Intentional Life, which then turned into 4 other similar coffee-table style books along with 2 nonfiction self-help books.
If you could tell your younger writing self one thing what would it be?
Write. Just write. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not a real job or it’s not a worthwhile venture. I loved writing as a kid but I put it aside. I got back into writing when I started grad school in my early 30’s and it reminded me how much I loved it. At that point, I knew it was my decision to pursue it as a viable career.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I realized I needed an editor and that actually gave me so much more freedom. I could just write and write and write and my editor would come in and clean it up, edit out my tirades (or, at least, soften them) and help me sort out the parts that were more difficult to pull together.
As a writer what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
The beautiful blue morpho butterfly. Strong yet delicate. Transformational. Flying over the world, taking everything in and then settling down on a leaf in quiet repose.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Most definitely, especially with the style of books that I write. The truth is often stranger than fiction and writing helps me sort it all out and explore life from many different perspectives.
What is your writing schedule like?
I don’t put myself on a strict writing schedule. I really prefer to let the ideas and words happen naturally. Ideas come to me all the time for new content, new books, new blogs and forcing myself to sit and write would harm my creative process. I don’t believe anyone can – or should – write a book in 90 days (or whatever the latest and greatest hype is).
In contrast to my flexible writing schedule, however, I do have a pretty strict editorial calendar that I follow. One of my main goals is to reach people through my writing and it’s important to me to always be producing quality content that they can depend on.
I have ideas through 2018 and most of 2017 is already written or recorded for a podcast. Although at times, I’ll make shifts to the schedule when I’m called to write something that is pertinent to what is happening in the world.
How does your family support you in your writing or writing schedule?
Well, my family right now are my two cats, Sunshine and Lluvia. But they are huge supporters of my writing. 😉
To further explore ways on how to live A Wildhearted Sanguine Life, one that embodies intentional and mindful action, please connect with Chrissy at chrissygruninger.com