Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Christa Wojciechowski, a writer and internet genius. Between writing her blog, reading, and working, she writes some pretty awesome books, which you can read more about below!
Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I’ve been writing all my life, as soon as I could scratch out a story with my crayons in elementary school. I wrote picture stories about animals and rhyming poems. As I got older I began keeping journals.
In high school, I passed around outrageous short stories to my friends. Then I went on a long break from anything creative throughout my twenties. I was too busy partying to write, but I accumulated a lot of interesting material during this time.
After moving to Panama, I rescued a pelican who eventually was killed by my own dogs. It was tragic, and I finally felt this compulsion to write about him. That broke the ice, and then I wrote The Wrong David, which I published a few years later. But it wasn’t until November 2011 that I wrote my first full-length novel for NaNoWriMo. Since then, I just kept writing and now I can’t stop!
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I’m kind of a muse whore. They all come and go. My muse could be a writer, a painting, an actor, or a song of some kind that gets me going for a particular story. I‘ll wear that muse out during my writing process. I conjure it up everyday, doing my best not to lose the magic between us.
Unfortunately, these relationships are short-lived. It’s like when an addict builds a tolerance to their drug of choice. You just can’t get a buzz anymore. Then I have to let the muse go. It’s always sad and scary, but I have to keep the faith that I’ll find a new one, maybe even a better one.
Q: You offer several services including beta-reading, social media marketing, and eBook and Print formatting and publishing. How did you get started in this business? What about it do you like?
A: My career in internet marketing began when family members asked for help building websites for their small businesses. I wasn’t a pro or anything, just more computer literate than the rest. My aunt soon introduced me to Hubspot, and I went through all of my social media training through them. Then I enrolled in Google Analytics training and passed the SEO certification. Most everything I taught myself. There is such a wealth of free information and eCourses on the internet now that you can learn anything! Now I’ve got tons of experience under my belt, which is not something taught anywhere and is the most valuable asset of all.
Although I would’ve never expected a future in social media, I feel this career was my destiny. Living in Panama and traveling a lot, I have the freedom to work from anywhere. It also gives me the luxury of setting my own schedule so I can have time to work on my own projects. I’m developing an eCourse to teach others how to work as digital marketers from home or anywhere. You can sign-up for the beta course at http://workinginyogapants.com
Q: You moved from the United States to Panama. What was that experience like for you?
A: I’m not going to romanticize it. It was very difficult. As much as I love new places and new adventures, I missed my family a lot. I had to learn the language and how to understand a culture wholly different from mine.
Luckily, I’m an introvert and don’t mind keeping to myself, but excessive isolation isn’t good for anybody. You start to get weirder and weirder, especially when you spend most of your time with characters like mine.
Despite the challenges, it was worth it. Panama is a veritable paradise. The ocean, the mountains, and the city are all within a day’s drive. The beauty here is lush and wild and it never ceases to blow my mind. I’ve lived here for almost ten years now. It is my home, but I don’t recommend it for everybody.
Q: You are a yogi. When did you start doing yoga? How has it changed or influenced your life?
A: I always wanted to try yoga and was envious whenever I saw people performing these beautiful asanas. Would you believe I learned yoga from the internet too? My parents were the best and supported me through years of ballet when I was young. After so much conditioning, my body is hooked on having some sort of physical discipline. Yoga is also crucial to fighting backaches and stiffness from sitting at the computer too long. Yoga has changed my life in many ways. I’m stronger both physically and mentally.
I would suggest Yoga with Adriene for beginners. She’s a total dork and so much fun. Yoga Today can take you up to a more advanced level. Their instructors have an amazing way of describing how you should be aligning every muscle, bone, and tendon in your body. I just started a new one called Yogea that is very expressive and takes you out of the usual traditional poses. It’s great to get the creativity flowing. You can find them all on YouTube or their own websites.
Q: What writing projects are you working on at the moment? What can you tell me about them?
A: I just released Book II of the SICK series. It’s called SICKER. Now I’m working on, you guessed it, SICKEST. It’s a psychological suspense/thriller series about a very, very sick man.
My muse in this case was a nightmare. I wasn’t planning on releasing anything like this. I’d never written anything so dark before, but I’m kind of mystical when it comes to creative inspiration, so I acted on this dream.
I was really scared at first. The subject matter is very disturbing and I was afraid I’d put people off, but I’m so glad I followed my intuition. The series is getting a great response!
Q: Being a self-proclaimed “lit junkie”, what are your favorite books?
A: I am a devourer of classic literature. I have this app aptly called Free eBooks, which has enough classic lit to keep a person occupied for life. My favorites are the Russians (Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy), Oscar Wilde, and the Bronte’s. I was obsessed with Anne Rice as a teen. On the other hand, I love writers like Charles Bukowski, Douglas Adams, and Jerry Stahl, so I’m all over the place.
Q: What criteria does a book have to meet for you to consider it a “good book”?
A: A good book has to move me. I still enjoy books and movies that are purely for entertainment, but for a book to be good, it has to affect me on a deeper level. Life is so complex and confusing. I feel really disoriented as a conscious being here and now, and I gravitate toward authors who either clarify or commiserate with me on the aspects of the human experience I can’t figure out.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: I would just tell the people of the world to go for your passion. Find it. Live it–through all the ups and downs.
One of the greatest rewards of living overseas is gaining an outside perspective. Whenever I go back to the US I am shocked at the culture there–a culture I was born and raised in that made me miserable. Every commercial is either for a shiny, giant SUV or a pill. This is the modern American Dream: work for all these things that are supposed to mean a successful life, then buy a pill to help us cope when we’re not fulfilled.
I believe everyone has a unique gift they should cultivate, and they will only be happy when they follow their passion and make use of it. If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a painter, paint. If you’re just a dude who likes to fix cars, go fix cars like a boss. Buy into yourself, not the American Dream.
I’m distanced from American life and values, and even though I still feel a little bit lost, I’m grateful I’m not part of that scene anymore. It might sound weird, but I feel I’ve got a head start. I know where my happiness isn’t. That narrows things down a lot! Once you let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and start searching for who you really are, that’s when life gets interesting.
Find Christa online: