Author Janine Jellars Shares Her Simple Wellness Routine

by | Dec 11, 2023 | Wellness

Former magazine editor Janine Jellars wrote her debut novel When The Filter Fades six years ago as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November 2017. Her aim? To write 1,667 words a day in order to complete a 50,000-word first draft manuscript within one month. More than anything, this was a creative challenge that she’d set out for herself.

“After I left journalism, I spent less, and less time writing on a daily basis and felt alienated from that part of my identity. But, the beauty of writing is that it’s a craft and wellness practice and the only pre-requisite for calling yourself a writer is to sit at your laptop and get to writing,” she shares, adding that she wanted to explore the joy of writing and challenge myself in a different way. “So, I tried my hand at fiction.”

READ MORE: Enjoy Your Downtime (Without Feeling Guilty) In 3 Easy Steps

The Difference Between Writing Fiction and Non-Fiction

I actually wrote When The Filter Fades before I wrote my first book The Big South African Hair Book, which I found a much more familiar and comfortable experience given that it was non-fiction, fact-based and an extension of reportage. With fiction, there’s obviously a lot of imagination involved, there’s research too, but there’s a lot of thinking things through, problem-solving the plot and speaking to myself out loud to feel if the dialogue sounds real and authentic.

It also played with many of my anxieties – I had to push through procrastination, I constantly questioned why I was taking certain characters in certain directions, the characters deal with their own traumas and mental health challenges so there was also some excavation involved in the process.

In terms of putting the book out into the world, the difference between fiction and non-fiction was night and day. With The Big South African Hair Book, given that it was non-fiction, it could be fact-checked, the messaging was very clear. When The Filter Fades was so different for me – it’s so open to interpretation and governed by the audience’s likes and dislikes. And for someone like me who likes control, and is a recovering perfectionist, it’s been tough, but rewarding. 

Nourishing Her Body

I’m definitely a ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ person. I cannot function without breakfast, and I am an oats devotee. Cooked rolled oats, with almond milk, 7 raw almonds, blueberries, and bananas. To me, that’s the only way I can kickstart the day. When writing, I snack quite a bit – there’s something about chewing that keeps me focused. 

READ MORE: How To Reflect On The Year You’ve Had – And Prepare For The Year Ahead

The Demands Of Writing

Writing for me is deeply necessary. It’s clarity, it’s tangibility. Feelings, thoughts, intentions, plans… things do not feel real to me unless they’re archived and written. I’m working hard at making writing a daily practice – I’m following The Artist’s Way’s Morning Pages practice – because it definitely provides me with so much clarity and helps me process how I understand the world. I’m a list-maker, a letter writer, a note-taker and now a novelist. So much in the world feels ephemeral and disposable and finding practices where we can hold onto things for a little bit longer definitely feels like a luxury. 

Learning To Relax

I have a really hard time with the concept of relaxation. But being intentional about certain routines helped me immensely. Morning Pages first thing in the morning is definitely something I enjoy – I freeform write for three pages.

I am also newly converted to Pilates – not exactly the most relaxing thing I’ve ever done, but there’s something special about feeling yourself getting stronger. And last but not least, reading – everything from romance novels, to sociological non-fiction.  

READ MORE: 15 Wellness Journals To Kickstart Your Year

Her Sources Of Strength

I don’t want to make it to the end of my journey without feeling like I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do – there are so many childhood dreams I want to fulfil. I do so many things for ‘Younger Me’. I have definitely started growing in my faith as I’ve grown older. And cognitive behavioural therapy helps a lot! 

What She Wants Readers To Take Away From Her Latest Book

On one level, it’s a sizzling, fun summer read – so I want readers to have a good time, get lost in my character’s world and immerse themselves in the drama and intrigue. But, on a deeper level, I wanted to explore how we women mediate our lives, how we represent and misrepresent ourselves, what drives our behaviours, insecurities, and deepest desires, and how we fight battles with ourselves and amongst one another for status, power and money. 

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This