Why I write with Katja Pantzar

Dear All

I hope you are keeping safe and well during this difficult time. During the summer I read “The Finnish Way – Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness Through the power of Sisu” by Katja Pantzar. She writes of the meaning of Sisu that “It’s about not giving up, especially when things get tough”

I think we could all do with the power of Sisu now and I am going to read this book again. I urge you to read it too. I found it so inspirational that I felt I had to write to her and Katja kindly agreed to be interviewed. I’m delighted to share this with you. Thank you so much Katja.

Katja Pantzar was raised in Canada with stints in the UK and New Zealand, she is a Helsinki-based writer, editor and journalist. Her most recent book The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness and Happiness Through the Power of Sisu (Penguin Random House USA) is about the Nordic lifestyle, wellbeing and resilience. She’s currently at work on a non-fiction title called Daily Sisu, a follow-up to The Finnish Way, which has been translated into 20 different languages.

What brought you to writing? Why write? 

“As a child I fell in love with reading books. I started writing and making my own little books, complete with waxed paper jackets to emulate the library book covers of the time. I started writing because I love storytelling for the journeys it takes me on. Growing up, I was the slightly odd immigrant kid (my family immigrated to Canada from Finland via New Zealand) and I cherished how disappearing into a book often made me feel accepted and provided a great escape from daily life. I wanted to share that good feeling with others by writing stories they would (hopefully) enjoy.”

Why do you write?

“I write for a living so it’s everything from journalism (the daily news) to copy-writing, non-fiction books, and hopefully fiction some day. Two of my areas of specialism are wellbeing and mental health. I write because it helps me to make sense of the world and it makes me happy— it has been my dream to be a writer since I was about 9 or 10 years old.”

How does it make you feel? Is it helpful? 

“Whenever possible, I try to choose writing assignments that offer solutions and inspiration to readers, i.e. text to make the world a slightly better place by sharing useful information. This type of writing and so-called solutions journalism make me feel as though I’m making a positive contribution, which is important to me, especially during these very unusual and challenging times.”

Do you have a routine or process as you write? 

“I have an ancient but beloved laptop that I use for writing. I always have a notebook and a black pen beside me as I find making notes is essential to my idea-generating and writing process.”

Any further thoughts?

“Writing, like reading, helps me to make sense of the world. When something is bothering me, journaling often brings about a realization I would not necessarily have arrived at without pen and paper.”

You can find Katja on Instagram @katjapantzar