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Writer Jung Yeo-Wool

Developing a healthy mind by facing your true self





Most people bury their painful memories deep inside their hearts. They don’t have the courage to face them, for they fear what will happen next. However, writer Jung Yeo-Wool recommends people overcome their traumas by facing their inner wounds no matter how painful they might be. She turns into a healer that also has pains and candidly but composedly talks about them. Following is an interview of writer Jung, who sometimes gives warmth and sometimes the courage to face the pain with her “psychological therapeutic essays.”


Please introduce yourself to the subscribers.


Hello, I’m writer Jung Yeo-Wool. I had been working as a literary critic, but now I’ve leaned more to being a non-fiction writer. I was attracted to non-fiction as I could talk about more various stories in various fields without limitations. The genres of my books are largely divided into humanities, psychology, and traveling. I am currently writing books, traveling, studying psychology, and giving lectures on classics.




Top 10 Places I Loved in Europe, Introvert Traveler


You’ve published 52 titles. Is there a particular book that you were impressed by, or loved the most?


Yes, the most impressive book is the one I’m working on right now. Titled The Courage to Finish a Story, it’s a book about writing and a collection of the lectures I’ve been giving until now. Among the travel books, Top 10 Places I Loved in Europe (Hongik Books) was the most well-known among the public. But Introvert Traveler (Hainaim) is closer to the type of book I wanted to write. This book was not a bestseller like Top 10 Places I Loved in Europe, but it includes all the stories I wanted to share with travel manias as there were no restraints in writing at all. As it also talks about how the shy, introverted girl changed her personality and mentality throughout the journeys, I find myself more attached to it. Other books that explain psychology in an easy language for the public include To Me Not Taking Care of Me (Gimmyoung Publishers, Inc.) and One Short Psychology Class a Day (Wisdom House).



Finding the power strong enough to fight against the monster inside you is my task for writing stories.



How do you want “Written by Jung Yeo-Wool” to be introduced to overseas publishers?


Well, I have a habit of seeking dramatic, touching stories of those who have finished the toughest adventure by devoting their entire life to it, going beyond an imaginative world where you just satisfy with the sweet fairy-tale imagination. I always crave stories of people packed with passion, no matter how the world does not recognize them. The moment when your true ego bursts out unexpectedly from your inside, where you have never imagined you would have such tremendous power within, is the time where your true potential is exhibited. When the brightest power inside you goes beyond the ego trapped inside the mannerism of reality and gushes out, you get the power strong enough to fight against the monster inside you whispering “You will not be able to do it,” “You’ll fail once again,” and “The people will not recognize you.” Finding this power is my task for writing stories. I think that we are all fighters struggling with the scariest monster inside us called fear.
I remember being bullied so severely when I was young. And I think that the whole process of myself overcoming that experience and becoming an author has given hope to many people. I might look like a very boring kind of a scholar from a far, but once you come closer, you’ll see how my life is full of ups and downs. I’ve put so much effort into changing my introverted personality. And it is difficult to explain how I could go through such complicated courses in life. But it is possible in books. There are stories where a pen can do better than a mouth. I would say that my writing style and characteristics are reflected in my idea where I believe that the numerous glorious consolation matches one cannot explain verbally are books.



To Me Not Taking Care of Me


What is the power psychological essays give to readers?


I studied psychology, trying to fix my vulnerable mind easily hurt by others. Learning why I’m hurt by others was of great help to me. So, the concept of “a healer with pains” gave me courage. People who have pains have the power to heal others, and as you have experienced it already, it works like a vaccine and boosts resistance against other pains as well. And I felt that people who have had various pains can sympathize more with others put in similar situations.
The book To Me Not Taking Care of Me can be referred to as the representative “psychology book written by Jung Yeo-Wool,” where readers can apply tips to their daily lives at ease with fun. It is for those who only focused on the outer “ego” and could not look into their “selves.” In short, the former “Me” in the title refers to “self,” and the latter “Me” refers to “ego.” So, “ego” is one’s social self, while “self” is one’s inner self. Ego is one’s outer self ceaselessly exposed to people who care about what others think. But as modern people are too focused on how others think about them, they seemed to be neglecting their true self hidden deep inside themselves. So, your outer appearance is your ego, and the part hidden inside is your self. Those that know how to take care of their inner “selves” were found to be very resilient against outer pain. I aim to write stories that can help readers build tolerance against pain and recover from it without help.
The goal of this book is to help readers build the power of self-treatment so that they, who worry they might have depression, can cure themselves without having to go to a hospital. So, it’s like... the muscle of your mind that can take care of yourself before emotional diseases such as depression and panic disorder get worse. I wanted to write stories where readers can develop immunity of their minds. I think I could pump up that muscle in my mind just by clearly distinguishing between my ego and self, making my life more prosperous and warm. So, I am studying ways to improve our minds without getting medical help in our daily lives.


* Find To Me Not Taking Care of Me, the healer for exhausted minds, in the video (ASMR) link below with English subtitles.


Project Monthly Jung Yeo-Wool is quite impressive. What is it, and what made you start it?


It usually takes years to publish a book. For example, stories I wrote three years or ten years ago are published today, making them lose timeliness. That was frustrating. That’s why I began Monthly Jung Yeo-Wool in the form of a magazine. I wanted to share the ideas I have right now with readers within a month, organizing the series with twelve editions. As I write more than I can publish, only a part of them could be made into books. Many manuscripts that lack consistency were omitted as I believe books should be consistent in the story. So, I collected those left-out parts and put them in a magazine.
Inconsistency, to me, has a positive meaning referring to the ability to encompass various things into one. Things like “allokdallok (colorfulness),” “warak (hug),” “dorandoran (friendly talk),” and stuff are not a topic. So, the only thing they need is a similar feeling. Yes, that’s why I began the magazine – I thought that I might be able to include more diverse stories. The magazine had inconsistency and realism where I can show my fresh ideas and send books to regular subscribers. While it is too time-consuming to make a book, issuing magazines are fun as they can become a real-time broadcaster of my life, sharing thoughts I have right now.


The Monthly Jung Yeo-Wool series


What kind of book is the new title One Short Psychology Class a Day?


I was requested by the publisher to write this book. They wanted me to write it from the viewpoint of the general public, where anyone can learn psychology by reading it one page a day, just like writing a diary in daily life, rather than learning difficult notions of psychology. Limited time was the most frustrating thing when I gave lectures, as I couldn’t explain all the ideas of psychology within the two hours usually given for a lecture. So, I thought of making the book like a workshop. I included “healing actions” where the readers can apply psychology in their daily lives, just like keeping a plant. The guilt for killing a plant is painful indeed. There’s no way but to make the next plant survive until the end to overcome that pain. This is the resilience of your mind. Your heart might have been wounded from the past, but you become better in the future. I thought it would be great if psychology could practically change our lives rather than approaching it from an academic perspective memorizing notions. Once you practice psychology in your daily life, you will be able to heal yourself without getting help from medical specialists. There are fundamental issues that cannot be resolved no matter how good the medicine could be. The only way is to study yourself. Sometimes, you fear why your mind thinks about bad things. I think you should look into it, take care and cure it.
If you try to make your ordinary life beautiful and abundant like an artwork, you will naturally get to read more books, have an interest in art, go to exhibitions, and listen to many musical pieces. Finding cultural stimulus continuously reduces the time your mind is depressed in pain and fear. One other way is to not think about yourself too much. All the worries of modern people converge to “ego.” “Ego” is me, evaluated by others. You get anxious as you think too much about how others might think of you. You’re monitoring yourself. As you care too much about “What is that person going to think about me when I say this?” you fail to express your true inner self. Save that time and invest it in reading books, listening to music, and studying art. It’s way more helpful. I think the most important “healing action” for me was letting go of covering myself with fanciness and making myself happy, increasing artistic, cultural stimulus.



One Short Psychology Class a Day


What are your future plans?


I want to write more various stories. I want to try a critical biography about an attractive historical figure, and an analysis of modern people’s changed lives after the pandemic seen from a psychological viewpoint. I became highly interested in the environment as well. Climatologists say that there will be a serious climate disaster within 30 years, making many people climate refugees losing their homes. Only a single degree increase in Earth’s average temperature is a climate disaster. But you know what, it has already happened. The icebergs are melting, the ozone layer is destroyed, and more countries are lacking water. These are very serious issues, but we do not recognize them. We will do so when the sea level rises and islands submerge in water several years later. I hope there are more people like Greta Thunberg who act for the environment in daily life. Only we can save the warming Earth. This is why I have many thoughts about climate change and the environment.
The next book is The Courage to Finish a Story, a book about writing, and the other is The Path to Walden, an essay. Writer Henry David Thoreau did not study psychology but took care of himself excellently with the power of nature, literature, and writing. I got many hints from the realization that writing in nature with books itself has changed his life. It is also important for us to save energy in cities and pursue living with nature. I am studying how to take care of my own “Walden” in urban life. And I’m also preparing to write stories about how to live a life that does not destroy nature as much as possible and how to take care of your own little “Walden” in the city.



I hope I can read and write books where readers can go beyond “self-consolation” to “true fundamental treatment” and grow together.



Is there anything you would like to say to the subscribers?


Franz Kafka said that books should be “an axe that breaks the frozen ocean.” I think good books are those that make you feel bad. Good books are not sweet, but needles that hurt your feelings. Books that only heal your mind cannot be called good books. My books might be uncomfortable and painful for my readers. But that’s the beginning of treatment. In other words, it’s like pain for the cure. Sweet healing words are a temporary painkiller. It may ease your pain for a while, but things will get back to ground zero the next day. I believe that books should make us feel pain, just like the axe that breaks the frozen ocean, in order to heal yourself from the basics. In such an aspect, I think I had been very careful in writing as I myself was a shy person.
But now I get to think that I should write books that hurt the readers’ feelings. If I had been doing it bit by bit implicitly before, I began to think that I want to explicitly break our frozen hearts even though it might be painful for readers and myself. No matter how painful it could be, I hope people can meet their better selves. All the books that are difficult to read but help us face our true selves are indeed helpful. In this aspect, I hope I can read and write books where readers can go beyond “comfort” to “confront,” and “self-consolation” to “true fundamental treatment” and grow together through lectures and seminars.
My next upcoming book is The Courage to Finish a Story (Gimmyoung), a book about writing. It will be published in July. I edited highlights from the past lectures on writing and reorganized them in the format of a lecture. I hope it can be helpful for those that dream of writing stories. Thank you.




Organized by Lee Ji-Hyeon



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