This interview is part of a series on bloggers of all kinds, where we get to know a little more about these writers that are changing the world, one post at a time.
Today we have a conversation with Lisa Gates who writes at Design Your Writing Life. I am a big fan of her blog and her weekly writing assignments. After we are done, be sure to get involved.
First, a few personal questions: Where did you grow up?
Aren’t you making a pretty big assumption? :-)
How did you get to where you are?
By being equal parts left brain, right brain–qualities that used to fight with each other until I began to see the how perfectly synergistic they are. Big picture vision, little picture action. Part artist, part linear/organizational. Part starry-eyed possiblity, part pragmatic realist. I now like to think of myself as being in the pragmatic possibility business.
Tell me a little about your work experience:
I have freelanced in one capacity or another all of my life, only occasionally detouring into staff positions. Early on I did freelance writing for newspapers and magazines while performing in plays and writing one-person shows and doing improv. I also did project work in marketing and PR for some of the biggies (Porter Novelli, Laufer Associates, etc.). I’ve picked zuccini, waited tables and even worked for a TV producer (he didn’t need much help except with his zipper, so that job only lasted three days.)
I think each and every job, every project, every role, has landed me where I am today. I now happily coach writers, entrepreneurs and dreamers, and inspire them to create compelling livelihoods and complete the projects they begin.
How about your education, formal, informal?
BFA in theatre, BA in Journalism, The Coaches Training Institute, and I think I’ll even give credit to Lankmark’s Curriculum for Living. All those ingredients create the alchemy of Design Your Writing Life.
What are the main interests that influence you?
Hiking, doing NIA, living simply, anti-consumption, reading, conscious parenting, deep conversation and laughing.
I know that laughing is important to you, and it is infectious! Do you have any hobbies?
I never know what to say to that question. My hobbies are my life. Writing, and inspiring magnificence. I love kayaking. And theatre. One hobby/interest I’d like to now pursue is to hook up with an organization in Africa in which I can directly work to protect and raise orphaned elephants. If your readers have some ideas, I’d love to hear what they are.
What was the last book that you read?
I’ve been reading tons of Raymond Carver short stories and I’m in the middle of Alice Hoffman’s The River King.
Tim Ferris’s book, The 4-Hour Work Week. But answering your questions here is seriously changing the metrics…
What is your most important accomplishment?
Raising my son. He’s a stellar human being, a deep thinker and a beautiful athlete. And he’s 11. A close second is being the editor of my father’s book, a historical fiction about Emerson. The book will be out in January some time, and I’ll no doubt be writing about the book and my process with my dad–who just turned 88. So, anybody who says “it’s too late” to write, act, paint, climb, sing, or change the world, is seriously in need of a perspective shift, wouldn’t you say?
What is your next big goal?
To create a writing conference for freelance writers/journalists who want to explore and commit to “green/change-the-world journalism.”
To generate passive income from creating online learning tools.
“Online learning tools“…we will have to come back to that idea later on. Your group teleconferences have been very helpful to the participants that I have talked to. I am very interested in the next step.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Coaching, speaking internationally, holding annual retreats and conferences, and being a household name. Did I just say that?
You did, and I am sure that day is not too far off. One more question, please: Who or what was your inspiration to start blogging?
Who: This is going to sound very name droppy, but it was Doc Searls. His son and my son are friends and went to the same school–before he moved to Boston.
What: To create a platform that was an authentic expression of my offerings.
Thank you, Lisa, for being part of the Productivity in Context community, and showing us how being productive is not all about “to-do” lists and cranking widgets. Good luck with your endeavors, and we’ll be keeping an eye on you.
Great questions. Thank you for asking! I love what you’re doing here for people, so keep creating this great mojo.