Lisa Steingold is an author, coach and public speaker. Her articles have appeared in Shape, Odyssey, Psychologies and O, The Oprah magazine, and she has written three books. An avid adventurer, she has mountain biked across South East Asia, completed a half iron-man (woman?) and climbed Mount Kenya. I chat to her about how she got published, and what writing means to her.
What was your first published piece? And how many attempts did you have before being published?
I started writing in the corporate world in my role as marketer and my first piece was published in the Journal of Marketing in October 2008. It was a commissioned work, entitled “Sustainability as a Key Issue in Marketing”.
I then went on to approach O (The Oprah Magazine). I told them I was a life coach and that I would love to write for them. They were keen and I was published in April 2009.
I don’t know how many attempts I had before being published – that’s kind of a hard question. I have always been writing, whether it’s been in my journals or in newsletters as part of my job. Publishing just kind of happened.
Things actually happened the wrong way around for me. I got published first and then got plenty of rejection letters later on. My books are self-published.
Besides being published, was there a specific moment when you considered yourself a writer?
I don’t think of myself as a writer. I’ve always considered writing to be a passion! Thinking about it, I guess I am a writer, so I guess maybe now.
Writer’s block! What do you do when you get stuck for ideas on what to write?
I usually go out into nature. Or, I am quite lucky in that I can get ideas in my dreams – I will literally wake up with an idea!
Going through a life experience will also give me the theme for what I next need to write about.
Would you say that you write any differently today from 2 years ago? How so?
I think I do. I think my subject matter is a lot more researched. I explore a wider angle of an issue than before.
My writing style is the same though. I write quite personally as if I was having a conversation with someone. People have always said that they liked that about my writing, so I haven’t changed that.
Do you have a top tip for aspiring writers?
Yes, keep writing!
It’s really advice along the lines of the 10 000-hour of practice theory that Malcolm Gladwell speaks about in his book Outliers. He researched people that were exceptional in their field and found that they practiced all the time.
So it doesn’t matter what you write – blogs or journals or books – just keep writing.
And finally… do writers ever watch TV?
I don’t watch TV. I don’t know if other writers watch TV, but I watch people.
It’s tied into my work as a life coach of course, but I think that watching people is one of the most valuable things you can do.
About the Author:
A financial professional by day, Paula Correia writes on subjects that interest her whenever time permits. Some of her interests include travel, nature and environmental issues, as well as décor and product design. Her great loves are her raucous dogs and photography. She is an online news freak and enjoys the occasional episode of people watching.
Paula recently completed the Magazine Journalism Course at SA Writers’ College.