Our interview with Lisa Shusterman is with someone who is also an author. She has written, Around the World in Easy Ways. Each of those interviewed has provided interesting starts with writing. Lisa started with a family blog that turned into a book.
Maralyn: Lisa, would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Lisa: I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, educated in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and spent my early career days in Washington, DC. In those days, the only writing I did was business letters as a Certified Financial Planner. Marriage took me to Cincinnati, OH where I traded in my previous career for a host of other entrepreneurial ventures. Still, writing was not in the picture. It wasn’t until 2008 when my family and I left for a one year around the world trip, did writing become a vocation.
Maralyn: How did you get started writing and blogging?
Lisa: As our family was planning for our year around the world, we knew we wanted and needed a format to communicate with family and friends. A travel blog seemed the most practical way to do this. We could tell everyone at once where we were, what we were doing and show them in pictures exactly what we were seeing. Little did we know that we would pick up so many readers along the way who we didn’t even know.
Maralyn: What type of writing do you focus on, food, wine or travel or all three?
Lisa: Most of our writing (I say “our” because the travel blog was written by everyone in the family: myself, my husband and our two daughters) was about travel. But travel covers a lot of territory. It’s more than where you’re going and what you’re seeing; travel includes what you’re eating, drinking, what inspires you and what disappoints you. When you travel, especially for a long period of time, it’s your life in a different venue and therefore encompasses all aspects of your life.
Maralyn: How often did you blog when on your trip and now?
Lisa: When traveling, our family blogged about five times a week. It was easy. We had four people writing, had a lot to share and if we didn’t blog that frequently, we would get “nasty” emails from friends asking for a new blog.
Now I try to blog at least once a week. I’m the only one writing these days and without being on the road, I have to work harder to come up with engaging topics.
Maralyn: What do you feel you gain the most from blogging?
Lisa: When we returned from our trip I was sad not only that the trip had come to an end but also our travel blog. It had become a way of life for me and I had grown very attached to it. I thought I had to stop since the trip was over and there were no more travel adventurers to write about.
My new blog was born as promotional material for the book I subsequently wrote. So, once again I was able to partake in the joys of blogging. The topic ideas don’t come as readily but I still find it a wonderful creative outlet and so enjoy sharing ideas and information with others. People have so much to offer one another and there’s no reason that each of us should have to reinvent the wheel when we can glean the information from each other.
Maralyn: What has been the most effective means of gaining traffic/followers?
Lisa: I wish I had a good answer for this one. The first blog, our travel blog, we really didn’t care about high traffic volume. We figured, who ever wanted to follow us could follow us and that was that. Eventually we discovered that we had a lot of hits on our blog from people we didn’t know which turned out to be a great fun. Some were travelers who we might have met along the way, but most of them just found us by accident.
Now that I am trying to get volume to my new site, I can’t quite figure out how to do it. After writing a blog, I post the link on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin which generates some activity. I have written articles for other travel bloggers and had some book reviews which created links from other sites, but I still don’t have the volume I would like. People still find me through random searches and from that perspective, time will help.
Lisa: I wrote Around the World in Easy Ways. After having taken our trip, I decided I wanted to write something that would make it easier for others to plan long-term travel. There will never be one resource out there that will answer all your questions, but I felt there was a need for an organized “how to” book to make planning a trip of this magnitude easier. Essentially, I wrote the book that I wanted to read while planning our trip.
My other objective was to inspire others to live out their dream as I had. Whether your dream is long-term travel or something else, hearing about ordinary people doing extraordinary things is inspirational and I was hoping my story would encourage others to reach for their dream.
Maralyn: Where can readers learn more about you?
Lisa: The following links will let you learn more about my book and me.
Thank you Lisa. We appreciate the time you gave us and your story and wish you much success.
If you would like to be interviewed, please let me know if you want the author/writers, writer/blogger or publisher questions.
International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association
Books By Hills Success With Writing Where & What in the World
Member: Society of Professional JournalistsFinalist in the Writing and Publishing category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, “$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book,”