Interview: Lisa Russell

Lisa Russell is another great Suite101 writer who has an impressive list of articles and wide range of interests. The things she’s able to accomplish in a day are truly amazing. Enjoy this interview.

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First of all, you’re a mother of six! How do you find time to write as well as homeschool your girls? Secret strategies? Chocolate? Lots of coffee?

Lots of coffee. Actually it’s just 2 cups a day but it’s very important. I usually wake up around 5am and work nonstop until about 9 or 10. When my kids start waking up, I make a big breakfast (usually pancakes or omlettes) I find the big breakfast is cheaper and easier to clean up than letting everyone make their own. So, perhaps, there is a secret strategy: I work 4-5 hours each day before the kids wake up.

We closed our family business in December of 2007, 10 days after my youngest daughter was born, and my writing income has supported our entire family.

I have 4 girls that are school-aged and they’re all pretty independent. Our house is filled with books and they enjoy researching things online. The other day my 4 yr old was interested in something and asked “Mom, can I google today?”

What are some of the benefits of homeschooling?

For us, it’s the ability to allow them to follow their interests rather than an arbitrary set of “things to learn in 5th grade” for example. Another benefit is that we can travel whenever we want. We’ve been homeschooling since 1995, it’s really just part of our life, I don’t think much in terms of what we’re “not” doing (which is sending the kids to school) So “benefits of homeschooling” is sort of an abstract thought for me. We just love life, we love learning, and this is it 🙂

You’ve got a huge selection of articles on your website. What do you like about online writing? What are some of the challenges?

When I was a kid, I always got the best grades on essays. I could research quickly and never had a problem writing. I joke that my daughters help my writing by never letting me get a word in edgewise, but the fact is, I’ve always had a talent for adding words to the count 🙂 I like writing because it comes easily. Words are free. There’s no investment or start-up costs. As far as challenges goes, I’d say time. There have been days when my kids have been busy or even out of town and I’ve had the luxury of writing from sunup to sundown and when the night comes, I realize that this is a job that never ever ends. So the challenge, for me, is in not letting it take over my life. There’s always another article to write.

Share some of your writing goals. Is there a current goal you’re working towards?

I’m working on a book (what writer isn’t?) I have issues with fiction, but my husband produces films. My one big goal is to turn one of my favorite childhood books into a movie. In fact, I have been working with the publisher to get the rights, but they’re Swedish. I’ve rewritten the book into screenplay format and I guess I’m just waiting for someone Swedish to come into my life.

Generally, though, my writing goal is just to make money. I love that our family can be together so much now, and that we don’t have to work the 12-16 hour days anymore. My husband is actually healthy now. His family has a history of heart problems and out business-owner lifestyle, working 7 days a week, was killing him.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

The End of Faith by Sam Harris.

Favorite authors?

Oh I don’t think I have any favorite authors. I don’t really read fiction very often. Jane Austen perhaps. Favorite is such an absolute.

Book you’re currently reading?

Wright on Time Arizona by Lisa Cottrell Bentley (fiction kids novel about a family who lives in an RV and explores the U.S. state by state).

Uncle Eric Talks about Personal, Career and Financial Security by Richard Maybury (great series I’m sharing with my older girls).

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (I like it, but I keep feeling like it doesn’t apply to me. The writer assumes that every reader was discouraged in their artistic pursuits, and is therefore “blocked.”

Where can we learn more about you?

On my personal blog where I spout off my counter-culture beliefs about childrearing and the insanity of modern culture.

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