Rise & Shine Interview: Dr. Susan Biali about Writing

Ever wanted to hear about the benefits of speaking from the heart from a medical doctor? I'm excited that today, Dr. Susan Biali, is “Speaking From the Heart” and sharing her experiences with all of us. 

Dr. Susan Biali, MD, is an award-winning medical doctor, wellness  expert, life and health coach, author, and flamenco dancer. Based on over twenty years spent studying principles of health, happiness, and  success, Dr. Biali offers hope, inspiration, and tools for life to  people worldwide. She speaks internationally, personally coaches a wide  range of clients from stay-at-home moms to military leaders, blogs for Psychology Today and is frequently featured in media such as the Ricki Lake Show, The Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, Martha Stewart Living, and The Washington Post.  She is the author of the bestselling  book, Live a Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You.  You can find out more on her website: www.susanbiali.com. Susan is a mentor to me. I first reached out to her about becoming a lifecoach and have been blessed by her encouragement and support. She took the time to share her thoughts and encourage me on my journey.  It meant so much to me. Read her interview below.

Image (c) Dr. Susan Biali
Image (c) Dr. Susan Biali

Why do you believe self-expression (speaking from the heart) is important?

It seems to be such a rare thing in this world. I was just saying to someone yesterday that speaking your truth (especially if it's a little messy and imperfect) is so important as it is a huge gift to others.  So many people walk around thinking that their experience of life is somehow inferior to that of most other people, because from the outside other people's lives look so perfect.  When we admit how imperfect or downright disastrous our lives are, it makes other people feel so much better (and normal!)...and now we can start to have a useful, authentic discussion that will actually take us somewhere of value.

How has writing empowered you in other areas of your life?

In my business life, work of all different kinds flows through to me through my writing. For example, a producer at the Ricki Lake Show invited me to be on the show after reading a post on my blog.  Coaching clients contact me and ask to work with me after having read my book.  I aim to be very authentic in my writing, and say whatever I truly feel. I share my personal experiences, even though they might even seem a little revealing or unprofessional sometimes (for a doctor who is supposed to have it all together).  It is unspeakably rewarding - and empowering -  to put your real self out into the world, and to get positive feedback from people from all corners of the globe.

How did you find your authentic voice through writing?

I pretty much write like I talk.  I usually have a rough idea of what I'd like to write, and then just go for it. I don't over-edit myself or write too self-consciously, at least when I'm blogging (it's a little different when I'm writing articles for magazines as a paid columnist). It's easy, it's fun, and it works.  No need to be too serious about it, then I'd never write anything!


How did you develop the courage to stand tall (i.e., get the courage to share your writing)?

It was out of desperation. So many good things come out of desperation!  I was 11 years into medical training and realized I didn't want to really be a doctor after all. I had to figure out other ways to make an income, and I'd loved to write as a child.  Out of nowhere I suddenly had this dream to be a writer, and set out to fulfill it.  Much of my courage came from being naive and uninformed - I didn't know how hard it was to get published, which meant I didn't agonize or stress much about getting published. I just decided to send out my work and expected people would want to pick it up and would be willing to pay me for it - and they did.

When you have a hard time writing, what do you do to work through it?

The hardest part for many writers is getting yourself to sit down at your desk.  Once I've done that (and managed not to divert myself with Facebook or email), writing is inevitable.

How did you find your support group?

Winding through life.  One of my very favorite writer colleagues is the fabulous Jenny Blake, we met when she asked me to mentor her years ago. I am so glad I agreed to talk to her! It's not so easy to do that now as I'm so busy. Another is a friend who I met one Sunday at church, I had no idea she was a writer at the time.  Lovely people just tend to drop into my life, I'm very lucky.

Any advice for new writers/authors?

Don't listen to the people who try to talk you out of writing, or tell you you'll never succeed. Believe in yourself, and write what you want to write (versus what other people will tell you to write because it's more commercial or sellable).  That said, I once got angry at someone who told me that I wouldn't be able to live full-time off my book sales.  She was actually telling the truth, as negative as it sounded. Unless your book is a runaway bestseller (which very few are), you are going to have to earn income from other activities as well. Luckily if you write non-fiction, having a book out there will bring you all other kinds of business as your platform grows and grows.  Finally, for me the most important thing is that I've actually written a book that has made a difference in the lives of others, and can cross that one off my list.  It's one huge thing I wanted to do before I die, so it's a fantastic feeling to have done it.

Thanks for speaking from your heart and nourishing the minds, bodies, and souls of individuals all around the world, Susan! Keep up the fantastic work!

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What lesson(s) did you learn from reading Susan’s interview? Write the lesson down and your thoughts on the topic (i.e., why it spoke to you). If you met Susan, what would you like to tell her. Have any questions for her about her writing process that you’d be curious to ask? One question that came to my mind after reflecting on what Susan said was, “How do you persevere with sharing your story in a professional setting?”

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!