“I write all the time. I tend to get more work done in the library where a messy kitchen or laundry won’t distract me. Also, when my house is asleep! Late nights are always productive."
Sara Bliss is a freelance writer and New York Times bestselling author who writes profiles on the topics of business, health, beauty, design, and travel. She has just published a new book, (her 11th!), TAKE THE LEAP: Change Your Career, Change Your Life, which shows readers how to take charge of their dreams and make them a reality through stories from real-life pivoters who made it happen, one bold leap at a time. She answered our questions from her home base of NYC.
Essentialist: What was the path for you to become a writer? As I understand, you had a few different careers before turning to writing full time?
Sara Bliss: I started out in the art world, interning at Sotheby’s and later working in the client service department at Christie’s in New York. To make the leap to magazines, I took a course at NYU called Writing for Magazines and I got hired at House Beautiful. I then worked as a staff writer at American Homestyle & Gardening while freelancing on the side for City magazine. I always thought the writers were the ones doing the interesting work—interviewing people, checking out new places, while editors were stuck in an office. So, way before I should have, I went freelance. I’ve been freelance for almost twenty years, covering everything from beauty to health, but the cornerstone of my work is writing travel and profiles.
E: How did the idea for your new book, TAKE THE LEAP: Change Your Career, Change Your Life, develop?
SB: I noticed pretty quickly that some of the most successful people actually had entirely different lives or careers before the one where they found the most success. I thought it was really fascinating and tore through the myth that successful people follow a linear path. The truth is that most people don’t know what they want to do early on, even in college and there is something really inspiring in that idea that you can change your path at any time. The book features advice and wisdom from 60 people who have made these radical pivots, so that anyone thinking of making a move will find motivation and actionable advice.
E: Take the Leap talks to readers about switching careers and taking charge of their dreams, using real-life stories and interviews with people who have made this leap. Would you share a tip for someone who may be considering a career change but having doubts?
SB: The truth is you won’t know if you are making the right decision until you actually do it. As long as you are prepared for the switch—creating a financial plan, gaining the knowledge that you need through a mentor, education, or research, and have an actionable plan for how to make it a success you are ready to make the move. There will always be a reason to play it safe, to stay the course, to not take the risk. It will never be the perfect time. That’s really where the title is so key, at some point you just have to take that leap of faith and go for it.
E: As a travel writer, what was the first trip you took where you thought… I’m hooked and want to do this more?
SB: Immediately! I think my first travel assignment was to Fiji thanks to Jason Nixon who was at Gotham at the time. I was able to bring my husband and all I could think was how do I get to do this again? I love the experience of discovering new places and meeting new people, really getting immersed.
E: What is the first thing you like to do when you have landed in a foreign country or a new city?
SB: Get out of the hotel and go out to eat somewhere that is recommended by a local. Taxi drivers often have great restaurant advice.
E: What is a place (city, country) that you could go back to a million times?
SB: Anguilla. I fall in love with it more and more every time I visit. We rent a car and drive everywhere. All 33 beaches are public and there is so much to discover.
E: What are two essential items you carry with you on all trips? (besides your passport and wallet!)
SB: Sunscreen and a good camera.
E: What is on your travel radar for 2019?
SB: I want to check out the Belmond revamp of Cap Juluca in Anguilla and I am hoping to get to the Philippines to see friends and bring my children to discover a country that I grew up going to often. Domestically, I can’t wait to go to Nashville.
E: Are you planning a book tour? How can we find out more?
SB: Yes! Dates are being organized now, but I will be moderating a panel featuring some of the most inspiring people in the book for the 92nd street Y to talk about career leaps on January 22nd at 7pm. I will feature all events on my website www.sarabliss.com.
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