Optimal Living Magazine (OLM) is an inspirational Christian lifestyle publication founded on the belief that “life is a journey that can produce ultimate fulfillment when putting God first through reading His Word and making purpose filled strides to walk in His Way.” Empowered Walking Ministries (EWM) interviewed Tanisha Hopson, Founder, Publisher and Editor – in – Chief of Optimal Living Magazine.
EWM: Tanisha, tell us a little about yourself.
Tanisha: Well, I was born and grew up in New Jersey. I graduated from Rutgers University. I enrolled in college with the intent of becoming a doctor and I majored in biochemistry. However, in my junior year, I realized that I wasn’t a doctor; I was indeed a writer. Deep down, it bothered me that many of the chemical formulas were etched in stone. I wanted to create my own formulas, tell my own stories. So, I changed my major to English/Journalism
Going with that feeling was one of the best things I ever did because I believe that you should never pursue a career for the monetary benefits, but to pursue your passion and purpose in life. My grandmother, who was a very gifted writer, taught me to journal my thoughts and feelings. She would say that writing is a vehicle to understanding yourself and exploring your creative side.
I started writing my first column, RU Talkin’, for the Rutgers Observer student newspaper at the Rutgers – Newark campus. I would make up topics of interest and walk up to complete strangers and engage them in conversations concerning their worldview concerning campus life, politics, and relationships. The column was a big hit on campus for the rest of my college career.
In 1998, my love for writing lead me to start the Writing Authority LLC (www.thewritingauthority.com), which enabled me to privately tutor, proofread, and edit the papers of students from various academic disciplines at different campus locations. Thereafter, in 2000, seeing the need for my peers to have an effective resume` and cover letter as they graduated from college, I incorporated career development services as an essential part of the Writing Authority portfolio.
After graduating from Rutgers University, in the year 2000, I interned at Black Enterprise Magazine and wrote several articles regarding business money matters, e-commerce, teen entrepreneurs, and money management. The lessons taught by Earl Graves, Sr., and the staff were priceless. It was there that I began to dream of becoming a publisher of my own magazine one day. I was in awe with the whole operation and observed the process of producing the publication from beginning to end.
Shortly thereafter, I worked in Washington, DC for several years before God called me to start publishing Optimal Living Magazine online in 2008.
EWM: You describe OLM not as your business or your job, but as your ministry. What inspired you to start OLM?
Tanisha: Yes, I describe OLM as my ministry because I believe that God has called me to minister to people in this way. God has enabled me to use my gifts of writing, encouragement, exhortation and faith to speak to thousands on a bi-monthly basis. It is never a chore but an opportunity to serve God’s people and those that may not know Him by helping them to think outside the box as they navigate through this life.
I was inspired to start Optimal Living Magazine while I was living in shabby conditions in a basement apartment in Washington, DC. At the time, I was just getting back on my feet from my own personal economic downfall. However, while watching the evening news, God spoke to my heart about starting a publication that would uplift people that were depressed, hopeless, suicidal, or just headed in the wrong direction as a result of the things that transpire from the hardships of recession.
EWM: Your publication started in a basement apartment with 15 online readers. The readership now has grown to more than 20,000. What does OLM offer readers?
Tanisha: Yes, my online readership grew from15 to 5,000, 7,000 and now 20,000 + readers. Optimal Living Magazine offers readers hope that things can and will get better. It gives them an understanding of what they are going through and how to fight to get back up and pursue their God given purposes.
EWM: OLM is holistic with articles addressing various aspects of life. Tell us about the scope of your articles.
Tanisha: Optimal Living Magazine is unique because the article ideas come to me straight from God. I don’t look at other publications to find out what the content of the articles should be. I simply seek God while walking, cleaning, or simply listening to the choir sing at my home church – Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Worship music really moves me to write! I am sure that there is something that inspires individuals to flow in their gift, and church music is one of the strongest vehicles that God uses to move me to a comfortable space for writing.
This magazine is all about optimal living in my readers’ relationships with God, their spouses, finances and other people. One of the things that we miss greatly in this generation is the power and significance of relationship. God made us relational people and we need to get back to connecting, creating and maintaining these relationships. I focus on this topic a great deal in my magazine. Our most popular columns are: The Purpose Drivin’ Living Tips, The Wifey 101 Series, True Confessions of a Saved Black Man, Harvest Matters, and Career & Leadership Insight.
EWM: The November/December 2010 issue includes an article I wrote, “Purpose Drivin’ Living Tips” - “5 Simple Ways to Recover from Life’s Hurts". How can Christian writers contribute to and support OLM?
Tanisha: We are currently seeking writers for the Lifestyles section, the Wellness Corner and the new section dedicated to increasing financial awareness, Harvester. I am also interested in people that have a desire to write special interest stories. Christian writers can send samples of their work, including topics of what he or she would like to write about, to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
EWM: Where can one purchase OLM and how can a reader subscribe?
Tanisha: Readers can subscribe or purchase single copies of Optimal Living Magazine online at: http://www.optimal-livingmagazine.com/subscribe.html. Or, by emailing: email@example.com. The subscriptions are now $25 per year.
Currently, the magazine is available for purchase at the Gospel Spreading Bookstore (202 745-2665) and
the Greater Mt. Calvary Bookstore (202- 832-4130) in Washington, D.C.
EWE: Is there anything more you would like to share?
Tanisha: Well, I would like to say thank you for taking the time to find out more about Optimal Living Magazine. Stay plugged in by visiting the site (www.optimal-livingmagazine.com) on a monthly basis to see what new articles/editions have been posted.
It has been a privilege to talk to you and I pray that your audience is blessed by what I have shared. God Bless You!