Lori Gillespie - Personal Historian
Lori Gillespie is a writer. She always has been a writer, but has only recently had the courage to say that out loud. Soon after she did, she founded her business, Red Artichoke. Lori believes that everyone has an interesting story that needs to be told, so she started Red Artichoke to help families and businesses capture their stories—their histories—before the memories are lost. She has always loved a good story and wanted to know more about why people are who they are and where they came from. That curiosity led her to obtain a degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since then, Lori has been writing and conducting research, but until recently, only her family and close friends have been reading her masterpieces.
As a writer and personal historian, Lori is able to use her skills as a good listener and interviewer to make her clients feel comfortable talking and telling their stories. Asking the right questions at the right time is essential to getting everything that aches to be told. Lori then turns it into something the family or business can treasure for many generations.
Lori is married to Joe, also a writer and her own personal editor. They have been married almost 20 years and have two active boys, Michael, age 12, and Ben, 10.
Who are you?
I’ve taken nearly half a century trying to figure that out! I spent many years working for someone else, not being everything I wanted to be. I’m grateful for everything I have done in the past because it brought me to where I am right now. I have no regrets, but I am ready to live to my life to its fullest potential.
So who am I? I’m a student and I’m a teacher. I’m a mother and a wife. I’m a historian, I’m a listener, and I’m a friend. I’m someone who does not back down from a challenge, and I am ready to be everything I ever dreamed of being.
Who is your go-to person for advice?
I have many people who I consider my sage advisors. I often find that when I am giving serious thought to my questions and problems, just the right person to help me find clarity enters my space at just the right time. A few months ago, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in 12 years. We had a quick casual conversation because he was working a photography job, but a day or two later, I sent him a text hoping he would have some time to chat. He called me within two minutes, and we talked for more than an hour about some of the struggles I was having around a creative small business—a business that doesn’t sell an already made product. Then about a month ago, I had been turning over some problems in my head and plopped myself down in a chair at a coffee shop I rarely spend time in. Another friend, who also does not frequent that shop, called out my name. We spent the next 30 minutes hashing out my problem, and she gave me some critical business exercises to practice every day. So, I am a believer that the right people enter your life when you need them to; you just have to be aware that they are there.
How do you create work/life balance?
I don’t know that we ever find true balance because life is ever-changing. Having a family, especially two boys, one who plays year-round basketball and the other who is a year-round swimmer, I’m always going somewhere, often in more than one direction. I rely heavily on my calendar. I need to know where everyone needs to be and when they need to be there and who is going to take them. I even work in down time into my calendar. If it’s exercise or reading or Toastmasters or coffee with a friend, I let myself do those things, but they are on my calendar. It’s the only way I can keep my sanity. I try really hard to be all in at whatever I have planned.
What is your vision for the next year?
I want to create multiple income streams in my business. Right now, I focus on ghostwriting personal and business histories, but I want to add coaching people on how to write their own histories, and I also want to teach some courses on personal history writing and why it is so important. Though I am a writer and I love to be by myself creating something, I also need to spend time listening to other people and sharing my passion.
Lori can be reached at: