Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Suzanne Wright, the author of more than 500 bylined feature articles in highly recognized and regarded national, regional and local publications, including USA Today.
So, Suzanne, time to share again!
Tell us how you got your start in freelance writing?
I was at a trade show in Las Vegas in 2000, the publisher of a national B2B magazine. I traveled five or six days a week, managed a staff of 14 and worked 60 hours. I’d climbed the top of the rung, but was miserable. P&L is not creative. I walked out of the booth, hailed a cab, went to my hotel, threw my stuff in my suitcase and flew back to Atlanta, my home at the time. The next day, I resigned. Then I took six months off to reconnect with friends and family. I love to eat, so I pitched myself to a local magazine and began writing restaurant reviews. Within six months, I had a nice mix of corporate and magazine clients. The point of this anecdote? Bold action, big reward. Along with moving to Arizona, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The rest of my bio is here if you want the particulars of my corporate past.
Can you share some of the outlets for which you currently write?
While caring for my mother in Florida and COVID-19 has paused some of my regular outlets like the USA Today custom publications, I’ve recently filed pieces for Arthritis Today, HuffPo and Tucson Lifestyle. When the landscape settles a bit, I’ll be focusing on more business pieces and essays. Travel will always be a staple, in some form.
What types of pitches would brands and PR folks be smart to send you?
It’s really important that pitches have a timely hook, great visuals and a specific angle. That’s often a person as the hook. Sending general releases is not useful for me. I’d rather grab 15 minutes and brainstorm the story beneath the release. I write about regional (Texas and all the states west, especially my beloved Southwest) travel. In particular: adventure, culture and community, food and spirits, gear, and spa. I really love small, funky, rural towns over big cities, or the secret side of better-known destinations. I often write about architecture, education, healthcare and tech. I’m also looking for great folks to feature in Hispanic Living. Maybe start by sending me a client list and see what it sparks.
Tell us about your early life and how it shaped you:
I’m a Navy brat who moved every two years. I’m also adopted. I’ve always been pretty fearless. I was the oldest, so I had my own room, and I still (happily) do a lot solo, which has made weathering 2020 a little easier.
What is something readers would be surprised to learn about you?
That I actually like summer in Arizona—fingers crossed for a good monsoon! Or maybe that my second favorite ecosystem is a swamp. I love paddling blackwater among gators and Spanish-moss-draped cypress. But maybe that’s obvious from my social posts. Lots of folks tell me they’re surprised that I’m Armenian-Turkish and I was once married (though I never changed my very appropriate last name!)
Favorite type of music?
The sounds of Nature. For road trips, contemporary, retro and alt-country. World music is great, especially if I can’t understand the words and it’s chanted or instrumental. It gives my brain a rest.
Orange….like Arizona sunsets. Or maybe turquoise like in the dead pawn jewelry I’ve collected for decades.
Favorite TV shows or movies?
I like offbeat, snarky/sweet TV comedies without laugh tracks like Arrested Development, Corner Gas, The Office (both the British and American versions), Parks & Recreation, Schitt’s Creek. I’ve re-watched a lot of old favorites during COVID-19. Mad Men is such a splendid timepiece of great acting, style and writing; I actually spotted more guest actors by bingeing the whole series. I can’t wait to get back to incredible The Loft Cinema for some indie films and Q&A. Being in a dark room in community…I miss it.