Q&A with published writer Suzanne Reisman

In Q&As on October 15, 2009 at 3:40 pm

How long have you been a writer?

That’s a harder question than it sounds! I think writers are writers all their lives, but in my case, it took me a little while to remember that is what I wanted to do. I found all of these little stories that I wrote back in junior high, and I realized that somewhere in high school or college, I set writing aside for other pursuits. It was only when I started blogging in 2005 that I remembered how much I love writing creative work. 

What are you doing now?

I am doing as much freelance writing as possible, looking for a full-time job in public policy, and also attending the MFA program for creative nonfiction at the New School at night. 

How long did it take you to land your first paid writing job? And what was it?

I took a course at Media Bistro in the fall of 2006 on how to become a freelance writer. It was excellent. I got my first piece accepted by Metro New York a few weeks into the course, and it ran on Oct. 24, 2006. I think I got $400 for a 500 word op-ed piece. I have it framed! 

Before landing your first paid assignment what steps were you taking to advance your writing career?

I took the course at MediaBistro. I also wrote for, which, now that I think about it, might have been my first paid writing gig. Hmmm…. 

If given the chance what would you do differently? the same?

I don’t know that I would do anything differently. I think I would have liked to understand better how much of freelancing is about how you can sell and promote yourself. That’s not my strength. I’d rather put my energy into the work. Still, I think I’ve been very lucky. A lot of people have really helped me along the way, and I am very grateful to them.

Have you participated in any group of writers? If so what role did that play in your success? And how do you choose a writing community (online or face-to-face)?

After the media bistro class, I continued to meet with a group of writers. Their support and encouragement was invaluable, as was their feedback. Both women are incredibly talented, so I am very lucky to have met them! We are all in MFA programs now.

Who’s been your biggest support system as a writer?

My husband! 

Did you have any professional mentors such as more seasoned professional writers in the beggining of your writing career? If so how did you happen upon this connection?

The woman who taught the media bistro class, Liza Monroy, was an amazing mentor. She looked at my ideas and my writing in and out of class. Her encouragement was critical – I didn’t think anyone would want my work, but she really pushed all of her students to get out their and pitch, pitch, pitch!

What would you say is absolutely necessaryfor any writer to have in place?

Support systems – emotional and financial – of some sort. It is hard to make a living as a writer. There’s a lot of rejection. Even when I’m doing well, I’m not earning enough to live on.

What’s been the most helpful tool to you as a writer?

Writing. I know that sounds weird, but one of my teachers said that writing is generative. The more you do it, the better you become. That is very true. 

What’s your best advice for beginning writers?

Hang in there. It’s a wild ride!

You can read Suzanne’s blog over at BlogHer, and to get the real skinny on where to find her, head over to her Blogher profile.

  1. […] fellow writer friend of mine (recently featured in a Q&A right here) commented on the amount of rejection in the writing industry and a mentor of her’s […]

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