We had the good fortune of connecting with Suzanne Wright and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Suzanne, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Most writers I know begin “writing” with a series of activities I call “make ready.” That’s when you do the dishes, water the plants, start the laundry, clear your email, call your mom, make a snack, pay your bills, stream a video (or three), and otherwise procrastinate before you face the keyboard.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When a new client asks me about my “process,” I really want to say, I long ago met the Gladwell mastery metric of 10,000 hours. I’m a professional; I approach my work with serious intent to inform, entertain and persuade. I might come up with a killer headline in the shower. I may “write” the blog on the hiking trail. I may conceptualize a theme while at a museum or after a Netflix binge. The point is, the process is less linear than many left-brain folks think. I I pride myself on being a resourceful problem-solver. I’ve learned that challenges can often be better tackled after taking a break. My brand is integrity. My brand is git ‘er done right–the first time. My brand is meet deadlines. My brand is be honest and proactive in communications. I’ve learned that matters most to clients.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love introducing people to my adopted state! And I’ve done so from bases in Cave Creek, Scottsdale and now, Tucson. Arizona is truly an embarrassment of riches in every onceivable category. First we gotta get outside: on a trail, up a mountain, in a Sonoran Desert wash to marvel at the landscape, thrill at the wildlife, swoon at the sunsets. I must have 100,000 photos–it never gets old. Of course, we will eat and drink. I love turning people onto bacanora, mezcal and sotol, the lesser-known, smokier Southwestern spirit cousins of tequila. Mmmm. And there are the heritage foods: prickly pear, mesquite, tepary beans, chiles, machaca. Arizona smashes Tex-Mex or whatever bland slop passes for Mexican in other parts of the country. I’m drooling! Here in Tucson, I love to take folks to the barrios, to see the Catholic shrines and murals that brighten our communities. Our botanical gardens and museums are legendary. I’m especially fond of Tohono Chul, where the fragrant Queen of the Night cactus blooms for one spectacular night in June. Bookman’s is a local institution, a used bookstore/music emporium/flea market where we can while away hours. Their bulletin board is a window into the soul of Tucson. I love to hear live music at Monterey Court, a funky mid-century courtyard where talented local and national musicians play. There’s Mt. Lemmon, an unforgettable Sky Island drive from the desert floor at 3,000 feet elevation to nearly 9,200 feet in an alpine forest. It’s also great fun to jump in the car and visit the distinctive towns that dot the state: the vineyards south of us in Sonoita, the rugged charm of Superior, an old mining town north of the city, San Xavier del Bac, the historic Spanish mission known to locals as “The White Dove” of the Desert, the artsy town of Tubac, colorful Nogales on the border. If guests are really lucky, it will rain. You will never forget the smell of desert rain. A week isn’t enough. A month isn’t enough. A lifetime isn’t enough to explore Southern Arizona.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many folks over the years have cheered me on. My fifth grade teacher, Mr. Michelob, let me skip PE and hang out in the library. My 10th grade teacher entered me into a statewide poetry contest in Florida that scored me 2nd place prize and a scholarship. Mr. Yots, one of my college professors, taught me to “smell my own shit.” More recently, at a writing retreat at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, acclaimed poet Naomi Shihab Nye singled out my essay “Meeting Uncle Metin” for special recognition. My Facebook writers groups are an amazingly generous resource when I need encouragement, advice or a place to vent.