Judy’s Comments

Changing Careers

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Suzie Guillette transitioned from working as an employee in development in the stable environment of the American Heart Association to becoming a no-stepping- back entrepreneur writing and teaching writing. Here’s how she made the decision to change her life.

Garden State Woman: Suzanne, tell us what you are currently doing career wise?

Suzanne: I’m a freelance writer, and I also teach writing.

Garden State Woman: How long have you been pursuing this as a career and how is it going so far?

Suzanne: I’ve been writing all of my adult life, although I became more serious about it as a career in 2003, when I entered graduate school to study creative non-fiction. I published my first book, Much to Your Chagrin, this past March. Publishing a book has long-been an ambition of mine, so it’s been a very exciting year.

Garden State Woman: What are some of the biggest challenges and hurdles you face in this career path?

Suzanne: One of my biggest challenges, personally-speaking, is having patience. I have far more ideas than I have time to execute them, so sometimes it feels overwhelming; I often have to remind myself to be patient with the general process of things. Also, I sometimes struggle with keeping a regular writing routine (which is especially key, since I’m self-employed). The release of my book dramatically altered my writing schedule, and it’s taken me quite some time to get focused again, which isn’t ideal. The in-between periods—when I’m not in a project and not regularly writing—can drive me crazy. Also, it’s been a huge adjustment, going from a salary to income that is more sporadic in nature—that has taken some getting used to.

Garden State Woman: Where are you headed with all of this? What do you expect or want to be doing 5 years down the road? 10 years down the road? What is the future career path?

Suzanne: Great questions. Well, above all, I plan on continuing down the writing path. On my current “to-do” list, I have approximately three book ideas; two screenplays, and at least ten essays. Right now, I’m focusing on a longer project, which I hope will turn out to be my next book, although it’s a bit premature to say for sure. In five years, I’d love to have at least one more book out. I’m a bit slow, when it comes to my writing process, but regardless of the timeline, I hope to continue pursuing my curiosities about the world, in both fiction and non-fiction forms. It feels like a real privilege to be able to share these meanderings with a larger audience. Also, I really love public speaking. I’m currently working on an interactive presentation on the nature of choice and personal responsibility, which is based, in part, on my book and geared toward an undergraduate audience.

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Monday, 27 June 2022
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