Today we have an interview with writer Stacey C. Tobin to share with FZ readers….enjoy!
1. Can you tell readers a bit about the road you took to become a writer?
I was always into science – biology specifically – but I ended up going to a liberal arts college in Atlanta, Oglethorpe University, where I was bitten with the writing bug. At the time, I wasn’t even aware that there was a way to combine science and writing, and since I loved research, I continued to make my way through a master’s degree and then a PhD in molecular physiology. When I was nearing graduation, I knew that academia wasn’t for me, and I started looking into ways to use my writing skills but still stay connected to the science world. My first job out of graduate school was as a staff medical writer at a continuing medical education agency, and I continued to do some side jobs as a freelance writer and editor for academic and clinical researchers.
2. What are you doing now in the field?
Right now, I have two careers. I work part time at a healthcare advertising and communications agency, mostly doing the larger medical education projects that are more content-heavy or technical. The other half of my day is dedicated to my freelance business, which provides writing and editing support services for researchers – helping them with abstracts, posters, manuscripts, and grant applications. Many of my clients are non-native English speakers, and they often know the science but struggle with how to communicate it.
3. What is the best advice you can give to other writers?
Because I have worked in so many areas of science and medical writing – academic, continuing medical education, healthcare communications, and advertising – I found that there are some types of writing for which I am better suited and others with which I just struggle. Instead of trying to be everything to everybody, I’ve tried to find my niche, to identify the type of writing that best fits my background, training, and skill set. My advice to any writer is to take a look at what you bring to the table, your specific strengths, and work from there.
4. What does your workspace look like?
At the ad agency, my workspace is somewhat tidy. I tend to keep the fluorescent lights on, and the walls are white, so it’s also really bright and clinical-looking. There are some tired looking plants here and there. I guess the only personality in the room is my super geeky science art on the walls, and my bulletin board tribute to Elvis. At home, my freelance workspace is my laptop and wherever my laptop might be at a given moment. At the dining room table, on my desk upstairs, on my lap in bed, outside on the porch. As long as I am comfortable and it’s quiet and there’s a pot of coffee close by, I can work anywhere.
5. Can you share a special moment from your writing career?
Even though I am happy and thriving as a medical and life sciences writer/editor, I often feel as if I have to defend it to people who are still in academia, as if I failed as a researcher and ended up in writing rather than choosing it. One special moment, at least for me, happened about a month ago, when my 4-year-old son’s preschool class was talking about jobs. My son announced to the class that he wanted to be a “pedal writer” like his mom. That was pretty cool, I must say.
Bio: Stacey C. Tobin, PhD, ELS is a board-certified editor in the life sciences with 13-years’ experience in medical and life sciences writing and editing. She received her master’s degree in molecular physiology from Vanderbilt University and her doctorate in physiology from Northwestern University. Stacey has authored 15 journal articles, invited reviews, and textbook chapters, and as a freelance writer/editor, has contributed to nearly 100 journal articles, textbooks, posters, grants, and Web sites. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association, the Council of Science Editors, and the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences. Stacey is currently Chief Science Liaison at Williams Labadie, a healthcare communications agency in Chicago, Illinois, and the owner of The Tobin Touch, LLC, which provides medical and life sciences writing and editorial support for basic science and clinical researchers.