Member Spotlight - Marie Cheeseman
Where can we find you online? (e.g., your Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile):
Link to your AMWA directory listing (if applicable): Not applicable
1. Brief description of what you do
I work from my home office in Auckland, New Zealand as a freelance medical writer. I work for various medical communications agencies on a wide range of projects, including manuscripts, advisory board coverage and training, and conference and patient education materials.
2. What led you to become a medical writer?
After spending five years at university in Auckland and earning a master’s degree in physiology, I realised that continuing in academia was not for me. I was scanning job ads when I found one for something called a medical writer, which I had never heard of. I liked the idea of combining science with writing, so I applied… that was more than 20 years ago.
3. What do you enjoy most about being a medical writer?
I enjoy constantly learning new things. I love that my work involves digging into new and interesting topics every day.
4. What has been one of your career highlights as a medical writer and why?
I spent 18 months working as a features writer for a newsletter publication, which involved attending many large overseas medical conferences and reporting on the most exciting, often late-breaking, research. I really enjoyed this time travelling all over the world, attending conferences in a wide range of therapeutic areas, and hearing first-hand about new and exciting studies.
5. What has been one of the greatest challenges for you as a medical writer and how have you addressed this?
Most people have no idea what a medical writer is, and I still haven’t managed to come up with my ‘elevator pitch’ to explain to people what it is that I actually do.
6. What advice would you give fellow writers or people considering a career in medical writing?
Be prepared to take feedback, lots of feedback. It’s the best way to learn, but it can be hard at first!
7. What led you to join the AMWA exec committee?
As a freelancer, I thought it would be a nice opportunity to work with other professionals in my industry. That, and peer pressure from certain other freelance medical writers!