Liz Muir is a Boston-based writer and editor with more than 20 years’ experience developing medical education and pharmaceutical sales training materials, and an even longer track record writing and editing beyond the pharmaceutical realm. Passionate about high-quality, plain-language patient education and professional training, one of Liz’s core strengths is an innate tendency to empathize with her audience. “I work closely with clients to understand who I’m ‘talking to, who I’m ‘showing’–then I try never to lose sight of them. My editing mindset and my writing voice and is to them. At work, I’m other-focused.”

SNAP/INSERT BETTER CURRENT  PHOTO, TO PARALLEL PHOTO, BELOW

Liz snaps iMac selfie in her office, 2014: "Keeping current is a must; longtime experience is a plus."

Liz snaps iMac selfie in her office, 2014: “Keeping current is a must; longtime experience is a plus.”

Equally adept at writing and editing materials for wellness and healthcare consumers as she is developing content for pharmaceutical professionals, Liz also loves to blog–and aims to do more of this, whether for pharma clients, small business, or individuals too busy to fully express themselves.

“One of my core strengths, both professionally and personally, is that I love to learn. It doesn’t take much for me to latch on to a new topic and then full commit. I can become interested in just about anything and the pursuit of fresh content and images excites me. To counter an instinct to keep Googling, keep searching, I repeatedly ask myself: ‘What’s really key?’ Bottom line, I seek to seduce my audience–by “seduce” I of course mean, catch and hold attention, draw people in, all the while striving to keep things simple.

“Understanding the needs of my audience is central to all my editorial pursuits. Capturing and holding interest follows from that, as does accuracy, coherence and, to whatever extent possible brevity.” [I'M FREE WRITING HERE. I KNOW THIS NEEDS TO BE PARED WAY DOWN.]

Where do we come from?

Days out of college Liz pursued a career in publishing, basically because she loved to read and learn. Children’s books at Rand McNally and then Chicago Magazine were perfect first jobs, in part because Liz is at least as visual as she is literary and in both publishing worlds images were key. Preparing materials for children and for a diverse population of adult citydwellers, she learned how to marry images with text.

Liz, Assistant Editor, Trade Children’s Books, Rand McNally & Co, circa 1975; propped on her desk is Paul Gauguin’s "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?"

Liz Muir, Assistant Editor, Children’s Books, Rand McNally & Co, 1975; propped on her desk is Paul Gauguin’s “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?”

At Rand McNally, Liz also learned to get things right. “In the seventies, books were set in hot-metal type and text came back from the typesetters in galley form. Making typographical or content errors in the days before word processing was time-consuming and costly. Hitting the back space key and saving wasn’t an option.”

Hot metal, movable type on a composing stick

Hot metal, movable type on a composing stick

Serendipitously, when Liz moved from Chicago to Boston in the 1980s, she found opportunities in healthcare publishing, first at the American Journal of Alheimer’s care, then at Total Learning Concepts, where, for 14 years she created education and training materials for the pharmaceutical.

“I’m touting my longtime experience and diverse professional capabilities because I view these as selling points,” Liz explains. “I feel comfortable doing because while on the one hand it conveys the message of “old” I know that I am as eager to learn and grow as ever and I quite relentlessly learn new skills and develop new capabilities, continues to develop new skills–WordPress blogging and eLearning, to name just two.
[TOO DEFENSIVE, I KNOW.]

Where are we going?

“Seasoned” as Liz is, she feels she’s barely tapped her potential.

Future projects/dream projects

Liz is eager and prepared to:

  • Regularly deliver multimedia pharmaceutical or other training and education via a regularly updated blog (see her proposal here)
  • Develop and facilitate literary conversation/physician education around caregivers in literature–eg, Descriptions of docs in Proust as grandmother approaches death, Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilyich,” stories by William Carlos Williams, himself an MD
  • Patient education
  • Patient advocacy
  • Program on how to promote patients as self-advocates
Gauguin's "Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?" can be 'read' from right to left

Gauguin’s “Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?” can be ‘read’ from right to left

Image Credits:
Hot Metal Type On A Composing Stick: Willi H, Wikimedia Commons
Gauguin’s  “D’où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?”, MFA Boston, Wikipedia D’où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?”