Lisa Burdige currently works as an Associate Creative Director at YuzuYello, an agency that specializes in designing patient experiences. In her role, Lisa oversees messaging that helps patients have brighter healthcare experiences through support program-related writing like postcards and brochures, online work (like websites, emails, apps, chatbots, etc.), and videos. Lisa is also the co-founder of Background Noise Comic, an online diary comic that she writes and produces with her partner, John Hazard.
What made you realize that writing was something you wanted to pursue professionally?
I have honestly never thought of doing anything else. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. However, after I’d started to work professionally, I realized that there are different ways of “being a writer.” Eventually, I learned that I wanted to be a writer who tells stories. My one liner is that I tell stories for brands and fun. Fun would include comics but also other kinds of fiction, like plays, stories, poems and novels.
Talk about a mentor, book, or experience that helped shape who you are as a writing professional.
My first creative director really taught me a lot. He held my hand and showed me the ropes not just in terms of training me to be a copywriter, but also how to maneuver the politics of the workplace. He taught me about how to channel your own voice into commercial work in ways that breathed life into a project. He also taught me that work was about having fun.
In your role and industry, how important is collaboration? With whom do you collaborate?
Collaboration is everything. The old saying is, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” At YuzuYello, I often have an art partner. But I also work closely with health literacy strategists and UX designers, not to mention my account management colleagues. We all work together to make the work shine. If you are collaborating with the right people, your work will get better in ways you wouldn’t believe. And it will feel good-- really good. It’s kind of like a creative tag team where you toss the idea to another person, and that person’s energy and expertise keeps moving your work forward.
I also depend on collaboration with John as we develop our diary comic, Background Noise Comic. We bounce ideas back and forth, nudging inklings of artistic thoughts into fully realized stories at the beginning. Later on, we sharpen each other’s work as we finish up. I am a “writer” and he is an “artist” but in the right collaboration, that doesn't matter. He gives me copy notes and writes. I give him art direction and art ideas. We work together to hone ideas and make our comics (and sometimes our relationship!) better.
What do you look for in assessing potential new hires?
I’m looking for a strong voice and professional presence. In an interview, I assess how well a person can articulate an idea and respond to my questions about it on the spot. I also look at what a candidate enjoys doing outside of their job experience. I’m looking for a creative mind and I want to see how someone’s brought their creativity to life. I look for people who are easy to work with and eager to be collaborative. And enthusiasm counts for a lot as well!
Thank you to Lisa Burdige for sharing her professional writing journey with us. To explore more of Lisa’s work visit https://linktr.ee/BurdsEyeView. Be sure to follow Background Noise Comic and see her professional writing in action.