Member Profile: Carole Zabbal

Carole Zabbal (

Joined PWAC in:
Summer 2007

Why did you join PWAC?
Most of the people in my social circle have “real” jobs, and I desperately wanted to meet others who had chosen this lifestyle. I only wish I’d joined PWAC earlier – my first few steps into the writing world would have been an awful lot easier.

What kind of writing do you do, and who have you written for?
Most of my writing lately has been copywriting for print and Web. What I love most is writing travel pieces and articles on nature and the environment. I’ve written for Reuters, the Globe and Mail, community papers, Irish radio and newspapers, magazines, newsletters and a variety of corporate clients.

What was the first piece of paid writing you published?
My first published article was a piece for a nature magazine in Ireland called Wild Ireland that described what the plants and animals were up to at that time of the year. It wasn’t well paid and I spent a lot of time researching, but I couldn’t have been happier when it was published.

What made you want to be a writer?
I never thought of being anything else. In fact, I’ve never tried to be anything else. I’ve had a lot of luck and very few obstacles in my way to becoming a professional writer, for which I’m very thankful.

What qualities do you look for in an editor/client?
I like working with people who are ethical and professional. I’ve learned from experience that some projects aren’t worth it, even if they’re well paid, if you don’t trust the person. I tend to follow my instincts.

What’s the best piece of writing advice anyone has given you/that you want to pass on?
I was once moaning about not having enough time or inspiration to write a piece (with a looming deadline) and was not so gently told to “stop whining and just write.” It worked; once the excuses stopped, the words came.

Who are your favourite writers?
I’ve always loved reading Salman Rushdie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joanne Harris, Colm Tóibín, Carol Shields, Irvine Welsh and Roddy Doyle, among many others.

You can’t write without your…
…windows. I just can’t seem to get any inspiration if I’m surrounded by walls. No windows, no writing.

If you weren’t a writer, you’d be a…
…park ranger. There’s no place I feel I belong to more than outdoors in nature. I’m very conscious of the environment, so I’d have been proud to participate in its preservation.

Back to Belles Lettres: Fall ’08

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