What It's Like to Be a Hallmark Greeting Card Writer
Suzanne Berry finds inspiration everywhere.
Wherever she goes, Suzanne Berry carries a notepad with her because she never knows when she’ll find inspiration. As a consummate people-watcher and eavesdropper, this awareness of her surroundings comes in handy in her job. You see, for almost 16 years, she’s been a greeting card writer at Hallmark Cards. The 38-year-old Waldo resident earned a degree in English from Truman State University in Kirksville. Working with a team of editorial and art directors, she’s written about 3,000 cards and more than a dozen small books sold at Hallmark stores. “I honestly cannot imagine doing anything more fulfilling than what I get to do,” she says. “I love it. The variety keeps things fresh all the time.”
Berry says many people don’t realize how tough her job can be. “There’s a humor writer I work with, and he has a great way of putting it. He says, ‘You know, most people can come up with a joke, and a great joke, but can they do it every single day, many times a day?’ That’s our job, coming up with a new way of talking about love or a fresh way of saying happy birthday.”
Mother’s Day is her “happy place,” she says. “Each writer kind of has their own specialty. We can all do a broad variety of things, but each writer has their one card line that they work really closely with, and mine is Mother’s Day. Part of that is that I draw so much inspiration from the women in my life. I come from a long line of very strong, independent, feisty women, and we’re very closely connected still. So that is just a natural fit for me. I love celebrating what women bring to the family.”
“One of my favorite things about the job is that it’s so neat to be a part of something that I think honestly does so much good in people’s lives and in the world. I think now more than ever the world needs more caring, more compassion. And knowing that’s what Hallmark has been doing for more than 100 years.”
With other ways of communicating in this digital world, such as emails, texts and social media, Hallmark has evolved with the times, she says. “People really care about authenticity, and they want it to sound like they speak, so we pay attention to language trends. I think in the last few years with the digital age, I’ve seen just how the role of the greeting card has changed and become even more meaningful. Whenever you exchange a lasting message or a note from your mom or your grandmother, you can’t replicate that with email or texting. All of those things have a place, but there’s something so special about cards that I don’t think will ever go away.”