I am writing a book under a tight deadline. You can pre-order--other formats will become available. The title is Medical Writing for Smart People because dummies shouldn't write about medicine. I wanted something that wasn't redolent of instructional texts. The nitty gritty of a subjective perspective about a relatively objective pursuit. To complicate my life, my publisher hates the book cover so now that needs to be designed professionally. Words like lousy, unprofessional, "pretty bad" and "sloppy" were bandied about. A useful reminder that there is a parallel Business (capital B) side that you need to just appreciate and trust albeit soul crushing at times.
As a medical writer open to new opportunities seasoned with over 15 years of experience I have been on the frontline of healthcare transformation across a variety of stakeholder perspectives. I have a section about "a day in the life" that has been rewritten so many times that it has the potential to derail the entire project. Okay maybe I am being a bit dramatic but it certainly is a pothole to an otherwise smooth ride (book cover aside). Each day is entirely unique and as soon as I write the chapter another interesting albeit challenging day evolves. This image is from one of my favorite artists and it reminded me of a unique aspect of my professional life. You are never too far from a quick run or a swim. Her name is Nancy Farmer and I encourage you to look her up here.
An irregularly regular day...
Writing is physical work. Research, travel, and meetings necessitate that I either go for a run, swim, or hop on my bike trainer for a few hours. On the run I like podcasts that inform or stimulate creative thought--when woefully burdened with projects in various stages I opt for the bike trainer. From the bike I can read, have a meeting or two, or catch up on emails. The swim is where I can let it all go. Rhythmic laps are also suitable for relaxation and level set often needed when traveling. I love the illustration of the business suit with the swimsuit always at the ready. I often substitute my tri-shorts under my business attire if meetings are located near a great trail or park.
If you automate as much of your business infrastructure as possible, your day is ready once you return. I typically work on a few blogs and then settle into client work. The ebb and flow is manageable and I find myself lucky to pursue high-value work. Integrating economics, health policy, and clinical medicine into a compelling narrative isn't a bad way to spend your work life. Freelance work is not for everyone. If you crave independence and meaningful work I encourage you to give it a try--swimsuit optional.
Here is a list of a few of my favorite time savers:
1. Feedly (filter RSS fields of interest into one source)
2. Buffer (schedule social media posts around a variety of time zones)
3. Canva (add a design flare to images)
4. Sumo (free tools to simplify your website/blog)
5. Weebly (the best platform for my website/blog)
6. Atavist (you worry about the content, Atavist will take care of everything else)
7. iTunes (podcasts) for finding your "think" thoughts
8. Public Library (e-books)
9. Storify (for a quick search for what everyone is talking about)
10. Mail Chimp (best way to keep in touch with your "tribe" through quick easy newsletters)
Your mileage may vary! Please share any useful tools in the comments.