Many new writers get discouraged. I get it. Trust me, even those of us with a bit of road under our trainers get discouraged. You are looking for clients, new opportunties, or more control over your work life. Maybe you are hoping to develop new skills or transition into a creative career as a writer, public speaker, or even data analyst. I sincerely welcome each and every one of you and the best part of my day is hearing from you.
My advice is always to start now. Start today. It isn't easy for any of us--trust me. Clients won't pay you, you will feel under-valued, over-looked, living out of a suitcase gets old, editing often feels like gall-bladder removal, and we stand on alluvial soil. Heatlhcare is transitioning faster than the blue line metro heading to the Brookings institution. Go listen to the economists, the health policy leaders, scientists, data analysts, and the content creators. I travel for hours just for a few minutes of face time--or to ask a question.
One minute I am riding Amtrak up to DC listening to the Diane Rehm Show--as they discuss the debate over drug pricing, and the next day I am asking a member of the panel, Craig Garthwaite, health economist, a question about drug costs and policies. What is the downside of reporting from the White House (Conference on Aging), National Institutes of Health, or even presenting at a meeting in Hawaii? Well, suit up and I will share a few truths...
First of all, I am up at dawn. Not the pretty dawn with the colors splayed out over the horizon but the cat spitting up a hairball so I might as well stay up sort of dawn. The laundry is clean--so no judging--but it isn't folded. It is in a pile over there on top of those fancy white leather chairs. I head out for a work-out remembering my life as a triathlete. Now I get to pick from three sports to suck at. There is no time to consistently train so I do the best I can to maintain status quo--hoping that the opportunity to compete will return in 2016 (although I did get to swim in Kona so boo hoo for me).
Today for example, between writerly obligations, I took the aforementioned cat to the vet, picked up drycleaning, booked an airline ticket for a flight that leaves from North Carolina while I am still in DC--unless I drive back home the same night. At least I will save money on the hotel. I will pack 2 bags tonight. The one that goes with me tomorrow and the one that I need to grab to catch my flight on Sunday.
Now I am finally able to start writing. My sons are otherwise entertained, my husband is filling up the Prius for my trip to DC--and I am sipping an iced tea in my quiet home office. I love to spread out my books and pick them up as needed, sketching notes hoping to get to the scheduled word count in time to join my family at a celebration downtown. Life is good. Don't compare your beginning with someone else's middle.
Nobody's life--professional or otherwise is perfect. The white-washed successes of a few published books, speaking engagements, or whatever it is we use as a metric isn't what counts. Its the getting up each day and trying harder to write more words, better words, making a difference, a connection--not quitting. My mantra that I write on my arm when I compete applies here as well--there will come a day when I can't do this--today is not that day.
I'll be tweeting from the Tableau Data Visualization conference and the National Physician's Alliance @dataanddonuts or @graphemeconsult if you want to follow along...
Thoughtful discussions about content development and outcomes analytics that apply the principles and frameworks of health policy and economics to persistent and perplexing health and health care problems.
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In a world of "evidence-based" medicine I am a bigger fan of practice-based evidence.
Remember the quote by Upton Sinclair...
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”