Friday, February 16, 2007

Becoming a Medical Writer: Pure Chance?

Paraphrasing Art Gertel, a past president of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA), most people in our profession never said, "I want to grow up and be a medical writer."

This has become evident in the responses to a query I sent to an AMWA listserv: “How did you become a medical writer?” Here’s how some people began their stories:

“I got lucky.”

“Completely by accident!”

“I kind of stumbled into it.”

Others admitted that they didn’t even know that medical writing existed until a friend mentioned it or they read about it in a magazine.

I’ve had that experience as well. “Medical writer? What is that?” people say—like a conditioned reflex—when I reveal what I do for a living.

Then comes the painful explanation of what medical writing is all about (and I say painful because most outsiders—at least in my experience—will quickly change the subject as soon as you start talking about manuscripts, protocols and CME courses). A few times, however, you’ll hit the chord of a potential medical writer and, next thing you know, AMWA has a new member.

So, how do we increase awareness about medical writing?

How do we reach those writers trapped inside the body of a physician or a bench scientist?

For my part, I’ll contribute my grain of sand with this blog and with an ebook I’ll publish soon on how to become a medical writer. If you sign up here, I’ll let you know when the ebook is published.

Thanks for reading!

No comments: