What Are They Smoking?

jointA member of the American Medical Writers Association freelance listserve recently posted this help-wanted ad from Craig’s list:   

“We’re looking for an experienced analyst/wordsmith to make sense of the health care bill. We will pay a per-project fee for a  qualified writer to put some hard work into summarizing the bill in an 8-10 page white paper. We have a strong preference for individuals with a background in Sociology, Policy Research, Health Care, or  statistical analysis. Above all – however – you should have some  clippings to point us to so we can evaluate your writing chops.

As you can see, this report will include a lot of information, but it’s important that you are succinct and clear in your prose. Think of it as a detailed study done by a respected think tank, but produced for the average consumer.”

The “fee” (and I use the term loosely) for this “detailed study”? $100. Which wouldn’t even cover the cost of toner to print out the full bill for reading!

Hence the title of this blog.

The people behind this posting are not the … Continue Reading

freelance writing

You Need Me . . .You Really Do!

There’s been a lot of debate about the role of the medical writer in world of journal articles. The “g” word (ghostwriting) has been tossed about like salt on a Rachel Ray set. I’ll get into that debate in a later post, but for now I just want to say something about medical writers and why doctors need us: Doctors. Can’t. Write.

Ok, before you start lobbing your stethoscopes at me, let me explain. I know there are some doctors out there who are not only wonderful at writing journal articles and other medical pieces, such as CME programs, but also fiction and nonfiction. Two of my favorite authors–Perri Klass and Abraham Verghese–are physicians.

But let’s be honest here: you didn’t become physicians because of the narrative power of your pen (or keyboard). You haven’t spent 8 or 9 hours a day for the past 25 years turning a blank computer screen into a 4,000-word article or a 60,000-word book. You probably don’t have an AMA Manual of Style holding down a stack of papers on your desk, Endnote reference database on your computer, and carpal tunnel from misusing a mouse for too many years.

I know this because I … Continue Reading

clients writing