“Who’s really an author?” This question has probably crossed every would-be writer’s mind several times. “Do I have the proper experience? Do I have anything worth saying? Can I really change anyone’s mind with my ideas?” The act of writing can be a daunting task that requires energy, focus, and time. You must be passionate about your subject to see it through from the germ of inspiration to the finality of a published piece.
Coming from a scientific background, I approached writing from a different vantage point than a prose writer or blogger. I found the process increased my depth of understanding, and it was beneficial for my growth as a professional.
1. Writing to Strengthen Your Expertise
Publishing a book was the most effective way for me to formulate a plan to improve healthcare delivery. Over the course of 30 years of clinical experience, I had become progressively frustrated with the inefficiencies I encountered while trying to care for patients. I devoted my energies to researching and creating an alternative approach to healthcare, and my efforts were shaped into a book, CriticallyIll. This publishing venture constituted a major shift in career direction. I have found that I learn best by teaching and writing about a subject, so by discovering and integrating new knowledge into my writing, I was able to progressively gain expertise in healthcare delivery. Just as my colleagues previously accepted my advice as an infectious diseases expert, as a consequence of my writing Critically Ill, they now consider me an expert on frontline healthcare delivery.
As you begin researching possible publishing opportunities, you will acquire new skills and perspectives that promise to broaden your life experience and, at the same time, force you to focus your writing efforts. Remember that good writers have to experience life in order to write about it! My own writing experience strengthened my resolve to fix the healthcare challenges that face our nation; it has also presented new opportunities to attend conferences and publish articles in magazines and other publications.
2. Writing to Organize and Communicate
Writing forces writers to organize their ideas. To convey information and connect with your reader, you have to lay out your article or book in a logical order that enhances your reader’s ability to follow your ideas. As a doctor and scientific investigator, I was trained to write succinctly and clearly; this experience helped me effectively relay detailed ideas that improve how care is delivered to patients. To organize your own writing, you should consider outlining your thoughts in a journal or diary. These are excellent vehicles for learning how to write effectively and hone your observational and organizational skills.
From scientific journal articles to a detailed epic novel, as you craft your piece, always keep in mind your basic purpose and the key messages you wish to convey. These goals cannot be accomplished without planning and dedication. They also require you to have an intended audience in mind to ensure your message is clear and targeted. When writing Critically Ill, my intended audience was anyone directly involved in patient care at the hospital bedside and clinic. As a fellow caregiver, my goal was to encourage healthcare providers to work together to devise solutions to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and patient focus of healthcare. Your audience could range in size from a huge population of mystery fans to a small workshop of fellow writers. The important guiding principle is to always communicate with your primary audience.
3. Strategies for Non-Writers
All writers, whether writing a first piece or a 20th novel, must be passionate about their subjects. Without passion, your writing is likely to fall flat and fail to connect with your audience. You must steep yourself in your subject matter, living and breathing the ideas you’re trying to impart. To accomplish this task, most writers need to devote a significant block of time each day to their writing; I found that I personally had to devote a minimum of four hours per day to writing my book. Given the time and devotion necessary for this endeavor, it’s crucial that you have the emotional support of family and friends to assist you on this journey. Without this support, writing has the potential to be very stressful and, possibly, create discord. A writer needs to withdraw from day-to-day existence in order maximize creative energy.
A large component of creative thought is fueled by experience; you should use your professional and personal experience to fuel your writing. Writing sharpens your observational skills and that, in turn, helps create rich and purposeful text. Reflect on your personal experiences and draw on your imagination if you’re a creative writer. If you are pursuing nonfiction writing, read extensively and critically about your subject until you have a full grasp of your field. Writing opens worlds within you and brings those worlds to your audience. To be an effective writer, you need to write what you know.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, by exploring your interests through writing, you will gain new knowledge and insights that will provide you with a deeper understanding of the world around you. Writing strengthens your ability to communicate; it also enhances your observational and organizational skills. Writing can also open professional doors if you choose to devote your spare time to more deeply understanding your industry.
I have become a better physician as a consequence of writing articles and books. You, too, can benefit by becoming an author. The more you write, the more you’ll gain from your writing. Good luck on your journey toward becoming an author!
- 1 posts