How I’ve Used National Novel Writing Month to Crush Writing Goals


My fourth fiction novel, entitled Not a Chance, was published on October 31, 2018. It’s a little fitting that NaNoWriMo eve is the release date since I wrote the first draft of this novel during 2014 National Novel Writing Month. Overall I can claim 6 NaNoWri wins, despite crawling to the finish with 2 of them and in my excitement, I forgot to upload them to get official credit. I succeeded in writing more in those months than I thought possible, and that’s all that matters.

I’d tried, and failed, NaNoWriMo several times before that. The difference was that I didn’t find other people to hold me accountable, and I didn’t make writing a priority. NaNoWriMo gives permission to put writing first. Writing is often a very solitary endeavor. It’s all too easy to procrastinate or to unintentionally allow other tasks to fill the day, and say there’s no time to write. NaNo says yes there is, make the time. I could use the same guidelines any month to increase my word count, but there’s something about crushing word count goals in November—one of the months that writing seems almost impossible when the holiday craziness begins. It validates that with passion and persistence, and a little bit of cheerleading and support, many impossible goals become possible.

Aha Media Group 30-Day Challenge

If you’re not ready to start the Great American Novel, try the 30-Day Challenge from the Aha Media Group. This writing challenge promises to make you a better writer in just 5 minutes a day! These are great writers tips worth practicing. Make it a priority and schedule 5 minutes a day to accomplish the tasks.

Are you a Healthcare Freelancer?  

Join our gated Facebook community for an accountability challenge hosted by our SavvyScribe Mastermind members!

Our community is all about supporting one another in our freelance business!  Providing Community, Support, and Accountability so you can take Action to take your business to the next level!

Several of our members, like Maureen,  are focused on their next book and joining #NaNoWriMo.  Still, others are bloggers, vloggers and even brand new at writing!  They will be joining our friends with AHA Media in their 30-Day Challenge.

Our Savvy Scribe Mastermind members are providing daily #FreelanceWriting prompts in our community – plus sharing hacks and tips for achieving success!

Join our sassy community, we’d love to have you!

A Writers Guide to Surviving a Freelance Famine

The feast and famine cycle is fairly common in the freelance world. Meaning you’re either up to your elbows in deadlines, staring at a screen through blurred vision stemmed from exhaustion or you’re trying to figure out what to do with yourself until the next gig comes along. Since I’m sure you can figure out a thousand ways to fill your time during the feast, today we’re tackling the famine side of the spectrum.

If you’re reading this article I imagine you fall under one of three categories:

  1. You’re currently experiencing a freelance famine
  2. You’ve been there, remember how terrible it was and want to be prepared for next time
  3. You’re a freelancer who has never experienced a famine (lucky you!) and want to be ready just in case

Regardless of why you’re here, the following information is sure to be helpful!

What is Freelance Famine?

If you’ve yet to experience a freelance writing famine in your business congratulations are certainly in order! And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it will happen. I have yet to meet a writer that hasn’t experienced famine in one sense or another. In other words, it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when.

For example, tomorrow, all my clients could email me saying, “Janine our budget has changed, and the article you submitted will be the last one for now. Thanks for working with us.” and BAM, there goes a chunk of my freelance income.

Welcome to a freelance famine.

My Recent Freelance Famine

I had an excellent client who had a fantastic income for me monthly and I submitted 3-4 articles a month to them. Then, with a 30-day notice, I was cut from the budget. Just like that.

What did I do you ask?

What I don’t recommend. I panicked. “It could take weeks or months to make up for this client,” I thought. Then, I took a deep breath and knew I had to get back in the game and work on my business and I hope the following tips I learned along the way are helpful to you in your own journey!

1. Pitch Away

Now that I lacked a client, it was time to pitch! The Healthcare Marketing Network helped me regain clients quickly because all my pitches were accepted! Never pitched before? You can take our free seven-day pitch course when you join the Healthcare Marketing Network!

2. Update your Website

Could your website use a revamp? There’s no better time than now! I didn’t revamp mine, but I did change my pricing structure and played with some new ideas to expand my services. It was during this time that I started to offer coaching and virtual assistance services and built two email lists, rather than one!

3. Find a Tribe

I found my tribe within the Healthcare Marketing Network, but you could find yours anywhere! Go ahead and branch out to find a tribe that supports you in your the work you do, as well as the freelance journey itself. In one of my original Thoughtful Thursdays in our Facebook community for writers, I chatted about finding even one person who does exactly what you are doing. You can help each other become accountable, and just like many things in life, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know!

4. Continue your Blog Postings

Keep up on your content calendar. The more traffic you drive to your site, the more potential clients you will have. This would also be the perfect time to take a look at your social media accounts to make sure they are optimized and tailored to your perfect client!

5. Never Stop Learning

Did you recently hear about a great book on freelance writing? Now’s the time to start reading it! If you’re a writer you’re likely an avid reader as well, but I have met writers that aren’t big on the reading side of things. If that’s you, try listening to audiobooks or podcasts during your commutes. If you have the time and resources why not invest in your business via an online course or local workshop? No matter how you decide to go about it, use this downtime wisely and your business will thank you!

The freelance famine is real, and it can make you feel like a failure because you are alone at your computer. You’re not alone though. At the Healthcare Marketing Network, we offer up a tribe of experienced freelancers to build you up! Whether you need tactical business advice, have questions about a client, or just need words of encouragement we’ve got you covered. We’re like one big, happy family and would love for you to pull up a chair at our roundtable!


4 Ways Blogging Improved My Business

I started blogging by accident. More as a journal entry than a way to promote my business.

I work in the reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) field and had to perform one of my least favorite parts of my job; telling a patient that she lost her pregnancy. I found myself thinking about her (and how I imparted the news) long after the event itself and decided to write about it in order to relieve the stress associated with it.

After doing so, I posted it as a blog on my website and linked it to some social media pages. The next day I woke up to a buzzing phone with many notifications of ‘likes’ and comments on my post, either from other nurses, friends or just people who have experienced pregnancy loss. As a result, I realized that writing a blog could help me to inspire and educate more people than I ever could by in-person interactions alone.

Over time, though, writing a blog has helped my business in a more indirect, but no less impactful, way.

1. Establishes Credibility

One of the most obvious benefits and one of the main reasons many people choose to write a blog is to help position themselves as an expert in their field. Researching the topics for my blog has forced me to stay current regarding the latest literature and trends in REI, an important aspect of educating others in a rapidly growing field. I also started to provide content for other REI blogs, in addition to my own, further expanding my reach and getting others to notice me and my brand.

2. Patient Insight

My blog has provided me with so much valuable insight into the mindset of patients, which I’m then able to share with the nurses who care for them.

I started expanding my social media presence in order to research ideas for blog posts and found that infertility patients started following me. Reading what they post on their Instagram pages has been eye-opening for me, as it challenged my perception of the importance of certain events in the infertility journey.

A great example of this is the appointment with the physician following a failed treatment cycle, an appointment that nurses call a “negative follow-up” and patients (apparently) call the WTF appointment.

I realized that this appointment is meaningful, as patients have many questions regarding the reason for their cycle failure and are curious about the plan for next steps. I was surprised, though, at the level of anticipation for this particular office visit. Patients post often about anxiously waiting for this appointment, they postulate what will be discussed and despair that there might not be a viable option for them to achieve a pregnancy.

REI nurses barely mention this appointment when we call them with their negative pregnancy test.

The negative pregnancy test phone call is dreaded by REI nurses everywhere and, as a by-product of our discomfort in having to relay bad news, we often rush through it. Now, I educate the nurses with whom I work that they should call the patient again a day or two after the initial phone call, and spend quality time offering support, outlining what they can expect at the WTF appointment and ending the call with a tone of cautious optimism.

This one extra phone call has been incredibly well-received by patients and goes a long way to alleviate some of the anger and anxiety generated by a negative test result. Had it not been for my blogging efforts I may have never had this insight.

3. Network Growth

Blogging has helped me create and cultivate an invaluable network of nurse entrepreneurs.

At the beginning of my blog and website creation, I would reach out to colleagues and authors of articles and blogs that I respected in order to connect and ask for advice. I didn’t feel like I had much to offer on my end, but eventually, I did. We would bounce ideas off each other, compare new apps or programs or share helpful information. I also became friends with colleagues who worked in the infertility field, but specialized in services tangential to mine and we started to naturally cross-refer to each other.

For example, if a client asks me for patient education materials, I tell them that is not my specialty, but I can refer them to a colleague. In turn, my colleagues refer me when someone needs help with my specialty. In time, I have become part of a community of other nurses, entrepreneurs and healthcare professionals, which has been integral to improving my efficiency, expanding my reach and helping to alleviate the stress that is inherent to owning and running your own business.

4. Added Value for All

My company’s mission is to educate and empower REI nurses and, originally, I only focused on providing novice nurses the information and theory that they need to succeed.

In a short time, though, I realized that I needed something to offer the more experienced nurses too. I found that the way to enrich and enhance the work life of this subset of nurses is to provide them with leadership and networking skills.

So I started to research and write blogs on professional development, mentoring and presentation skills and found myself enlightened in these areas as an added bonus. I utilized my newly-acquired network of nursing contacts to introduce seasoned REI nurses to each other so that they can form their own community, with the goal of creating an environment where they can all thrive.

Writing a blog has added incredible value to my business and I highly recommend starting one, even if you don’t acquire an immediate following. You will benefit from the process of writing it as much, if not more than you will the finished product. Finally, if you define success as having the above-listed benefits, as opposed to just the number of ‘likes’ or comments, then adding a blog to your business repertoire can be one of the most beneficial actions that you can take to advance yourself and your company.


5 Things Every Nurse Writer Needs to Know

5 Things Every Nurse Writer Needs to Know

As the need for high-quality, on demand nursing related content continues to increase, nurses have unlimited opportunity to become well-paid writers. Whether choosing to write articles that speak to a particular audience, or developing individualized content for hire, nurse writers are very much in demand.

Because nurses are able to speak to an audience in a way that others without our industry experience cannot, we are able to leverage our expertise in a way that helps to secure writing gigs and build a strong following. Even if you’re only interested in writing for fun, there are still a few things you’ll need to do in order to get your writing noticed.

Since you’ve read this far, I’d assume that you are interested in learning more! So without further adieu, here are 5 things that every nurse writer needs to know:

1. Build a Beautiful Website to Host your Work

When you are interested in learning about someone and the work they do, where do you go to find out more? If you said “their website” then you are just like everyone else! It has become an expectation for all businesses and freelance professionals to have a website that not only lists their products and services, but serves as a communication platform for their clients and readers as well. 

When you are building your website you want it to look professional, but don’t be afraid to show some of your personality too! Your website doesn’t have to be fancy. If you look at my services page, you will see that it is a simple page that clearly defines the services I provide. The most important thing is creating a website that clearly represents you and the work that you do.

2. Find Your Niche Audience and Write to Their Needs

Finding a niche audience and writing to their needs has been one of the most challenging things for me to accomplish. With all of my varying experiences, opinions, and worldly views, I found myself wanting to write about whatever popped into my head. For example, one article would be about reality shock and then the next would discuss hospital value-based purchasing. Although both topics are nursing related, they cater to two very different types of reader. The problem with writing this way is that it is difficult to gain a loyal following.

I have since figured out that my niche audience is nursing students and new grads. I provide them with what they need: study tips, coaching, mentoring and tutoring. By creating content that is specialized and focused on providing value for my niche audience, I have gained a larger, more loyal following.

3. Write on Topics You Love

There’s always that one writing assignment we agree to, and wind up hating – but that’s okay! What’s not okay is continuously accepting writing assignments that you’re not excited about. Let’s face it, if you can’t muster up some form of positive thinking on the topic, it shows in your work.

Readers have a keen ability to feel your presence, hear your tone, and read in between the lines. Trust me when I say that if you’re not passionate about the subject you’re writing about, they will know it. This will cause you to lose followers, as well as potential clients. So, the next time you are considering  a writing assignment that doesn’t get you pumped and ready to go, – DON’T! You and your readers will be glad that you decided to say no, thank you, and kept moving.

4. Network with Like-Minded Individuals

When I first started writing, I felt that it would be best to do all my research independently. This meant not sharing my ideas for content creation with others. For some silly reason, I was under the impression that if others learned of my ideas, that they would swoop in and steal it. I didn’t want someone taking my intellectual property and creating the amazing business I was set out to create! Well, I learned real quick that wasn’t the way to go. Not sharing my ideas with other like-minded individuals was a huge disservice to my professional growth.

In fact, it wasn’t until I started to share my ideas with other like-minded individuals, that I began making real progress. I learned of questions I never thought to ask. I learned of potential flaws, and learned how to identify many business opportunities. I learned how the sharing of my ideas could inspire, motivate and attract others who want to cheer, support and validate my work. It is with no doubt that seeking out other like-minded individuals and bouncing ideas around is easily one of the most valuable things I have ever done for my professional growth as a nurse writer.

5. Carefully Listen to Your Audience and Clients

The power of listening to your audience and client base can’t be stressed enough! The last thing you want is to create content that does not meet the expectations of your readers. Whether you’re writing for a group of eager nursing students or a prestigious nursing organization, make sure to listen carefully.

It’s also important to let clients voice their concerns openly and honestly. It may seem intuitive to reassure them, rather than letting them express themselves, but it isn’t good for either one of you. Trust me, I speak from experience. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s important to allow people to fully express their desires, hesitations, and needs before formulating a response. Not only does this method provide me with a better understanding of what they are asking of me, but it gives me the opportunity to form a comprehensive response as well. In the end, it winds up being a win-win situation!

I hope that you find these 5 things valuable to you and your writing journey, and don’t forget to be a gem and share this with others who may benefit from this advice!


January #CarnivalOfHealth: Our Writers Dish About Health, Wellness and a Resolution Worth Keeping

As the first month of 2018 winds down, writers from the Healthcare Marketing Network Facebook Community are joining the January #CarnivalOfHealth to reflect on fitness, wellness, and resolutions worth keeping for the New Year.  Studies show that those who regularly demonstrate gratefulness and thankfulness are healthier and happier.

Take the first step to a healthier you in 2018 by reading through these posts and sharing them on social media using #CarnivalOfHealth. We hope that meeting these writers and reading these posts will help get your wellness journey started this year…..or possibly give you some insight!


Maybe a Resolution Isn’t Your Fitness Solution

Maureen Bonatch – Charmed Type

Exercising more, eating better and getting healthy usually top the list for New Year’s resolutions. It’s no surprise that companies are more than willing to accommodate the demand for a quick fix to what has usually been a problem for most people for the entire year prior. Therefore, for the first few weeks of January we’re bombarded with commercials and products promising fast weight loss and a quick fitness fix.

These commercials lessen as the first month of the year progresses. By February most of us have abandoned our diets and new fitness equipment to settle into comfortable habits. Perhaps that’s because achieving fitness goals might take more than a new program, it might take a new mindset.

Read More


How to Stay Healthy As a Writer: Hint- Running From Your Fans Isn’t An Exercise Plan

Annie Beth Donahue –

It’s 5:00 am. Prime time to work on healthy habits. Moms of young children stealthily creep down the hall to put a yoga DVD on the bonus room TV. Fitness buffs push through the front doors of gyms. Boomer-aged men jog down neighborhood streets, listening to The Eagles on their iTunes playlist.

Writers quietly pour a cup of coffee, start up their computer, and… sit down.

How many hours we each spend in front of the screen varies. But one thing is sure. Writing, as a profession, can be hazardous to your health.

Read More


The Greatest Wealth is Health

Anne Llewellyn – Nurse Advocate

It is said that if you have your health, you have everything. Yet, according to a study of 501 men ages 45 to 65 conducted by Men’s Health Network in 2014, men care more about their cars than their bodies. Almost 70% of men surveyed considered it easier to keep their cars in good condition than care for their personal health. In addition, more than 40% indicated that they would rather resolve issues with their car than address issues associated with their health.

Men are not alone in this thinking as noted by the Society for Women’s Health Research where they found that women make most of the health care decisions for their families. But when it’s their turn to go to the doctor, many don’t. Why? The reasons are widespread and vary from person to person.

Read More


Reboot Your Healthy New Years Resolution With Nature

Susan Allison-Dean – The Nature Nurse

Did you know that ‘loose weight’ or ‘get in shape’ was the second most common New Year’s Resolution for 2018 among Americans surveyed? Was that your New Year’s resolution?  How are you doing so far?

Hopefully you are doing great, already achieving some of the short-term goals you set up for yourself.  Maybe you are looking for a few more tips or motivation to strive forward.

Read More


We’d love to hear from you!  In the comments below, please share!  Did you set a health goal this year?  How are you doing so far?  Do you have an accountability partner or tribe offering support?

If you are a healthcare freelance writer or blogger and are interested in joining our tribe and participating in future blog carnivals, sign up here to receive notice of our schedule and topics for 2018!  You can check out more about the #CarnivalOfHealth HERE and HERE.


January #CarnivalOfHealth Blog Carnival: Hosted by the Healthcare Marketing Network

We have another exciting opportunity for the members of the Healthcare Marketing Network Facebook Group! Just like last month, we are hosting another Blog Carnival: The #CarnivalofHealth


January Topic: Fitness – How to use this topic within your Writing or Blogging Niche

When we hit January, we know that everyone wants to create a #NewYou for the New Year.

Therefore, we wanted to create an opportunity for members to showcase their expertise and experiences by giving the general public information to help them in their journey to get fit and healthy.  Health – related content created by healthcare subject matter experts themselves!  Nurses, Doctors, Social Workers, Pharmacists, Care Managers, Patients and Advocates.


What Exactly Is a Blog Carnival? Find out more here!


Here’s how fitness plays into our blog carnival topic.

We would like you to share a story or some information about becoming healthier, whether with exercise or diet for 2018…all in the construct of your writing niche. Go ahead, share the steps and actional tasks that can help others follow in your footsteps to a better, more healthy body and mind.  And as healthcare freelancers, we love to share evidence, so feel free to be liberal with credible resources!


Should posts be a certain length?

All guidelines are posted here: Blog Carnival Guidelines


What should the post link back to?

We encourage you to include something like this at the end of your post:

This post was written as part of the #CarnivalOfHealth, a Pop Up Blog Carnival hosted by the Healthcare Marketing Network.

More great posts by freelance healthcare writers on this topic can be found on the Healthcare Marketing Network blog.

If you are a healthcare freelance writer or blogger and are interested in joining our tribe and participating in future blog carnivals, sign up here to receive notice of our schedule and topics for 2018!

Once the round-up post goes live on the Healthcare Marketing Network blog, we will notify you of the live link in a group message via our project board & you can add that link to the post on your website, as well.


When does the post need to be published by?

Publish your post anytime by midnight CST Jan 19, 2018 to be included in this January Pop-Up Blog Carnival.

Our goal will be to publish the round-up post on the Healthcare Marketing Network blog by midnight CST Jan 21, 2018.


How do I get signed up to participate?

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4!

First – ONLY writers, bloggers, vloggers and podcasters who are healthcare professionals, patients or advocates are eligible to participate.

Second, you need to be a member of the Healthcare Marketing Network Facebook Community – its a gated community just for freelance healthcare professionals.  Sign up HERE if you aren’t already in the tribe.  It’s FREE.  Want to learn more about this ahhhhmazing community?  Check out a few of the stories from our tribe!

Hired a Coach, Gained a Community – by Melissa Mills

The Value in A Writers Community – by Anne Llewellyn

My Road to Writing and How the Healthcare Marketing Network is Making It Happen! – by Kimberly Jones

Third, once you are a member of the Facebook Community, Make sure you have signed up for our Talent Marketplace & have filled out your profile completely. If you haven’t done that yet….what are you waiting for?  Here’s the post in the Facebook community, with a few directions from Carol to get you started.  

Fourth, Click here to get registered and to let the team know you will be publishing a post for the carnival. Then we will add you to the project board in our Talent Marketplace and you will receive an email notification to join the January Pop-Up Carnival Gig. The discussion board of the project will contain ALL the details to submit your post!

(Why am I asking you to go through a few hoops?  Because we use our Talent Marketplace (writer directory) and Gig Board (Pinterest-like project board) to connect clients who need quality healthcare content with writers who can deliver.  It’s a great way to practice using the collaboration platform so you can be prepped to land those paying gigs and join our Pitchfests!


Fa la la la Freelance_ 4 Reasons I Love Holidays as a Freelancer

Fa-La-La-La Freelance: 4 Reasons I Love Holidays as a Freelancer

The holidays are such a joyous time of the year for so many reasons! However, being burdened by a lack of control in the time department can put a serious damper on things. This is something I know all too well.

A microwavable turkey dinner, large coffee, and lots of tears. That was my Thanksgiving dinner on my first holiday working as a nurse. The reality of this new adult life hit me hard. I had gone from a glorious, responsibility-free college student to a night shift nurse at the bottom of the totem pole, working weekends and holidays.

It was time to accept the fact that I’d be missing my fair share of family events, I wouldn’t be out with my friends on New Year’s Eve, and I might even miss Christmas morning when I became a mom. It was circumstances like these that made me want more.

More freedom. More flexibility. More time. This is where my freelancing journey started and I’m incredibly grateful for said journey! Don’t get me wrong, the freelance life isn’t for everyone; it certainly comes with its own set of challenges. But there’s just no trade-off for the type of freedom you’re allotted when you work for yourself.

One of the greatest times to relish in the freelance life is the holidays, so I’d like to share with you the top reasons I’m so happy to be a freelancer this time of year!

No More Permission

As I covered above, freelancing equals freedom. There is no need to request off for your holiday break in July or try to switch holidays with a coworker because you are in total control over your work. And while that responsibility is intense, it helps to remember that it’s worth it.

Even if you have a busy workload, take advantage of this freedom. Schedule a midday massage or meet a friend for a weekday lunch. Spend a little time thanking yourself for all your hard work over the past year!

Flex Down

Because you have control over your workload and schedule, you have the freedom to take time off during the holidays. I love being able to take extended time off at the end of the year. When our daughter was a baby, I was working full time and out of vacation time due to maternity leave, but I still took almost two weeks off to be with her around Christmas.

Make a list of all of the fun holiday activities you love, but rarely have time for. Put them on the calendar, then schedule work around your personal and family time. You’ve worked hard to be your own boss, so be kind to yourself! Take time to go see Christmas lights, wrap gifts, send cards, and meet up with friends.

Flex Up

Maybe you prefer to take on more work during the holidays? The costs of presents and hosting can add up quickly, so having a little financial padding is a huge stress reliever. Fortunately for you, many of your freelancer colleagues are taking time off, so pitch away! You’ll have less competition, so go ahead and fill your client load to the max for the next few months.

If you find yourself working more during this time due to sheer necessity, don’t beat yourself up. Make a plan starting in January to set aside a little extra each month to be able to pay yourself vacation time in December 2018. Learning lessons the hard way is a big part of any entrepreneur’s journey!


As a freelancer, your brain has a tendency to stay in overdrive. You have to pitch yourself, do the work, follow-up with clients, and figure out your budget. Doing it all makes it easy to get sucked into the day-to-day busy work and forget to take a step back to look at your entire business, but the holidays are a perfect time to reflect!

Make a list of all of your accomplishments, big or small. Did you land that big client, pay off your student loans, or cut back at your day job? It’s common to to hit your goals, then immediately move on, but you deserve more, so take this time to soak it all in.

Next, look at what didn’t go so well. What changes do you want to make in 2018? How would you like to grow? Perhaps you know that you no longer want to do social media for clients or you want to become more specialized. Don’t dwell on what didn’t go well; just chalk it up to experience and move on. Taking some reflection time will give you invaluable clarity as you move forward.

I could list plenty more things I love about the freelance life, but we wouldn’t have time to cover them all! What do you love about working for yourself? If you don’t work for yourself, but would like to, is there something about this time of year that motivates you to make the change? Share in the comments below!

And to all my freelancing friends out there – please take time to enjoy this wonderful time of the year! You’ve earned it!


#CarnivalOfHealth: 8 Freelance Healthcare Writers Offer Their Best Advice For Turning Mistakes Into Learning Opportunities

The truth is that all roads to achievement lead through the land of failure.

Every person you admire has walked this road: the Wright brothers, Arnold Palmer, Truett Cathy, Amelia Earhart, Hank Aaron, George Bernard Shaw and Mother Teresa have all experienced failure and learned how to turn it into a stepping stone for success.

Leadership expert Peter Drucker says, “The better a man is, the more mistakes he will make, for the more new things he will try.” Mistakes really do pave the road to achievement.

Here’s the thing about making mistakes.

Sometimes you know the actions you take will result in a mistake or maybe it might not result in a mistake but if you don’t make the mistake you will always be wondering “what if.”

“What if it does work out for me?”

“What if this is the path that I am supposed to make?”

You will never know unless you take action and make some mistakes along the way.

And it takes confidence to go out there to make mistakes in our life and to be okay with them. I have learned to appreciate them because if it wasn’t for my mistakes, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Wow! What a great turn out we had for our inaugural blog carnival, despite the busy holiday season!

We wanted to give members an opportunity to network with one another (We have an AHHHHHmazing tribe!!), learn about the magic of a blog carnival, and gain traffic to their writer websites.

The inspiration for our topic this month? A desire to leverage the strength and creativity of our community and an inspiring quote our Co-Founder Carol Bush AKA #QueenOfMakingItUpAtSheGoesAlong read one morning:

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde


We are proud to host and launch the #CarnivalOfHealth this month on the topic of turning a ‘mistake’ into an opportunity which moved our business forward. Check out the other healthcare freelance writer posts below for their excellent contributions to this important topic!


Carol Bush

Website: The Social Nurse

Title: Learning to Fail: Turn Mistakes Into Success in 2017

Carol experimented a lot in 2017 with her business. And, the reality is that each adventure is really as demanding for the body & mind as giving birth or running a marathon ! And here are a few realities that we really need to remind ourselves everyday… As launching a new adventure is a journey. And it’s ok to feel overwhelmed when you look at all the mountains that you need to climb every single day.  She has grown her network (and we call her the networking Queen), and has helped writers grow their client bases this past year. She is one dedicated woman, who doesn’t wallow in the fails, but makes them a springboard for success!  In this post, she shares how learning to fail and learning from failure are important parts of a growth mindset.


Jodi McCaffrey

Website: Inspired View Communications

Title: How I Found Myself Unemployed — and Found My Voice

Jodi was laid off this past year and was facing a huge life change. Was she able to start a freelance business and find success? She shares her vision for the future and the stages of grief she went through to get where she is now and how she is going forward for 2018!


Melissa Mills

Website: Making Space

Title: Surviving the Mid-Life House of Mirrors

Melissa was stuck in the beginning of 2017 with discovering who she was and where she wanted to be. She found herself surprised and in limbo…achieving her prestigious Masters degree in Administration and then realizing she was not fulfilled in her job anymore. The constant running around was starting to take a toll on her. She connected with Janine and hired her as a writing coach. She took her advice, and hasn’t looked back. Now, she is moving forward in 2018 with fewer hours at the nursing job, and more writing income than she ever knew she could have.


Vicki Warren

Website: Vicky Warren Writing

Title: For Solopreneurs, Less is More with Social Media

Vicky totally did a shift her in audience and realized who she needed to serve for 2018. She shares her own experience with burnout and how that helped her realize that she needed to focus on what she was good at…social media! She has now created a workbook for solopreneurs…her perfect clients…so she can focus on what she loves and help her clients soar!


Janine Kelbach

Website: Write RN

Title: Mastermind Group : My 2017 MISTAKE turned to SUCCESS for 2018!

This year was a year of transition and experimentation for Janine’s business and she tested a Mastermind group for her own accountability. A lot of research and preparation went into the group, and she came out with a greater mindset, an amazing group of women, and a plan for 2018!


Anne Llewellyn

Website: Nurse Advocate

Title: Lessons and Learning: How I Turned a Major Medical Event into my New Normal

Anne shares how she took medical complications as a cancer survivor and turned them into a a positive for herself and her business. Lots of transitions for her in 2017 led to her focus on helping others grow their businesses. Dealing with the late effects of cancer treatment is challenging.  Anne has such a positive outlook and constantly looks for adaptive ways she can manage her challenges.. Many people could settle on something they didn’t like, but Anne decided that wasn’t good enough for her. She wants to grow herself and her business in 2018 by working on projects that give her purpose.


Maureen Bonatch

Website: Charmed Type

Title: Embrace The Threat of Failure and Move On

Maureen explains the role of overwhelm in her life for 2017. Maureen has twin daughters, and is an author of fiction books. She branched out into freelance writing for nonfiction work this year….in addition to her other nursing job! She shares two lessons she has learned this year and is able to tell Mr. Overwhelm, “not today I have work to do” in 2018.


Cheri Clancy


Title:  11 Hard Lessons That Made Me More Successful in 2017

Early in 2017, Cheri launched her business as a consultant and keynote speaker. Cheri says, “Although I knew I had the experience and education to endure this journey, I didn’t realize how much I would learn in the process.  For example, I learned that the tactical skills such as building a website, consulting, blogging and participating in speaking engagements are the easy parts. The soft skills such as tenacity, perseverance and attitude are the harder ones to master. ”  Read through her lessons.  My favorite is #5: You’re only as good as those you associate with. 🙂


Annie Donahue

Website: Annie Beth Donahue

Title: It’s Not You, It’s Me: Knowing When to Break Up With a Freelance Client

We’ve all been in some sort of relationship where you had to end it, by being a ‘bad guy’. Sometimes, it’s a friendship, sometimes it’s a romantic relationship, and sometimes it’s a freelance relationship with a client. Annie shares how she had to break up with clients this year and why she did it. A key take away from her post?  Never settle with clients who don’t bring joy and energy to your business!


If you are reading this far, our wish for you is to have the courage and confidence to make mistakes because your mistakes will give you your greatest opportunities.

All in all, launching a business as a freelance writer is a thrilling and unique experience that not every individual gets to have in their lifetime.

Believe me when I say that it is so worth it.

If you’re up for the challenge, I suggest taking the leap of faith and defy your deepest fears of failure and inadequacy. You wouldn’t want to go another day without knowing your potential, right?

We’d love to hear from you!

In the comments below, please share a ‘mistake’ you experienced in your business this year and what you learned from it.

If you are a healthcare freelance writer or blogger and are interested in joining our tribe and participating in future blog carnivals, sign up here to receive notice of our schedule and topics for 2018!


Blog Carnival Launch: Introducing the #CarnivalOfHealth hosted by the Healthcare Marketing Network

We’ve started something new because we’re creative like that!

We’re going to start hosting a blog carnival (AKA a blog hop) just for our awesome tribe of writers in the Healthcare Marketing Network Facebook Community.

This will be a great opportunity to network with other members of the tribe, learn from one another, and even gain more traffic to your blog!

We’d love for you to play along, so read all the details below and join us on this fun new adventure!

What Exactly Is a Blog Carnival?

We’re so glad you asked! The best way to describe a blog carnival is a ‘travelling’ blog. Each blog carnival is set up by an initial organizer who chooses the subject consisting of a single post that contains links to a selection of other blog posts by everyone else in the carnival.

Different bloggers then volunteer to host the carnival on their own blogs each week, or month, depending on the carnival.

Writers, bloggers and vloggers then submit their posts to the host for consideration in the next carnival, and the host gathers these submissions and crafts a round-up post featuring snippets from each post and a link back to the published post on each contributors blog.

What is the main topic or theme of this December Pop Up Blog Carnival – #CarnivalOfHealth?

We’re going to talk all about the mistakes we’ve made this year! Well, sort of.

Oscar Wilde, the playwright, once said: “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”

I’ve learned a LOT this year and the most important thing I’ve learned is you can’t live your life by trying to avoid mistakes.

So, instead of ducking new challenges in business or in life because I’m afraid of making a mistake or failing, I’m shifting my thinking from “I’m not ready to do that” to “I want to do that—and I’ll learn by doing it.”  I’ve always had a personal mantra – ‘Just carry your fear right along with you’ – when trying new things….but for 2018, its taking on a whole new meaning in my life.  🙂

Here’s how this plays into our blog carnival topic.

I’d like you to share a story about the journey or the steps you took in 2017 which turned a ‘mistake’ into a ‘success’ in your writing/creating business. Something that you initially thought was a mistake, but you turned it around and it moved your freelance writing craft/business or mindset forward.

Should posts be a certain length?

Since you will be publishing your post on your own website, blog, or publishing platform like Medium or LinkedIn Publisher you get to choose the length, but we recommend keeping it between 700-1000 words to keep things uniform. Be sure it’s your best work and include professional images and formatting. This is important because our goal is to get you lots of new readers!

Should posts include a specific type of media, such as an image that relates to the blog carnival?

Yes! The marrvy Katie Bush will craft one of her famous graphics, which we will share with you when you sign up to participate.

What should the post link back to?

We encourage you to include something like this at the end of your post:

This post was written as part of  the #CarnivalOfHealth, a Pop Up Blog Carnival hosted by the Healthcare Marketing Network

More great posts by freelance healthcare writers on this topic can be found on the Healthcare Marketing Network blog.

If you are a healthcare freelance writer or blogger and are interested in joining our tribe and participating in future blog carnivals, sign up here to receive notice of our schedule and topics for 2018!

Once the round-up post goes live on the Healthcare Marketing Network blog, we will notify you of the live link in a group message via our project board & you can add that link to the post on your website, as well.

When does the post need to be published by?

Publish your post anytime by midnight CST Dec 20, 2017 to be included in this December Pop-Up Blog Carnival.

Our goal will be to publish the round-up post on the Healthcare Marketing Network blog by midnight CST Dec 21, 2017.

How do I get signed up to participate?

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

First – ONLY writers, bloggers, vloggers and podcasters who are healthcare professionals, patients or advocates are eligible to participate.

Second, you need to be a member of the Healthcare Marketing Network Facebook Community – its a gated community just for freelance healthcare professionals. Sign up HERE if you aren’t already in the tribe. Its FREE. Want to learn more about this ahhhhmazing community?  Check out a few of the stories from our tribe!

Hired a Coach, Gained a Community – by Melissa Mills

The Value in A Writers Community – by Anne Llewellyn

My Road to Writing and How the Healthcare Marketing Network is Making It Happen! – by Kimberly Jones

3. Once you are a member of the Facebook Community, Make sure you have signed up for our Talent Marketplace & have filled out your profile completely. If you haven’t done that yet….what are you waiting for?  Here’s the post in the facebook community, with a few directions from Carol to get you started.  

4.  Click here to get registered and to let the team know you will be publishing a post for the carnival. Then we will add you to the project board in our Talent Marketplace and you will receive an email notification to join the December Pop-Up Carnival Gig. The discussion board of the project will contain ALL the details to submit your post!

(Why am I asking you to go through a few hoops?  Because we use our Talent Marketplace (writer directory) and Gig Board (Pinterest-like project board) to connect clients who need quality healthcare content with writers who can deliver.  Its a great way to practice using the collaboration platform so you can be prepped to land those paying gigs and join our Pitchfests!

Read to Lead

Thanks to our great friend and mentor to MANY Professional Bloggers – Brittney Wilson AKA The Nerdy Nurse.   Brittney gave Carol her first taste of the magic of a blog carnival back in 2015, during the Nerdy Nurse Blog Carnival.  That specific carnival was a round up of our most popular posts for 2015.  It was a blast to write!  #NurseBlogLove: Nurse Blog Carnival Top 10 in 2015. Right now, that carnival is on hold, but you can still check out some of the ahhhhhmazing content from top Nurse Bloggers HERE

Want to find more blog carnivals in your niche?  Check out this directory!

How to Create and Host a Blog Carnival – A great explanatory post from 2012 from Problogger.

Use a Blog Carnival to Boost Your Blog`s Traffic – SEO

Need a primer on crafting the all-important Round Up Post?  Take time to read this great resource from Zac Johnson:  Expert Roundup Posts: 18 Examples in Different Niche Markets

Keep Calm and Eat Funnel Cakes!

Okay, that covers everything! At least we think so 🙂 If you have any further questions please feel free to contact Carol, she’s our Managing Editor and Textbroker.  Just be patient if she doesn’t reply right away…she’s hosting #MemawMadness this weekend with the littlest of the #BushFamilyOfFour.

Thanks so much everyone – we’re excited for the opportunity to do something so fun and communal with a tribe that is simply the best! – Carol, Janet, Janine and Katie


Need a writer?  Work with Us!


Hired a Coach, Gained a Community (2)

Hired a Coach, Gained a Community

Community. It’s commonly used to describe where we live, a feeling, or a sense of belonging. This feeling can be based on common attitudes, interests, beliefs or goals, but it isn’t always what you think it will be.

Sometimes it’s better.

A Business Coach Changes Everything

I wasn’t searching for a community when I happened to stumble upon my now beloved business coach, but I certainly found one when she led me to the Healthcare Marketing Network.  

After  writing for a content mill for a few months I had gained experience and built up my portfolio, but it was clear that something was missing.  I needed vision. I acquired said vision as I was searching for business coaches late one night and came across an article about top nursing blogs that Janine Kelbach (my soon to be business coach!) was mentioned in. I emailed her that night, she got back to me the next morning, and just like that the future of my business was forever changed. We started with a short 45 minute meeting and before I knew it, she had given me more than just a few business tips; she’d given me a community full of like-minded entrepreneurs with a thirst for growth and a strong desire to lift one another up.  

Janine, also known as WriteRN, recently told me that her goal when working with new clients is to help them create business goals and a vision for their future. She said that steering new writers towards the Healthcare Marketing Network has been invaluable.

She said, “New writers need accountability, and that can be found through the community at the Healthcare Marketing Network. Writing can be a lonely business, so having others who are willing to help with brainstorming, pitches and keeping us on  track with our goals is very important.

It amazed me that after one coaching session Janine knew exactly what I needed; a community! She told me how to find The Healthcare Marketing Networks website, as well as their gated Facebook Group filled to the brim with people just like me.  

Shortly after ending our first session, I looked up this Healthcare Marketing Network group on Facebook to see what it was all about, and what I found left me nothing shy of exhilarated. Not only did I see a community, but a  successful one full of healthcare writers! I also found great videos with tips and tricks of the trade, helpful articles tailored to writers, other members getting their business questions answered, and everyone enjoying one another’s company. And if that wasn’t enough to have me in awe, what came next was.

Out of the blue, I received a Facebook message from Carol Bush simply stating she thinks she could get me a gig. Being a nurse, I was shocked. Many times in nursing, the common theme is that we eat our young, not that we build one another up. Where was I, Kansas? Nope, but Carol was! After our encouraging exchange via Facebook Messenger we decided to meet.

I now know why she lives in Kansas! She’s like a small, mighty twister all unto herself. She was dynamic, excited, and offered up a wealth of knowledge. She shared pointers with me as well as ideas for several gigs. By the time the phone call ended, I had 3 potential leads and we were planning to meet again. I was still blown away and kept wondering how this small community would continue to touch my journey.

Community Matters

A few days passed and a familiar name showed up in the Facebook Group. Ashley Hay, a fellow writer. I had seen Ashley’s work and her story on another site I frequented. Even though I had never actually spoken to her, I started to feel a sense of belonging again. I was seeing a common theme of people in my writing life. I did get to connect with Ashley and she has experienced a similar journey to mine. She shared with me that the Healthcare Marketing Network has helped her in many ways along her journey, and the message of community was alive and well as we talked. She described that through the Healthcare Marketing Network she has found the “value in connection.” She stated that she often sits down in the evening and goes through the videos on the Facebook page just to continue to grow and learn as a writer. She has been able to connect with clients through the networks Gig Board, as well as build upon her own community. She also feels that accountability is a huge bonus of being a member and has really enjoyed the friendships she has built along the way.

The missing piece in my foundation of community was to meet Janet Kennedy, the other founding member of the Healthcare Marketing Network. She shared her journey of meeting Carol through a Twitter chat and out of that a collaborative friendship with a vision was born. I told Janet my story and she quickly replied that stories such as mine and others are “everyday validation” that the Healthcare Marketing Network is needed by clients and writers alike. She described the network as the missing link to the connection between writers and clients that she’s glad they’ve been able to provide.

Enjoy the Journey

My journey leads me to one of my favorite quotes by Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”. I no longer feel alone in my journey as a healthcare writer and I am thankful that late one night I hired a coach, and gained a community.

If you’re a healthcare writer looking for a community to lift you up, help you get gigs, and push you to be better, click below to join The Healthcare Marketing Network today!