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

NaNoWriMo

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!

 

Janine Kelbach, BSN, RNC-OB is a nurse entrepreneur with experience as a freelance writer, virtual assistant, and business coach. She helps solopreneurs/entrepreneurs with her proactive, diverse virtual assistant skills and keeps executives and business owners organized, prioritized, and less stressed.

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.

 

Monica Moore is a nurse practitioner and the founder of Fertile Health, LLC, a consulting company created to train new nurses in reproductive endocrinology and encourage nutritional interventions in REI practices. Before Fertile Health, she was one of the nurse managers at RMA of CT and continues to work as a consultant for them.

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!

 

Damion Jenkins is a nurse educator, mentor, tutor, blogger, content writer, and CEO of The Nurse Speak. He has been teaching nursing related courses for over six years, has more than 20 years of leadership and mentoring experience, and takes great pride in helping his students and clients meet their individualized needs!

https://www.healthcaremarketingnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Why-Healthcare-Freelance-Go-Hand-in-Hand

Why Freelancing & Healthcare Go Hand-in-Hand

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the healthcare industry? Whatever your answer, one thing’s for certain; it’s not freelance writing. I hope to change that today!

How many times have you emptied the pockets of your scrubs or lab coat only to find what seems like endless amounts of scribble on post-its, notebook paper, receipts, or anything else you could get your hands on? How many times have you had a patient with a new disease process or medication that you needed to brush up on, so you do a quick search and jot down notes?

You enter your patient’s room or home and you educate him or her to the best of your ability. It leaves you with a sense of pride and accomplishment to know that you’ve given another human information that could possibly save his or her life. Like most healthcare professionals, freelancers love intertwining the art of patient care with education. We get a sense of fulfillment submitting articles to publications or clients knowing that our words will have a positive impact on the reader.

My Freelance Story

Like many freelancers in healthcare, I began freelancing as a way to make extra money. I was tired of working PRN jobs to supplement my income and I knew there had to be a better way and I’ve always loved to write. Even as a small child, I could sit for hours and just write. It wasn’t until I landed a job with a home health agency that I realized that I could use my passions for nursing and writing, simultaneously.

Home health nurses go into the patient’s homes and educate the patient and/or caregiver on various disease process, medication management, prevention methods, etc. I often found myself working with patients who had difficulty retaining the information that I was presenting. Spending thirty minutes once or twice weekly, really isn’t sufficient to teach a newly diagnosed diabetic everything he or she needs to know. Sure, the agency had tons of reading material, pamphlets, brochures, and booklets, but let’s be honest, how many patients were actually reading the material once I left the home? Some didn’t have the time, others weren’t interested, and for some it was just plain intimidating. So, I came up with a solution to my problem.

I began to research and use the material provided by the agency and condensed it into two or three pages, per each visit so I could effectively go over the material. My patients and their caregivers could look over it in a short amount of time, and it was written in a style that wasn’t intimidating. Eventually, I saw the fruit of my labor and I quickly became a fast teacher and more efficient nurse. It changed my life and it was one of the stepping stones to building my own business.

Turning Passion into a Business

Equipped with the knowledge that my writing could make a difference in the lives of others I decided to start my journey into entrepreneurship by blogging at Your Nurse Connection. Mainly, for my own therapeutic reasons, but I also realized it could help me educate vast numbers of people that I couldn’t reach on my own.  It wasn’t until someone sent me a Facebook message and asked for my price sheet, that I realized I had stumbled upon something grand. This led me to do what most of us do when we want to find answers; I googled it.  I typed “freelance nurse writers” into the search bar and was surprised to find that there was an actual market for this!

Looking back, I shouldn’t have been surprised. As a freelance writer, particularly in healthcare, you hold a unique and marketable skill. You have the eye of a writer and of a healthcare professional. This is immeasurable. You hold the power to aid in changing the healthcare continuum, which is currently packed to the brim with misinformation. Too many people, who have no formal training in healthcare or medicine are donning the title of “health coach” and shoveling out tons of inaccurate information. It is dangerous and we need more reputable, certified, licensed practitioners, in this industry. Imagine googling “hypertension management” and finding articles from a nurse, dietitian, or physician rather than someone who simply uploaded an article full of “wiki facts.”  As practitioners, who have taken on the responsibility of saving lives, we owe it to our communities to get them the most accurate, updated, cited information possible.

New Opportunities Await

Freelancing can also lead you to jobs outside of your normal niche. I’ve had the pleasure of ghostwriting for several entrepreneurs. I recently landed a role as a contributing writer with a brand targeting millennial thought-leaders. Writing articles about everything from entrepreneurship to career acceleration. The editor located me through an old blog post. It has been an exciting journey.

Healthcare and freelancing go hand-in-hand because it is already ingrained, in each of us.

We have the knowledge and skill set to educate. We have a responsibility to push out the inaccurate information, that so many of our patients are receiving. The internet is not going anywhere. It is our duty make sure that people have access to accurate information that will change lives.

 

How to Leverage Networking Events to Benefit Your Small Business

How to Leverage Networking Events to Benefit Your Small Business

Have you ever wondered how to land clients that can pay you what you’re worth? In short; the answer is networking, but let’s back up a bit before we dive in. If you’re new to writing, chances are you’ve heard more than your fair share of “starving writer” stories, but that doesn’t have to be the case! With the right marketing plan, you can easily attract companies who would love to hire you (and have the budget to do so).

Think of marketing as simply showing up and offering solutions to people who have a problem that you solve. If that definition of marketing resonates well with you, please take the time to read Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port. While I am a fan of using social media for marketing (aka offering solutions), the truth is that my largest contracts come from in-person networking opportunities.

That’s why I’m here today; to teach you how to leverage networking events.

Where to Start

As a health care professional, we tend to over complicate things. You may not want to start until the perfect conditions magically align, but trust me; there’s no such thing as perfect. Start where you are. You can start by using Eventbrite, Meetup.com, or even your community newspaper to look for local in person networking events geared towards your target audience. Reach out to the event planner and ask if they have a need for a presenter. Be prepared to tell them how you can serve their audience. To make the most of your efforts, have a way to track your reach outs to the planners and if you do not hear a reply in a weeks time, remember to follow up. I try to follow up at least twice.

After Getting Booked

Once you get booked for your speaking opportunity, your work has just begun. Your presentation should have a call to action that includes an invitation for the audience to sign up for your compelling offer. I’d also encourage you to design a simple downloadable freebie that supports your topic. You may also wish to have a clipboard with sign up sheet that is clearly marked with why your attendee’s should sign up for your e-mail list. Related, I suggest having a value rich e-mail follow up sequence ready to go designed for your specific audience. The the goal is to make the most of your valuable time while networking. I would block a few hours out after your event. I also block time for “coffee chats”, so I can set up meetings with people while still at the event.

After the Presentation

During your time that was blocked for post event work, take out your new contacts. Enter these into your Contact Relationship Management (CRM) System. This system can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet, but having a system to track your contacts is super important. Be sure to enter these contacts into your email follow-up system and set up a time to make phone calls if this there was a lead of particular interest.

While this may seem like a lot of work for a local presentation, the truth is that not many will put in this much work. Use this fact to your benefit! Showing this type of consideration for your audience will be easily remembered. By increasing the number of exposures to your expertise, you will easily stand out to your audience as a valuable resource.

By following these exact steps, I recently sent out an invoice that was almost double my monthly nursing salary. By keeping in touch with my group attendees, one thought of me when someone in her circle had a need. When she heard of this need, she thought of me, found one of my many emails, and reached out to me. This was not the first time business has resulted from my keeping in touch with people after our initial meeting.

In the business world, this process is called business development. There are teams of people who are sent out to networking events with the goal of making new contacts and developing quality relationships. As a small business owner, we are a business development team of one. A virtual assistant can help with many parts of this process and can allow you  more time to follow up with potential clients. They may even help with the follow up reach outs and setting appointments for you via email or phone.

I hope you found some of this information helpful to you and your business! We would love to hear about your “keep in touch” system!

 

Amelia Roberts is an experienced writer and owner of Solutions by Amelia. Be sure to connect with her on social media for more great business advice!

 

 

 

How Starting a Vlog Made Me a Better Writer

Every nurse is a writer, we just don’t know it.

Maybe I should change that statement to, every nurse is a ‘charter,’ we just don’t know it?

*Insert massive eye-roll from the audience*

Every nurse knows about charting. “If it wasn’t charted, it didn’t happen” is a mantra we learn early in nursing school. Our words and thoughts are expressed to document events that unfold. We learn how to describe an event, situation or scenario succinctly so that the next nurse can pick up where we left off.  This is why every nurse is a writer.

My Intro to Writing

My name is Sean.  I’m an “O.G.” diploma-trained nurse turned Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and I’m a writer.

About ten years ago during the pre-Facebook and pre-Twitter era, I was a new nurse who was baffled by all the crazy things I was experiencing. Every day I would come home from my shift and say, “Well, they didn’t teach THAT in nursing school!” It was both comical and frustrating. I felt so unprepared and alone. So I did the only logical thing; I took to the internet. I discovered this thing called ‘blogging’ (it was new at the time) and I fell in love with it. I found an outlet to share my stories with other like-minded individuals that ‘got me.’ I started a small lil’ blog sharing my stories, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Ten years later I’m still blogging, and I still love to tell my stories. It’s the best way I know how to pass on knowledge and teach the next generation of nurses. Storytelling is embedded into our nursing culture; it’s how we assimilate into a new environment (or job). Remember the last new job you had? How did you learn about your new colleagues? We share front-line experiences on how we learned a task or a skill as a way to break the ice when meeting new nurses. I mean c’mon, Everyone has their first foley catheter experience, don’t they?

How Vlogging Helped

Through a series of events with a former employer (as a blogger), I was introduced to the world of video blogging. It wasn’t something that came easily to me because I was used to typing instead of recording. However, I quickly realized it was something I enjoyed. Not only did it delivere an element of emotion that cannot be expressed with just words, but it also helped my creativity and content creation.

Vlogging (video blogging) allowed more freedom of expression, but it also forced me to think about my audience during the entire creation process because I’m on camera. I had to talk ‘to’ my audience not just write ‘about’ a topic. Stepping outside of my comfort zone by getting in front of a camera helped me become a better writer by requiring me to (literally) have a conversation with my readers.

Vlogging is more popular now than ever thanks to the popularity of live streaming video (thank you Facebook). With live video you can talk to your audience in real-time about current events. Every nurse remembers the Utah Nurse Assault.  

In 2016 I posted a video (vlog) every day for a full year. Yes, I posted 365 videos consecutively. It started out as an experiment and turned into an exciting endeavor. I got to share my stories, but I also discovered I could reach more people. As in 1 million new people.  

It was an amazing learning experience as a creator. I not only had to create content, but had to become proficient at it as well. This meant I needed to sharpen my time management skills. How long does it take you to create a video or traditional blog? Now think about doing that every single day for a full calendar year. Yeah, I learned to streamline a lot of tasks. (I share some of them with the Healthcare Marketing Network → HERE.)

What I’ve Learned

I learned a lot since that first vlog many years ago. And if I had to offer any advice for someone interested in starting a vlog, it would be to just press record. Don’t get bogged down in the trivial details. It’s so easy to get paralyzed by perfection, but don’t give in. Just record. Forget about the equipment, the lighting, the sound, the editing software or the platform. Just get your creation out there for the world to enjoy. An unpolished and scrappy ‘something’ is better than an unpublished and unknown perfect nothing. The rest you can figure out later.  

Have you ever tried vlogging? If not, would you like to? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

Sean Dent is a diploma-trained nurse turned Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. He began blogging 10 years ago and still continues to share his experiences through writing.

3 Lessons I Learned Writing My First Book

3 Lessons I Learned Writing My First Book

I started working on my first book in January of 2017, shortly after we expanded our family with two puppies.

The puppies needed constant supervision and attention, so I moved my laptop from my backyard sanctuary to the kitchen. Not only was I quickly reminded how energetic and demanding puppies are, but I also learned three key things as a first-time author.

Writing the original puke-on-paper version took less time than I thought. Getting everything out that I wanted to say was only the beginning. The next step – editing it into something that made sense – was the challenge I hadn’t anticipated.  

Since I didn’t know much about writing books, I relied on my mentor and publishing coach and owner of The Stay at Home Nurse, Deanna, for guidance, and then there were a lot of things on which I happened to stumble in the dark, out of sheer ignorance and luck.

The first dumb thing I did was send the finished, but unedited copy to another author I knew in the same genre and topic. He agreed to read over it and tell me what he thought. This led to lesson number one, through dumb luck.

1. Seek Tough & Honest Critics

Get as many critical eyes on your manuscript as possible, and you absolutely MUST find critics who will be tough and honest.

Criticism, though it may hurt the ego, is key. Whether they know the topic or not, they can read it and see if it makes sense to them, or if they think it’s something they’d recommend to anyone else to read.

The response I got from this person was nothing like what I expected. Over an hour-long phone call, he ripped it apart. He said I had a lot of good ideas, but it sounded angry, had not clearly articulated my goals for the book, or made it clear who the audience was. He asked me how many people had read it.

Since he’d already been through the process with his book, and I respect his knowledge of the subject matter, I listened, even though it was like being repeatedly punched in the gut. I staggered away from that phone call, ego-shattered, but knowing he was absolutely right if I ever wanted to have something that wouldn’t be a laughing stock.

In this case, I sent it out too early, but that turned out to be a good thing, as I got critical input that helped me focus.

Lesson number one naturally led to lesson number two:

2. Get a Great Editor

A great editor is essential! I was so lucky in this regard. Deanna recommended someone who I corresponded with over email and she made the process of writing my first book mush less stressful! It was pure trust, but I sent her  hundreds of pages of my puke on paper and she turned it into a streamlined, coherent, sensical version. My editor was the most wonderful part of this entire project. She was easy to work with, but relentless in taking things out that really didn’t need to be in there. I had to learn to let go at first, but she was always right.

3. Create Ample Time & Space

Deanna was absolutely right when she said whatever you think it will take, expect it to take longer.

It will take more time, money, and space in your life, (especially time) than you envision when you’re first starting. So be sure not to set too strict of a time goal for finishing. You can’t expect to be “on” all the time, either.  It will take concentration and focus, and you’ll be thinking about many things in addition to just writing the material. Life happens. Sometimes, you have a bad brain day. Get out and do something else, don’t stress over it. Your creativity will come back. Fortunately, I had two puppies. When the words weren’t flowing, we went for a hike.  

3 Lessons I Learned Writing My First Book

There are some costs to publish a book. I had to hire an attorney for contracts with people I’d interviewed, and for filing a copyright to protect my intellectual property. Editing and formatting cost money, and you’ll want to negotiate this ahead of time. When doing so, keep in mind that it will always be more than you thought.

Finally, make space for it in your world. Do the people and animals in your life understand this is a major undertaking? That you might wake up at 2 am with a terrific idea and run downstairs in your pajamas to write it down before it escapes you?

I missed writing “for fun”. My blogs, which had always been my outlet for verbal creativity and rants, got pushed aside. The book took precedence over everything. And once it’s done, there’s marketing…

Conclusion

Now that it’s all said and done I highly recommend you write that book you always wanted to write! Just make sure you clear a big space for it in your life, warn everyone around you, and be prepared for it to take over. The reward of holding the finished product in your hands will make up for everything!

Find my book on Amazon, Navigating the C: A nurse charts the course for cancer survivorship care.

 

Full-Time to Freelance_ 8 Steps to a Smoother Transition

Full-Time to Freelance: 8 Steps to a Smoother Transition

I recently closed the books on my first quarter as a full-time healthcare communications free agent. I’d been fantasizing about going out on my own for years, and then I received a much-needed kick in the pants in the form of getting downsized from my six-figure corporate communications job.

Talk about getting thrown in the deep end fully clothed!

Luckily, I had already taken a few steps toward making the break, so my entry into this new professional phase wasn’t as rocky as it could’ve been. My business is still in its infancy, but I do have some tips to help you transition from a full-time salaried position to the ebbs and flows of freelance work!

1. Stash the Cash

Work can be unsteady, and there’s always a lag between the time you submit your invoice to your client and when the check appears in your mailbox. If possible, sock away two to three months of income to provide a monetary safety net while your business ramps up and income becomes steadier.

2. Put the WORK in Network

Who knows your work better than your former colleagues? Whether you’ve been a nurse for 20 years or a corporate marketer for five, you’ve probably been building your professional network on LinkedIn. Ask contacts for recommendations or leads for freelance opportunities. I sent a message to about 40 contacts to let them know that I was no longer in my previous role and that I’d launched my own business. I got five leads instantly, and quite a few provided recommendations or other words of encouragement. Leverage your network to accelerate your business’s growth – and save time and money on client acquisition.

3. Write

Even if you don’t have a paying gig at the moment, keep writing. Start your own blog, write a guest post for another blog or publish posts on LinkedIn. Get your name out there anyway that you can. Be personal in your approach, and share what you’ve learned in your professional journey. Start telling your story, and soon you’ll be equipped to tell someone else’s.

4. Front Load your Week

It’s Monday, and your nearest deadline isn’t until Friday. Time to grab coffee and watch Rachael Ray, right? As strong as that siren song is, you’ve got to prioritize.

Do the work when you’ve got the work, because who knows if you’re going to get a call tomorrow from a client with a big project, and you need to be able to accommodate work that may come your way. Knock out as much as you can on Monday and Tuesday, then use the rest of the week to pitch new clients, write posts for your blog, beef up your social media platforms or get invoices in the mail. And if a call or email comes in, you’ve got the bandwidth to tackle another paying gig that week. And speaking of paying gigs…

5. Invoice Instantly

Every day that you’re not sending out an invoice is a day you’re not getting paid. I now send the invoice with the assignment. In sales, the mantra is ABC: Always Be Closing. While not as catchy, in freelance work, it’s ABI: Always Be Invoicing.

6. Bundle Up

When accepting a single assignment, try to turn it into a more sustainable engagement. Just one blog post? Offer to turn it into a series or bundle it with a package of social media posts. And, don’t be afraid to offer a discount if it makes sense.

7. Don’t Forget Stats and Strategy

Some projects are straightforward; the client wants X and you can deliver X. But for those projects that are more complex, use your proposal to showcase your results and unique experience. If you’re proposing a content strategy, explain the reason for the strategy and any results that you’ve gotten when you’ve taken a similar approach. Strong writing is important, but it’s meaningless without a solid content marketing strategy to get your words in front of your client’s readers. Explain the “why” and “how,” too, not just the “what”.

8. Create a Portfolio

Whether you use a full website, a WordPress page, a Pinterest board page or another type of online portfolio, start developing a digital repository of your clips now. Not only can it help with SEO, but it also provides potential clients with a taste of your writing style and illustrates your experience in the field. Here’s mine if you’d like a reference.

[bctt tweet=”Follow these 8 tips to make your transition from full-time to freelance as smooth as possible! #freelancelife #careeradvancement” username=””]

My business is the ultimate WIP, but I am encouraged and energized by the work that’s come my way and I’m committed to seeking out opportunities that allow me to grow both professionally and personally.

Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear them!

 

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!

 

Janine Kelbach, BSN, RNC-OB is a nurse entrepreneur with experience as a freelance writer, virtual assistant, and business coach. She helps solopreneurs/entrepreneurs with her proactive, diverse virtual assistant skills and keeps executives and business owners organized, prioritized, and less stressed.