Posts

Wendy Weber, PharmD, MBA

What Would You Do If You Knew You Couldn’t Fail

Many years ago during a job interview I was asked, “What is your biggest fear?” It took me all of about two seconds to respond. Failure. The interviewer sat speechless with a look on his face that was a combination of shock and holding back laughter. Once he composed himself, he shared that he was expecting a more typical answer like heights or snakes. Something tangible. He never expected a naïve student to answer so quickly with such a thoughtful and honest answer.

The fear of failure has always been my biggest motivator. Blame it on my stubbornness or, perhaps, my cluelessness as to what I’m getting myself into. Regardless of the underlying reason, if you tell me I can’t do something my new mission will be to prove you wrong. Over the years, I have been my biggest champion and my biggest obstacle. It’s easy to step away from a challenge, especially when I think the end result may be less than perfect in my eyes. Learning how to use my fear of failure to keep me moving forward is a daily choice.

Learning how to use my fear of failure to keep me moving forward is a daily choice.

Tammy Kellebrew

Get Out Of Your Way

As writers, we have all struggled at some point. Whether it has been finding that next writing project, identifying a topic or overcoming writer’s block, we can all relate to the challenges associated with the craft we love. But how many times have you created additional obstacles that have prevented you from applying for or accepting a writing assignment?

I don’t know anything about that topic.

I’ve never written a blog.

That project is going to take too much time.

That assignment doesn’t pay enough.

I have no idea what SEO is (Search Engine Optimization – yep, I had to Google that one… more than once).

It’s time for all of us to get out of our own way and do what we are capable of doing. Kick that little devil off your shoulder because you ARE capable and KNOW a whole lot more than you give yourself credit for. No more excuses. If you want to build your business and extend your reach, it’s time to make yourself a little uncomfortable. After all, you can’t fail.

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Endless Possibilities

Just like a blank canvas is full of possibilities for an artist, a blank page is full of possibilities for a writer. Challenge yourself to explore the possibilities. As a writer with a limited portfolio, I know that if I want to be considered for more writing jobs I need material to share. In order to build my portfolio, I need to step out of my comfort zone and write about topics and in styles I may not be familiar with. Instead of thinking of what will happen if you fail, change your mindset to “I will do this and it will be amazing!”

How do you change your mindset? Easier said than done, right?

Here’s some guidance to get you started:

  • Research a topic that interests you.
  • Write about that topic in a new format.
  • Add the sample to your portfolio. You wrote it. Be proud of it.
  • Share it on your blog, if you have one. You may need to tweak the content a bit to fit the format, but at the very least, talk about what you learned.
  • Apply for a writing opportunity about the new topic or in the new format.
  • Find a support network (the tribe at HMN is a great one) – ask questions, use their tools and resources, and most importantly network!

Believe in Yourself

What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? Honestly, I have no idea what, specifically, I would do. Perhaps, that’s because I need my internal competitor pushing me to take advantage of a new opportunity. Until I identify that opportunity, I can’t say for certain what it will be.

My goal for 2019 is to try new things, and that means stepping out of my comfort zone. Writing a blog post is exactly that: stepping out of my comfort zone, doing something that I know I’m capable of doing but have never done because I was afraid it wouldn’t be well received or that I wouldn’t have anything to say that others would want to read.

So, knowing I couldn’t fail because there is a whole tribe of HMN #SavvyScribes that have my back, I seized the moment and just proved to myself that I could do it. I wrote my first blog for an audience that is more than my family and friends. It’s time for a new mindset. I just did it… and you can too!

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

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! 

 

The Value in a Writers Community

Nurses and other healthcare professionals are in prime positions to educate and empower consumers and members of the healthcare team through their expertise and experiences. There are a number of mediums open to those who want to share information to address issues and challenges professionals and consumers face in the healthcare world.   

Blogging, Podcasting, Video Blogging, participating in live TV/radio interviews and authoring articles in professional as well as mainstream publications are just a few of the mediums open to professionals who want to share information to empower peers as well as assist consumers as they navigate the complex and fragmented healthcare system.

Getting started can be a challenge as the publishing world is not an environment that most healthcare professionals know well. As a nurse, I hesitated to enter the world of journalism when I was offered a job as Editor in Chief for a large publishing company that had recently entered the world of healthcare through the area of case management. I was not confident in my ability to write and was not clear on how I could be effective. I was told that I was being offered the position due to my expertise and vision for the practice of case/care management. I was a leader in the field and valued because I could share the vision of where the industry was going and help the publication team to ensure they were providing information that was relevant and useful to readers.  

What I learned through my experience as Editor in Chief was there is a great deal of help for those who want to contribute but are not professional writers. Publication companies have editors in place who would take my copy, edit and polish my work so when it was published, the message was clear and professional.

In my role as Editor in Chief, we expanded into areas of webinars and conference planning. Through my broad network, I was able to encourage professionals doing important work in the area of case/care management healthcare, to write articles, participate in webinars or speak at a number of conferences I was responsible for coordinating. The exposure allowed them to share their work so others could learn. It also allowed those reading or hearing the information learn so they could improve their practice. It was a win-win!

When I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in late 2014, I had to leave my job. I found writing helped me to heal. I knew my experiences as a patient were not unique to me and I wanted to share what I learned to educate and empower others. As I improved, I sought out ways to share my experience. I connected with a group of Nurse Bloggers who helped me start a Blog and in July of 2015, I launched Nurse Advocate. I have been blogging weekly for 2 years and have shared information that has helped many to meet the challenges they face when thrust into the complex world of healthcare.

One of the resources I have found to be helpful as a nurse journalists/blogger is The Healthcare Marketing Network, a global community of freelance healthcare writers, authors and communication creatives. The Network is opening doors for healthcare professionals who have information to share. The founders bring a mix of expertise that allows them to assist experienced healthcare professionals who want to break into the world of journalism to learn the craft as well open venues where those who are seasoned healthcare writers can share information.

If you are a healthcare professional who wants to share information you have learned, take some time to explore the Healthcare Marketing Network to launch your career in the area of publishing!

 

My Road to Writing and How the HMN Community is Making It Happen

Anyone who knows me personally or professionally, will tell you that I thrive best when I am seeking out new experiences; that I am easily bored when confined to the same nursing job for years, and that I am always in search of neoteric jobs, both laterally and upwardly. On average, I stay at the same job for approximately three or four years, although some have been shorter and some longer. At that point, I start to explore other opportunities.

My new pursuit is writing. Putting pen to paper excites me.

When I went into nursing, I never imagined that I would be writing for medical journals or blogging on the internet. In fact, I was a college graduate who had no interest in pursuing a degree, let alone a Masters.

I started professionally writing when I was enrolled in a Masters of Nursing Program (yes, I caved and obtained a BScN, and reckoned after I should just keep going). Although writing was obligatory, I loved it. I enjoyed the literature reviews, the annotated bibliographies and the frequent analyses of articles (I know it’s crazy, no one likes this stuff). I found that I could write quickly and with substance, both for professionals and lay-persons.

When writing, I get inside my head, which some would consider a dangerous neighbourhood to be in. Joking aside, writing is definitely for me.

I started to write for nursetogether.com which is a great nursing community and I have written nine blogs for them. Unfortunately, they are deleting their website but I will be forever grateful to them and to their editor who did so much to encourage me.  

With some blogging experience now on my resume, I started to research different websites that hire writers, for example About.com, Webmd, and Medscape, just to name a few.  Although I didn’t hear back from them when I sent my resume in, I was not to be discouraged.  I came across allnurses.com and read an impressive article on writing by Nurse Beth. It is called ‘How Blogging Helped my Nursing Career’. It is a must read for anyone with this calling. Then, I sent in a question “about blogging” to her link Get Career Advice- Ask Nurse Beth Your Nursing Career Questions” and she answered me right away with kind and encouraging words. She read some of my blogs and told me to continue on my path to become a writer.

That inspired me to keep going. She then urged me to join a closed group on Facebook, called the Healthcare Writer’s Network.

I have found an incredible group of individuals from all over the world, with similar goals and others vastly different. What brings us together however, is our love of freelance writing.

Now, I have joined many groups on Facebook but this group is superior! What the Healthcare Writer’s Network has taught me, is that writing regularly, whether for publication or personal journaling, provides an abundance of benefits. It’s a means of self-exploration and reflection, a clever way to learn and stay current, and surprisingly it turns you into a ‘writer’. Other rewards are:

Personal and professional growth:

  • Its therapeutic.
  • It leads to mindful living.
  • It demands self-discipline and confidence to generate thought-provoking work.
  • It’s a valuable tool for reflecting, articulating, and creating.
  • Positive reactions from readers leads to gratitude and motivation to write more.
  • Constructive feedback incites you to outshine yourself next time.

Enrichment for others:

  • Through frank writing, empathy, and disclosure of candid feelings and experiences, one can foster a relationship with readers.
  • Powerful writing can impassion, inspire, transform minds and history, open doors and build communities.

Increased learning and productivity:

  • The attractiveness of writing is that one can write about anything. Topics are limitless. Learning is boundless.
  • Writing is a syntactical discovery of language.
  • It improves vocabulary, working memory, communication, critical thinking, empathy, insight and decision making.  

New opportunities and extra income:

  • Blogging and writing can lead to compensation for product reviews, guest blogging, endorsements, interviews, consultations, conferences and speaking engagements (Nurse Beth, 2016).

Emotional and physical benefits:

  • In his article ‘The Psychological Benefits of Writing: Why Richard Branson and Warren Buffett Write Regularly’, Gregory Ciotti maintains that expressive writing has been associated with happiness, contentment and decreased stress for those who absorb themselves in prose frequently.
  • Nightly writing can improve sleep, depression, hypertension and other physical ailments according to one ‘Health and Well-Being’ study (Huffington Post, 2013).

Despite obtaining no fame or wealth from my writing (so far), it is something that I enjoy. The subjects I could write about are truly endless. Mostly, I like to write on topics that will help day-to-day nurses strengthen their assessments.

Ultimately, this is helping the patient. Therefore, writing is still nursing.

I performed all the exhilarating things in nursing, the code blues, the defibs, the hand-holding of the dying, the comforting of family, the stumbling upon a symptom that wasn’t there before, and the straightforward task of dispensing medication. I love nursing and all the confidence and prospects it has brought me.

I love writing too. It calms me and excites me at the same time. In nine short months, I have issued two peer-reviewed nursing articles, published multiple blogs and am a volunteer editor on an editorial board.

Its exhilarating to go after your dreams. I have found a few writing jobs that pay too!!

I searched on indeed.com using words such as ‘content writer’, ‘health writer’ and ‘medical writer’.  Since then, I have obtained three freelance jobs. Now, I am not giving up my day job yet, but that option is getting closer each time I write.  

I am not always good at keeping up with my goals, so I made my writing goal small but achievable. I set up a small office space in my house with a ‘vision board’ and whiteboard calendar where I document my jobs so I don’t lose track.

I bought myself a small portable tablet which I can throw in my purse which allows me to write virtually anywhere.

I promised myself that I would write 30 minutes per day.  What happened is I wrote more… sometimes writing an hour… or two… or three. GOAL MET!

I still write for free at this point, or write for a small amount of money, but it adds to my resume and that means gold to me.

If you aren’t afraid to take your time searching for jobs, even in the weirdest places, you can find work.  I am currently writing for RMHealthy.com and ourdoctor.ca.  They are websites that provide health information on a variety of subjects.  Although they guide me when deciding on topics, I am free to write in any form I wish.

Since joining Healthcare Writer’s Network, I have interacted with many people who want to see me succeed.

We all post different things in the group to help each other meet our writing goals. I have to admit, I find myself excitedly rushing home and signing in to Facebook to see who has posted new information in this group. Whether its “How to Make a Podcast” or “How to Pitch Your Article” I am learning a lot and am grateful to this group for all of their assistance.

The advantages of writing are endless. Write about passion. Write about challenges. Write often. Just write.

 

References

How Blogging Helped my Nursing Career

The Top 10 Benefits Of Blogging On Your Website

Benefits of Blogging – Reasons You Should Start A Blog For Personal Development

The Psychological Benefits of Writing: Why Richard Branson and Warren Buffett Write Regularly

6 Unexpected Ways Writing Can Transform Your Health