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Lane Therrell

5 Ways Healthcare Writers Can Upgrade Their Health Habits

Working at a desk too many hours at a stretch can be more dangerous for your health than cigarette smoking. So, what’s a writer to do? Let me guess: You’re sick of this topic. Either that or you already know way more about health and healthy habits than any blog post can possibly tell you. I get it.

But consider this: Your success as a healthcare writer is linked to your health. You are your own best advertisement. If you don’t look healthy, your clients may question your ability to write about health. And, when you’re self-employed, you may suddenly find yourself without access to employer-driven health insurance benefits. Staying healthy saves you money.

How’s that for motivation to keep reading?

If you’re new to desk work, or even if you feel like you’ve got a handle on your health maintenance, I invite you to consider upgrading your daily routine in five areas:

  • Hydration
  • Nutrition
  • Eyesight
  • Circulation
  • Posture

Building healthy habits in each of these categories keeps your body healthy, so you can do what you love.

Lane Therrell

5 Ways Healthcare Writers Can Upgrade Their Health Habits

1. Hydrate Heavily

It’s easy to forget to hydrate when you’re working at a desk, so keep plenty of drinking water handy. Emphasis on plain water. Remember that coffee, also known as a writer’s favorite companion, is a diuretic. So, if you must have coffee, try going sip-for-sip at a 1:1 ratio of coffee to water.

Looking for the target amount of water you should consume per day?

Start with a baseline minimum of 1.5 L (about 6 cups) daily , but be aware that recommendations vary. Remember, if you feel thirsty, you’re probably dehydrated. It’s difficult to drink too much water, and most people don’t drink enough.

2. Plan Smart Meals and Snacks

Failing to plan is planning to fail, and “failure” is easy when food is involved. It’s tempting to opt for convenience when you’re trying to maximize productive writing time.

One approach that works for me is to prepare a protein-containing breakfast, lunch and healthy snacks for myself the night before as if I were still commuting to a job away from home. I stock my fridge and pantry with pre-cut vegetables, small portions of low-calorie, easy-to-prepare, nutritious snacks such as Greek yogurt, hummus, seeds, nuts, nut butters and dark chocolate.

If you need ideas for desk-appropriate snacks, or if you want to check the nutrient value of specific foods, numerous resources are available online.

3. Eliminate Eye Strain

Eye strain may go completely unnoticed, or it may manifest in signs like headaches, excessive tearing, dryness, or irritation that are easily attributable to something else. Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS, is more prevalent than we think. Prevention is the best cure.

Ensure the lighting in your workspace is adequate. Know how to adjust the brightness and resolution settings on your digital devices. And don’t skimp on annual eye exams. Even if you don’t have insurance coverage for optometry, make sure your business budget includes periodic eye exams.

It’s a worthy investment, whether your vision is corrected or not. Your vision will change as you age and use digital devices more.

4. Be Circulation Savvy

Good circulation delivers oxygen to your brain, vital organs and extremities. Sitting restricts circulation, so your whole body eventually becomes oxygen-deprived if you sit too much. You may have worn compression stockings when you were working on your feet all day, and they can be your friend for seated work as well, but they’re not a stand-alone fix.

Other ways to keep your circulation flowing include alternating standing and sitting, toe-tap and leg-movement exercises while seated, and brisk walking during breaks.

And remember to breathe. I tend to hold my breath while concentrating, but when I intentionally take deep breaths throughout the day, I notice that my memory, thought processes, and mood improve.

5. Master Your Musculoskeletal Alignment

Our bones and muscles are all connected, so when one area goes out of whack, others feel the pain. This is where posture, ergonomics and strategic stretching come in. Desk, chair, screen and keyboard ergonomics are designed to support good posture, and strategic stretching can counteract any postural slipups or ergonomic improprieties to help you avoid “text neck,” lower back pain, or carpal-tunnel-like symptoms.

Make sure your chair height is adjusted so your feet can rest flat, and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Don’t slouch or thrust your neck or chin forward see the screen, and make sure your elbows and wrists form a straight line with the keyboard. Although apps like PostureZone are becoming more popular, they aren’t perfect.

If you build core strength, maintain good ergonomics with your workspace setup, stretch strategically and change positions often during the day, you can go a long way toward preventing musculoskeletal pain.

You can use some of these ideas, or variations of them, to build a healthy break routine. It might look something like this:

  • Look out the window
  • Drink water
  • Stand up
  • Stretch
  • Walk around the office
  • Eat a carrot
  • Drink some more water
  • Resume work

Add to it and vary it to keep it from being boring. But the point is to do it.

Integrate your upgraded health habits into your routine now by scheduling regular breaks throughout the day like mandatory meetings. Set a timer, create a calendar alert, or use a free app like Stand Up! to remind you to take breaks and/or act on any healthy habit individually.

And toss any misguided notions from previous work that it’s noble or necessary to work through your breaks. As a healthcare freelance writer, you’re in charge of your day and your health.

What is your favorite or most effective healthy habit you think other healthcare writers should know?

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?

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!

 

Chronicles of a Nurse Writer - When are You Going to Get a Real Job

Chronicles of a Nurse Writer: When Are You Going to Get a Real Job?

I was ecstatic when I accepted my first nursing job at the state psychiatric hospital. I considered pursuing psychology during college, but instead chose nursing. Therefore, being able to work in mental health nursing felt like the best of both worlds. That is, until I told the other nurses I worked with in women’s health about my new job. Instead of sharing in my elation, several responded with, “That’s fine, until you can get a real nursing job.” I heard this expression multiple times over the years and sadly; it was often from other nurses.

I’m a writer who became a nurse. Then I went full circle and became a nurse who writes. Yet, in many of my nursing positions I’ve been asked about my real nursing job, when in reality, I’ve always had one. The ability to support those suffering from mental illness as they struggled to attain better mental health wellness provided great rewards as well as personal and professional satisfaction. These rewards could almost be comparable to a nurse helping someone heal from physical wounds.

Where’s Your Stethoscope?

We all have our talents. Just because a nurse spends more time talking with a client, providing education, writing, or working with healthcare policy and procedures rather than providing hands-on care, it doesn’t mean they aren’t practicing nursing.

I’ve worked with a lot of psychiatric nurses and just like any other nursing specialty; some are better at it than others. Psychiatric nursing is challenging, and many claim they’d never want to work in this specialty. I can understand, because there are many specialties I wouldn’t enjoy, but they all provide an essential contribution to the nursing field. Luckily for me, I can research and learn more about these specialties by reviewing articles written by those who enjoy that area of expertise.

Don’t Nurses Wear Scrubs?

I chose to pursue a Master of Science (MSN) in nursing administration because I wanted to help improve the morale of nurses and make nursing work environments better. But when I began working in nursing administration, I continued to carry the stigma of not being a real nurse. Many are surprised to discover I’m a nurse since I don’t wear scrubs, and I sit behind a desk. It seemed that nursing administration was even further distanced than psychiatric nursing since I no longer practice direct patient care.

What Is a Nurse, Really?

Often I feel as if I still practice in psychiatric nursing, whether it’s within my job in administration, when writing, or providing education. These skills are essential when counseling an employee, talking to a patient’s family, or performing an interview. It’s almost as if I’ve never left the floor. I might sit behind a desk and work in administration, or write healthcare articles, but the essential communication skills from psychiatric and mental health nursing remain intact.

Isn’t Writing Just a Hobby?

I started writing as a hobby, and then morphed into fiction writing. From there I discovered freelance writing. It almost felt frivolous not to utilize my degrees and years of nursing experience. Initially the freelance communities I found weren’t healthcare writers—I didn’t even know those existed. When I discovered I could combine my nursing experience and education with my love of writing to work in freelance healthcare writing, it was a way to embrace all of my skills and feel complete.

Applying Nursing Skills to Writing

Part of my personal mission as a freelance writer is to educate family and friends in my small community that such a thing exists, and that freelance is a skill which doesn’t mean free. That writing is a talent, and healthcare writers are skilled with the knowledge they’ve gleaned from their education and experience, such as:

  • How communication skills honed in psychiatric nursing (or other specialty skills) are used for gathering data through interviewing, or to convey a message, or information, through writing.
  • How healthcare writing enables years of experience to be shared in a clear way to educate others, and provide helpful tips and education.
  • That a quality article usually requires research to ensure that material is pertinent.

So You Aren’t A Nurse Anymore?

Discovering a health care community like the Healthcare Marketing Network that supports this endeavor helped me no longer be bothered by confused looks when I tell people I’m also a healthcare freelance writer. Nor do I flinch when some say, “A writer? So you aren’t a nurse anymore?”  I might point out that someone had to write the article they found online to learn more about their newest medication, treatment or other healthcare related topic. Then perhaps I might mention that if that information is helpful and thorough, that a nurse just might have written it.

 

Working With Freelancers: 7 Tips For Hiring Writers

There you are, looking around wondering how you’re going to get everything done on your to-do list.

You look down and see a writing task, then sigh, or maybe silently scream, because the truth is, you just don’t love writing. However, you know it’s an important part of the communication your business has with the world and needs to be done.  

An idea pops into your mind; you could hire a freelance writer to help you!

Hiring freelance writers to help with the tasks you don’t have time for is a great option! They can use their talents to help your business grow to the next level, while you focus on what you do best; running said business!

It’s not that simple though, is it? I mean, where do you even start? Have no fear, answers are here! Read on for a few points to consider before you hire a writer.

1. Clear Scope of Work

Before you hire a freelance writer, be sure to have a clear idea of the project. Experienced freelance writers are very good at picking up a project and running with it, but it makes a better relationship when you start off having a solid idea of what you are looking for.

Key parts of a writing job to have figured out in advance include:  

  • A working title 
  • Approximate word count
  • Style requirements
  • Keywords (at least a few to begin with)

2. Research Freelancers

Once you’ve decided to work with a freelance writer, do some research to find one whose writing style fits you, your brand and the message you want to convey. There are many ways to do this. If you’re looking in the healthcare niche, the Healthcare Marketing Network has fantastic writers!

You can also look on Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook. Just type in “freelance writer” in the search bar, and many people who identify themselves as freelance writers will pop up. Many freelancers who are on social media will also identify their niche, which makes it easier to find the perfect writer for your job.

Many freelance writers have online portfolios where you can read samples of their work. Taking the time to find a freelance writer who seems to be a good fit will help things go smoother.

3. Contract or Letter of Agreement

Freelance writers are encouraged to create contracts for all of the work they do. For shorter projects, a letter of agreement works well. A letter of agreement is shorter than a contract, but still requires two signatures and protects both parties and are written like a form letter.

Here are the relevant sections to include:

  • Services freelancer will provide
  • Services freelancer will NOT provide
  • Deadlines
  • Final deliverables
  • Delivery Terms
  • Payment Terms

4. Expect to Pay Upfront

There are many different payment arrangements in the freelance world. However, many freelance writers will ask to be paid up front. Some require a percentage before work begins and the remainder once a project is complete.  

Some will wait until work is complete to bill for their work, but be aware many will ask for at least a percentage of the total amount due before work begins.

5. Clear Deadlines

Whether you’re having a freelancer write a blog post or helping you write a novel, clear deadlines need to be addressed from the very beginning. For large projects with multiple parts, sit down and map out deadlines with the writer. For shorter projects, make sure a deadline is given and it will work with the writer’s schedule.

This may sound obvious, but sometimes when you talk with a writer, they agree to the work thinking they have plenty of time and things change, and everyone is upset because there was never a deadline set in the first place.  

6. Be Available

Once all the details are worked out, it’s crucial to remain available to answer any questions, comments, or concerns the writer may have.

From a freelance writer’s perspective, sometimes you begin a project thinking you have a good handle on everything, and something comes up you hadn’t discussed. If you can’t get ahold of the person you are writing for within a few days, it makes it hard to deliver by the preset deadline.

7. Be Aware of Scope Creep 

Sometimes, although you’ve spent a great deal of time mapping out the project, something comes up you want to add. When you add something, the scope of the project has changed, and you need to be willing to revisit the agreement and compensate the writer for the additional work.

One thing is certain; working with freelance writers is amazing! They’re very good at working independently and free up time for you to spend on other parts of your business, so you’ll never regret it! 

Looking to hire a writer? Take action 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!

 

How Can a Freelance Writing Coach Help?

I’ve been a nurse for many years, a fiction author for a handful of them, and a writer all my life. After years of writing fiction, branching into non-fiction freelance writing seemed like a natural progression. With a goal of being able to efficiently, and effectively, write both fiction and freelance, I didn’t want to waste time with futile efforts that would only create more work for myself. But since I was already established with a website and on social media as a fiction author surely adding freelance writing would be easy, right? Right?

Easier Said Than Done

Although freelance and fiction writing share many similarities and a writer can benefit from the knowledge gained in either, there are also many differences. Balancing these two halves into a perfect whole can be a challenge and often combine like oil and water. I needed someone experienced who could take a look at my online presence from the outside. If only there was an expert who could give my hand a little squeeze of much needed reassurance.

Fortunately for my sanity, and me, I met Janine in the Healthcare Writers Network Facebook group and she was killing it as a nurse freelance writer. I was even luckier to win a coaching call with her through her company WriteRN.

Why Janine?

If you’re going to work closely with someone and share your insecurities and doubts, you want someone who is personable, friendly, your personal cheerleader and human(I.e.: Someone who can share reasonable and realistic methods to achieve goals. Because as much as I love to write about magic, so far I’ve not found it in the real world.) Janine is all of these things and more!

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Before our coaching call, I prepared questions about areas in freelance writing that required me to venture into new, unfamiliar territory, or terrain I’d let grow stagnant over the years. Sure I could do all of these things on my own, but was I doing it right to achieve the effect that I desired? Otherwise I was only wasting my time.

  • LinkedIn: Did I set up my page correctly to sound knowledgeable and professional?
  • Networking: How important is networking and where are the best places and methods for doing so?
  • Marketing: Where can I find clients for my niche and how do I sell them a winning pitch?
  • My Freelance Website: Does my new freelance website look sleek and professional and what tools and pages do I need to protect and grow my business?

You Might Know More Than You Think You Know

My venture into freelance writing had me spread in a multitude of directions trying to figure out how and what to start and when to stop. Talking with Janine helped me uncover clarity in my goals.

  • Confidence: Janine’s professional opinion ensured me where I was working in the right direction. That little virtual hand squeeze, or pat on the shoulder gave me additional confidence to proceed with plans I’d made.
  • Guidance and Advice: Her experience helped guide me where I should focus more attention to succeed in freelancing and other places that I didn’t need to worry about, thus saving me precious time.
  • Reassurance: Our coaching call enabled Janine to share more of her story about her success, and following along with her newsletter provided me with a role model.

Saving Time and My Sanity

There’s nothing I hate more than wasting time or money. Working with Janine enabled me to stop flitting away hours wondering what else I needed to do, and if I was doing it right when it came to freelance writing. Instead I have Janine’s coaching tips and tricks to fall back upon when I ponder the next steps in my freelance journey. Janine’s freelance path both inspires and reassures me that my efforts are worthwhile—and immense success is possible.

Thanks so much for reading and be sure to check out my new freelance website, Charmed Type. I’ve also published in paranormal romance and fantasy genres. Find out more about my novels on my website!

 

How Writing Kept Me in Nursing

By the time I found freelance healthcare writing I was desperate. Frantically searching for months, trying to find less physical roles away from the bedside and considering leaving nursing altogether. Chronic illness had thrown a major wrench into my career goals. After years of pridefully perfecting my nursing skills I suddenly felt hopeless, wondering how I could possibly continue to utilize these skills in a way that my mind would be fulfilled and my body wouldn’t reject. The very thought of leaving nursing gave me a queasy feeling.

 

I had wanted this for so long…worked so hard. It was part of my identity. 

 

It had been difficult to work the floor as long as I can remember, but I pushed through. I had already endured so much getting to where I was in my career. How could I let this go so easily? My thoughts kept racing backward; nursing school, starting work, night shift, back to school, chasing new opportunities, climbing the clinical ladder – all while trying to find time for constant prescription refills, injections, infusions, specialist appointments and hospital visits.

Maybe I overestimated my physical abilities. Maybe I underestimated the physical nature of nursing, but after a decade of building my career as a young oncology nurse none of it seemed to matter now. This is where I was – in this moment, feeling stuck. Having been on both sides of the bedrails I loved bedside care. However, with time passing and my symptoms progressing rather than improving, it was only getting harder to work.

 

My body and soul were exhausted.

 

An increase in chronic pain, fatigue and a barrage of other symptoms made it increasingly difficult to focus. I wasn’t connecting with my patients. I was hardly able to show up for my shifts. Taking care of others is not easy when you are feeling awful yourself. I made accommodations to my situation: gotten on day shift for years, reduced my hours – eventually going per diem, reducing my hours further, moving to more of a desk job, even going out on disability twice in my twenties. Already having made several adjustments over the years, I was forcefully trying to stick with it, stubbornly holding tight to my ego.

It was time to let go and search for a new path. After many hours of internet research I had finally found it. Freelance healthcare writing. It was like a light at the end of a long dark tunnel. I had always possessed a love for writing from a young age. Now I could merge my creative outlet with my wealth of clinical knowledge. But…could I do it? I wanted to try but found myself swirling in self doubt. Did I even have potential as a writer? How do I get started without a lick of prior experience? Networking.

I was fortunate enough to have my first piece picked up by a large website specifically for nurses. It gave me a place to gain my confidence and try out material on those I trusted most – my nursing peers. Their opinions very much matter to me and I seek their approval. However, it was not a position that was going to pay my bills. It was time to think bigger. Reaching out to other freelance writers proved extremely fruitful. They were so willing to help, offering whatever pieces of knowledge they possessed. Through making a few connections I came across the Healthcare Writers Network in it’s infancy. It was fascinating to see many names of writers I had come across before – all coming together in one online community.

This network only gets better each week. There are tons of #freelancefriday videos to learn from other successful writers, leads for work, answers to many burning questions, contests and support. So much support! Yes, finding freelance writing kept me in nursing but this network of writers (and the successful women who lovingly run it) gave me the tools I need to succeed. I’ve met incredible like minded people that genuinely want to help and watch my success grow. That seems to be increasingly rare these days. With that, there’s a wonderful energy that surrounds such a group. Being a part of it only makes you want to be better and strive for more with the added comforts of a support net and valid soundboard.

Through my freelancing journey I have found many things. A new skill, validation in the knowledge I possess after years of nursing, and a community I fit right in with. I am grateful to have found such a place and find I feel more fulfilled with every new article I write and each new connection I make. Best of all, balancing my illness with my work seems to be falling right into place and I am again hopeful for my future in nursing.

Are you a healthcare writer that would like to take your career to the next level? Join The Healthcare Marketing Network!

 

6 Reasons To Ghostwrite

Sean asked: OK, Group. What are your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge about ghostwriting? I’m still learning. Looking for a good explanation of why a writer would take on a ghostwriting project? Don’t you want credit where credit is due? Anxious to hear your answers.

 

Join us as we dive in to this great question by Sean!

I think the best way to tell explain why writers take on ghost projects is to cover the reasons ghostwriting rocks!

Ready? Let’s do it!

 

1. EXPERIENCE 

One of the most common reasons writers take on a ghostwriting project is to gain experience. Since you can’t put a ghostwritten piece in your portfolio unless it is okay with the client, it makes the most sense to use it to gain experience. Make money while learning? Yes, please!

2. IT’S LUCRATIVE

Fellow freelance writer and Healthcare Marketing Network member Vicky Warren says she has learned ghostwriting clients tend to pay more because they don’t have the time to do it! Ghostwriters can charge up to 30% more per word (insert the lyrics to Abba’s ‘Money, Money, Money’ here).

3. EASIER TO LAND GIGS

If you’re looking for a writing opportunity and haven’t had much luck, ghostwriting could be your next logical step. Most clients will jump on board with the idea of you ghostwriting for them before they’ll agree to let you guest write on their blog, which makes it the simpler route for landing gigs. In addition, clients who want to ramp up their traffic know that quality content plays a significant role in doing so. In short, clients are willing to pay for quality content because they just don’t have the extra time to put into their blog.

4. WRITE FOR ROCKSTAR THOUGHT LEADERS

Being in the shadows isn’t always a bad thing! Ghostwriting often allows you to work with and/or for some amazing people! Working for industry thought leaders is very fulfilling and almost always provides a learning opportunity (or two)!

5. YOU DON’T HAVE TO MARKET A THING

After you post an article on your blog, you’re responsible for getting it a little lovin’. You may find yourself on social media sharing it, emailing it to fellow colleagues, or telling your friends about it. When you work for a ghostwriting client, that’s all on them!

6. YOU DON’T WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR THAT NICHE

Some writers take on a project that’s out of their niche, so they’d rather not be known for it. For example, I could write a fantastic article about the benefits of medical marijuana, but that isn’t something I necessarily stand for. I’m not totally against it, but I’m not “all in” either. When ghostwriting you can write for a client, but still keep your name off it.

 

Before jumping into a ghostwriting project, I’d recommend thinking about why you’re doing it. Try asking yourself these two important questions:

  • Will it bother me not to receive credit for my work?
  • Will I be okay with my work being edited beyond my control?

There are  very successful ghostwriters that love what they do and wouldn’t have it any other way! If you want a job that is lucrative and enjoy writing for companies, ghostwriting could be a great addition to your list of services!

Do you ghostwrite? What other pros can you add to the list?

Are you a business owner, freelancer, or creative? Become a member of The Healthcare Marketing Network today!

 

Trademark vs. Copyright

Revlon O. asked: Can someone tell me the difference between copyright and trademark? I’m so confused. I’ve researched it, but the more I look into the more confused I get.

 

First of all, this is a GREAT question Revlon! Copyrights and trademarks can certainly be confusing, but they don’t have to be!

Let’s start by defining them.

 

Copyright – The United States Copyright Office defines a copyright as something that “protects original works including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.”

Examples: books, audio, products relating to the business

Trademark – The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines a trademark as something that ”protects words, names, symbols, sounds or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods.”

Example: logos, slogans, name of the business

 

Both provide legal help for companies trying to keep others from using their name, logo, brand, etc. It covers them financially as well because companies hold the right to sue someone for using their brand without permission.

Your company’s copyright is an asset to your business, so protecting it should be a priority.

 

The easy way to remember which is which: Think of a copyright as a protection against the artistic elements of your business and a trademark as the protection of your businesses name.

For example, a trademark protects The Beatles’ band name, but a copyright protects the records they’ve produced.

Registering a copyright or trademark is required if a business wants to sue a party for the use of their product. Would you like information on how to register a copyright or trademark? I thought you might!

 

Registering a Copyright 

  1. File a form
  2. Pay a fee
  3. Send a copy of the work to the United States Copyright Office.

Registering a Trademark

  1. Perform a trademark search to make sure it’s not already in use.
  2. Call an attorney for additional steps. Beyond this point, most experts recommend obtaining legal help from an attorney to finish the steps of registering the trademark.

 

So, Revlon, you can trademark your business name and copyright things you add to your business. Does that make sense?

Want another easy way to understand it? Here’s a cool video that might help.

 

Are you a business owner, freelancer, or creative?
Become a member of The Healthcare Marketing Network today!