As a physician, you know the importance of writing. You write to educate your patients and colleagues about medicine, prescribe medications, make referrals, and even sometimes provide care directly. Writing is an integral part of medicine, yet many physicians struggle.
To be successful as a writer, you must maximize your strengths (already evident in your career) and minimize your weaknesses (weaknesses that appear in language usage). Whether you’re fresh out of residency or preparing for retirement, here’s how to become a more successful writer:
Establish a Writing Routine
A writing routine is important for anyone who wants to be a successful writer, including physicians. A routine can help you stay focused and organized, essential for completing writing projects. There are two main benefits to establishing a writing routine for physician writers, such as Dr. Jason Campbell.
It can help you stay focused. When you have a specific time each day for writing, it can help you stay focused and avoid distractions. This is especially important when working on a longer project, such as a paper or grant proposal.
It can improve productivity. By giving yourself a specific time frame each day for completing work, you may get more done in fewer hours than if you had no set schedule at all. Even if there are times that work spills into other parts of the day, having a consistent schedule will likely improve throughput
Understand Your Target Audience
When you’re writing, it’s important to remember your target audience. As a physician, your target audience is likely other physicians or patients. When writing for other physicians, you should use clear and concise language. When writing for patients, you should explain medical concepts in terms that they can understand.
Assess Writing Products Before Sending Them Out
It’s important to always assess your writing products before sending them out. Ask yourself the following questions: Is the document clear and concise? Is it easy to read? Are the medical concepts explained in a way that patients can understand? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you need to revise the document.
One of the best ways to become a successful writer is to revise your work multiple times. Reworking your documents will help you catch mistakes and improve the overall clarity and coherence.
Use Writing Resources
There are many resources available to help you improve your writing skills. These resources include books, websites, and online courses. It is important to read articles and journals related to your topic when you start. This will give you a better understanding of what is being discussed and help you develop your ideas. Additionally, reading other people’s work can help give you a better understanding of writing effectively.
Be a Good Reader
Becoming a successful physician writer takes time and effort. One important step is to develop good reading habits. This will help you understand complex medical concepts and write clearly and effectively. A good reader is someone who reads actively, critically, and thoughtfully. They can extract meaning from text and understand the author’s purpose. Good readers can also ask questions about what they read and reflect on their thoughts and opinions.
Keep Your Writing Skills Sharp
It’s important to keep your writing skills sharp by practicing regularly. You can do this by writing letters to friends and family, or even keeping a journal.
Find a Mentor
A mentor can be an invaluable resource for improving your writing skills. A mentor can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and offer advice on how to improve your writing style.
As a physician, becoming a successful writer is essential to your career. By following these eight steps, you can maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses as a writer. With practice and perseverance, you can become a more successful physician writer.