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Writing & Medical Journalism

 First...take a listen to this incredible point at min 19 until 22 from the Unlocking Us podcast (Brene Brown & Alicia Keys)

Brene: "Anyone that I know that has any experience of success...a lot of women especially is 'I can never say no [to overextending oneself] because I'll be perceived as ungrateful and the opportunities might go away' "

Alicia writes: "Opportunity is never a promise, rather it's a hope and a powerful hustle..."

And, remember what Kurt Vonnegut advised: “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”


Some resources for the hustle (after the jump):

1.Books on Writing, Creativity, Productivity:

i)William Zinsser, “On Writing Well” 

ii)Roy Peter Clark, “Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer” 

iii)Cal Newport, "Deep Work"

iv)Sarah Lewis, "The Rise"

v)Tiffany Yates Martin, "Intuitive Editing"


2.Writing Podcasts

i) Longform

ii) Write About Now

iii) #AmWriting

iv) I share some tips in a podcast here.

v) Website: The Write Life


3.Writing Opinion articles/Op-eds

This resource from The Op-Ed Project (OEP) is helpful to delineate structure as well as to read about the other op-ed writing basics (and while you're there, read about The OEP and consider participating in one of their workshops! After that, you can request to paired with me as your mentor-editor.) NB: in 2021 my participation in The OEP is intermittent primarily due to book editing demands. 


4.The best advice I can offer is to cultivate supportive community (this goes for writing, medicine, and beyond!)

For writing, it's summed up by this tweet and this tweet -- we live in an abundant world (promise!). 

Turn envy into inspiration and motivation! And be *KIND* (and uplift/support/encourage fellow writers)!! 🙂

My second best piece of advice: writing is 90% thinking about what you'd like to write, 10% is actually writing.

My third best piece of advice: successful story placement is largely contingent on the quality of your story ideas combined with the confidence to pitch frequently, widely (different outlets/editors), and persistently.  Assuming a very conservative 5% pitch success rate, if you pitch 2 to 19 times --stories and/or outlets -- a year, likely yields zero stories published. Pitching 20 times will yield at least one story a year.  Don't forget that sharing your work on, or a personal blog, is a great way to get the wheels turning/creative juices flowing and build a writing habit (and it gets much easier over time) and increase the chances of your work being noticed. 


5.Medicine/Health-focused journalism training


CUNY: Newmark J-school (health and science concentration):

Harvard writer's conference:


UNC Science Journalism:

Munk School, Toronto:

Columbia Narrative Medicine:


**This resources section is comprehensive and includes one long podcast interview where I share everything I know about freelancing in health/medical journalism and writing. Ava filters my email requests and in general, due to the number of emails we receive, and other demands on my time/energy, I am unable to respond to individual requests for advice or tips. The most efficient solution was to share it all here, for free, and update this section as I learn and discover more things worth sharing**

Happier Workplace Cultures, in Healthcare & Beyond

1. Before you cold-email a request, read this.

2. My approach to collaboration, advice-giving, etc, as articulated by Adam Grant -- the first thing I'll ask is 'who have you helped, what voices have you amplified, how did you 'give'?  Grant is one of the most brilliant minds out there and I highly recommend his book on this topic (Give and Take) and his TedTalk

3.Tall Poppies (new research from Canada)

4.Why some teams succeed (and others fail), from HBR.

5.This series on beating generosity burnout, from HBR.

6.The impact of workplace toxicity, especially workplace bullying and mobbing, on health.

7.Books about creating healthy workplaces, inspired/engaged team members (also: employees, medical trainees, physicians), and wise leadership that I often re-read & share:

~Adam Grant: Give & Take; Originals

~Christine Porath: Mastering Civility

~Cy Wakeman:  No Ego;  Reality-Based Leadership

~Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg: How Google Works [NB: if only for the sections on "smart creatives"]

~Daniel Coyle: The Culture Code

~Luvvie Ajayi Jones:  Professional Troublemaker, The Fear-Fighter Manual

~Bob Sutton: The No As*hole Rule; As*hole Survival Guide

~Amy Edmondson: The Fearless Organization

~Brene Brown: Rising Strong; Dare to Lead

~Simon Sinek: The Infinite Game

~Marc Benioff: Trailblazer

~Ray Dalio: Principles