The main skills of a technical writer are to simplify complicated data, facts, information, and multi-stemmed processes into a structure that we now dub “human-readable.” Every handbook, training manual, medical FAQs and troubleshooting tutorial was developed by a technical writer who dissected the unprocessed instructions and reassembled the information so the average person could comprehend its meaning.
As a subcategory of technical writing, the medical writer has similar skills and functions; but in lieu of assembling directions,
freelance medical writers create basic summaries of medical-related processes, medical data, specifications of medical devices, and assemble studies on completed research and trial testing (such as drug tests).
Tip #1: Specialized Education
If you want clients to outsource work to you, then you must educate yourself with the basic rules of technical writing. Ensure your competencies are equal or above the skills of your peers, and then look at the following: in contrast to writing technical materials, the role of the medical writer may involve specific training (and perhaps
further schooling) to help you fully understand the fundamental concept of writing for the healthcare/medical industry. You should work your way through a fundamental college-level course or earn a certificate that offers you relevant experience. Try creating a portfolio of specific writing samples to authenticate your proficiency.
Tip # 2: Write for Your Readers’ Reading Level:
Medical writing focuses more on writing expertise and knowledge, instead of familiarity with certain medical devices. Always know in the back of your mind what the average person looks for in a medical or health-related document so that you can write at that readability level. At the same time, the more health-related knowledge you obtain, the more likely you can simplify data and instructions. Real-life experience is definitely priceless. Working in laboratory as a volunteer or intern in your free time will not only provide you with excellent experience, but it also lets you socialize and network with laboratory personnel who might have connections to hiring managers at similar companies.
Likewise, if you can use a university library, then peruse their medical reference materials
and journals and study how professional writers write the way they do. You can find illustrations of simplified data online as well. Use Google or Bing to familiarize yourself with the broad selection of subject matter that clients may hire you to do.
Tip # 3: Find Jobs Online and Offline:
Freelance job sites, like Freelancer.com, oDesk.com and Elance.com, can supply useful project-based jobs that will grow your credentials and advertise your availability to other prospective clients. Of course, to enjoy the incentives of regular clients and higher pay, you should contact ad agencies and staffing agencies, as well as market yourself and your services directly to organizations and companies. You can also dig up jobs in the community newspaper or regional trade publications. Medical writing (especially ghostwriting medical articles) is growing fast. Even though it’s rewarding to freelance or
telecommute as a medical writer, it’s also challenging to establish yourself and your credibility in a profession that continues to grow.
That you freelance makes your task much more difficult. Typically you’ll contemplate where you can find available jobs. You might have seen a dozen open positions last week, and now you find nothing. In times of crisis or when you experience some “down time,” you can seek advice from other writers in your field. Consider joining a trade organization for medical writers such as the American Medical Writers Association. Proactively network
online and offline and compile contacts within the industry who may outsource work to you or refer you to a person in charge of a medical facility who needs a medical writer.
Tip # 4: Complex Tasks Pay Much More:
Of course, you will receive large salaries from major corporate businesses. Writing traditional regulatory documents for government-aided organizations and businesses will pay you thousands of dollars per project. Although these projects are mentally-challenging and time-consuming, many drug companies will need your writing skills to launch a new product. If you’re
the writer who can assemble the regulatory report that helps the company get its new drug approved for the marketplace, then you can expect many more jobs from the same client…and many new jobs from new clients.
Tip # 5: Before you begin securing jobs, focus on publicity:
Blog your skills for the the entire global population to see; and broaden your skills to encompass basic science/technical writing as a method of promoting your name out in the industry. Published articles or documents in varied niches with your byline on them tells future clients that you are a writer who
can adapt to any writing project. Consider transcribing or publishing content for websites, magazines and journals to strengthen your public identity. Additionally, once you feel primed in medical terminology, try to convince an editor (or editors) to publish your articles in their peer-reviewed health/medical journals, even as a co-author or collaborator. Just think, your byline in the Journal of Medical Practice Management (for example) will reach potential employers directly and with amazing impact.
Continually build your public presence online and offline, as this will earn you financially-rewarding contracts and compensate you for all your hard work.