Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ever Plagiarise Yourself?

Did you even know self-plagiarism was a word? Plagiarizing yourself has the same consequences as plagiarizing someone else’s work. Medical writers don't own the words they write—they “work for hire.” You can't reuse the words even though you wrote them. The client owns the words!

Want to know more? Download a white paper.
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Contact me for medical writing: cheryl4698@verizon.net
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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Do You Work...

Do you work *on* or *in* your business? Don't think there is a difference?

Read Michael Gerber's:
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It              

Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. He claims: After you read The E-Myth Revisited, you will be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.
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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Punctuation! Punctuation!

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.

"Why?" asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

"Well, I'm a panda," he says. "Look it up."

The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. "Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

Amazon.com: Eats, Shoots and Leaves
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saint Valentine's Day, also known as Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them. Did you know: The celebration of Saint Valentine did not have any romantic connotations until Chaucer's poetry about "Valentines" in the 14th century. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

You Can't Un-ring the Bell

Everything that you say online becomes part of your digital footprint. Forever! As they say: you can't un-ring the bell. When you write *anything* consider how it might affect your professional image--in the future. Yes, we're talking not only LinkedIn, but also Facebook and Twitter. Human-resource professionals learn a lot about people from their online personas--your personal brand. Does yours say what you want it to say about you as a writer? Or does it show you to be party hearty? Think about it.
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Contact me for medical writing: cheryl4698@verizon.net
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Science is as Good as it Gets

"When I was a kid, everyone wanted to be a rock and roll star. But if you really want to do something creative, fun, and stimulating, then science is as good as it gets.--Research neurologist Richard Ransohoff"
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

For Your Bookshelf

Health Care Research Done Right: A Journal Editor Shares Practical Tips and Techniques for High Quality and Efficiency.  --by Kathleen Fairman

Fairman is a journal editor and principal investigator who has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles.
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Uh..and One More Thing

Dreaded words! Is it little--like making a minor edit? Or is it big--like writing a whole new document? If you can take it in stride, you might endear yourself to your client. And get a lot of follow-on work as you are "easy to work with." The other option is to try to charge them for it, as it wasn't in the original contract. You might get paid, but may not get any follow-on work. Not an easy decision! I'd like to hear what you've chosen to do.
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Contact me for medical writing: cheryl4698@verizon.net
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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Late Paying Clients

What do you do about late paying clients? Put up with it? Ditch them? Hound them with late fees? From my experience, I usually end up working for some sort of middle-man (usually a MedComm), and rarely directly for the pharma. I usually find out that when my client is late, it is because they are chasing their client, the pharma -- who is getting notoriously bad about paying on time. I can't get paid til my client gets paid by their client. Rather than letting it aggravate me, I keep more of a slush fund around in my checking and savings account, so I can handle the lateness. No interest on the money, but a whole lot less stressful for me!
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Contact me for medical writing: cheryl4698@verizon.net
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Saturday, February 8, 2014

When is the Translation Coming?

This quote guides me as I write:
Sir F. M. R. Walshe: "I see you have an interesting paper in the latest issue of Brain. When is the English translation coming out? (Remark to a London physician on the publication of a somewhat obscure paper.)

FROM:
Familiar Medical Quotations, edited by Maurice B. Strauss, MD (Little, Brown, 1968).
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Friday, February 7, 2014

Clear as Mud!

Stanley Gilder, in Medical Journal of Australia, 1962. (Ibid., 673): "The cardinal sin in medical writing is not grammatical error but obscurity."

Familiar Medical Quotations, edited by Maurice B. Strauss, MD (Little, Brown, 1968).

Medical writing--clear as mud! Don't write mud!
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

AMWA Offers Superb Education

AMWA--the American Medical Writers Association--my professional organization, offers superb educational opportunities. There are formal classes and informal breakfast roundtables, and everything in between. AMWA chapters also offer classes and workshops. See the full list of AMWA local chapter conferences at www.amwa.org/chpt_conferences2. And sign up today!
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Contact me for medical writing: cheryl4698@verizon.net
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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lightning or Lightning Bug?

Mark Twain said: "The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."

Hmmmmm.....Do you proofread? Do you get a second set of eyes to read your work? Do you read  backwards? Today's writing often never sees an editor, but goes straight from writer to publication. Make sure you have the lightning bug and not the lightning!
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Contact me for medical writing: cheryl4698@verizon.net
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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

No Portfolio? No Problem!

I'm teaching my roundtable "NP?NP!" at the AMWA New England February meeting. See here for more info: http://amwa-ne.org/

"NP?NP!" = No Portfolio? No Problem!
How a beginning freelance can build a writing sample portfolio out of thin air, and use it to get jobs. It's my personal story.
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Contact me for medical writing: cheryl4698@verizon.net
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Monday, February 3, 2014

...by Zombies

Don't be passive! Use the active voice; your writing will be better. What's the difference? Active: The doctor treated the patient. If you can add the phrase "by zombies" and it still makes sense--then it is passive. Passive: The patient was treated [by zombies]. (Heard in the halls of AMWA.)
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Sunday, February 2, 2014

You Cannot Be too Precise ! ! !

Edith Schwager (AMWA member, famous for her "Dear Edie" column in the AMWA Journal):

"In medical writing, there is no danger in being too precise—only in being imprecise."
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Contact me for medical writing: cheryl4698@verizon.net
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