By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
One day you’re a skilled and experienced healthcare professional and the next day the doctor asks you to create content; writing for the medical practice website, blog and/or social media.
It’s a sudden and challenging new assignment, and not everyone is up to the task. Certainly it’s important to maintain fresh and interesting content for the physician or group practice. The Internet is the new front door, and as the saying goes, “content is king.”
Regardless of your previous experience (or lack thereof) as a writer, if you aren’t practicing the craft daily, your skills get rusty and the product doesn’t communicate effectively. Writing can be nearly as frightening as public speaking, so consider these tips to improve your creative output.
Relax. The “publish” button is miles from the “save draft” button. (That’s why the destructive backspace was invented.) Stop staring at the blank page and write. Then edit and re-write.
Read and write often. Writers write daily, and good writers are also regular readers. These activities are two sides of the creative coin.
Write about what you care about. A familiar subject—maybe something you’re passionate about—is excellent fuel. It’s easier when you care about the topic, but don’t be shy about research and learning more.
Use the “K-I-S-S Rule.” Ideas flow more easily when you “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” or better said, “Keep It Super Simple.” The KISS abbreviation is a handy reminder that simplicity helps the reader (and the writer.) Avoid medical/clinical terms—clichés and jargon, for example—and keep it short and simple.
Begin with the end in mind. Can you write the one “big idea” as one sentence? Keep the main idea in focus, and avoid diversions, distraction and fluff.
Write it. Then read it aloud. Moving ideas from your brain to paper, and then from paper to the reader’s brain is tricky business. Write as you would speak, then speak the words out loud.
Never proofread your own copy. Have at least one other person read your work carefully and critically. Correct spelling, punctuation and grammar are important, but above all, being understood—truly communicating—is the real acid test. Then proof again.
Welcome critical comments. Pride of authorship is rewarding, but don’t filter out constructive criticism. Lower any emotional defenses and be open to ways to improve.
Not everyone is cut out to be a professional writer, but nearly everyone can improve his or her skills with daily practice and guidance.