Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? I think writing is important because it improves patient care and hence… life. I am a drug information clinical pharmacist and academician by training. During my career of working with patients, there is always a need for more information about medications, whether it be a new dose of a drug, an old drug with a new potential use, or an adverse medication effect. When there wasn’t a “go to” answer, I felt the need to research and write about the topic so that I could learn, as well as, I could teach others... “maybe this CAN be used for a patient, maybe under certain circumstances.” This was an opportunity to educate others in the health field.
What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? I walk away from the computer. I usually check email and read a book or a magazine, sometimes I cook, or call a friend. It takes my head out of the “writing.” Ideas come to me at the strangest times, mostly when I am not thinking about them. So doing something else is a help, and helps to also clear my head.
What is your favorite time to write? Oddly enough, after a long day of work at the hospital, I usually come home and go through all my mail. I have dinner, maybe with a decaffeinated Italian roast coffee with frothed milk, and get into relaxation mode. It is at this time when my thoughts flow the best and I am able to be the most productive. Ironically, I may be tired even though this is early to late evening, but most of the time this really works for me. I like to then write until I am completely exhausted.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Find a topic you have a passion for or something you enjoy. Like your job, if it is something you love… it will come easy and it won’t feel like work. You will be happy to do it and be satisfied with the outcome.
What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? The internet opens up so many opportunities to meet others and share ideas. It is much easier to research and find information, you don’t even have to leave your chair. In my college days, if you needed to look up information, you ALWAYS had to go to the library, now students don’t even have to do that. Today's students and researchers don’t know how lucky they are in this respect. Additionally, there is less apprehension about reaching out to others, you don’t have to make a phone call and risk being rejected, you don’t have to write a letter and not know whether it was received... people are easier to find and it takes less time to connect.
Michele B. Kaufman's Healthcare Heroes: The Medical Careers Guide, co-written with Mary Choy is out now with Sigel Press.