Archive for the ‘Freelancing’ Category

The sun is setting on the MedComms Day

June 7, 2017

It’s become traditional on #MedComms Day now to have a photo sent in by Sarah Smith, a freelance medical writer and editor based on her boat in the The Caribbean to remind us that you can freelance in MedComms from anywhere these days… today it’s Turtle Bay, Trinidad.

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Plans change…

June 7, 2017

K_LeeKathryn Lee is a Freelance Medical Writer based in the UK and has had to adapt to her plans changing for the day, as they often do.

One of the things I love about being freelance is the variety of work!  Although I’m often home-based in the UK and writing documents for large Pharma companies, today I’m travelling to Switzerland to deliver protocol writing training for a new client.  Of course, such days don’t always run according to plan and my 09.20 flight from Norwich to Basel, via Amsterdam, was cancelled due to strong winds.  I’ve been rebooked on the last flight of the day which gives me extra time to catch up on a few administrative tasks, start drafting an article due later this month, and think about new medical writing projects lined up for later in 2017.

 

Still loving working in MedComms

June 7, 2017

Corinne Swainger is a Freelance Medical Copywriter, Medical Writer and Editor based in London.

Greetings from breezy, sunny Pinner, in North-West London, where I’m stopping for lunch during my busy freelance day.  As it happens, my teenage son didn’t go into school today since he wasn’t well overnight. But working from home means I can keep an eye on his recovery here, while still progressing with my work. Today, at MediQuill Ltd, I’m juggling some interesting assignments. These include developing a new strategic story flow for a renal product advertising campaign, and mapping out associated content for an interactive visual aid to differentiate this drug over the competition. So it’s time to integrate some emotional messages into the campaign!

Before getting into MedComms, I started my career as a staff healthcare copywriter in a Florida hospital working with doctors, nurses and patients to promote the hospital’s clinical services. As such, I was taught that the best advertising and PR campaign messages appeal to a person’s emotions. And I think that’s still true, especially in MedComms. Sometimes, we forget that healthcare professionals are people too, and they will respond to moving messages rather than just clinical logic when making treatment decisions.

Today, I’m also ghost-writing a proposal to present the benefits of my client’s European pharmaceutical wholesaler services to a global pharmaceutical company. I’m also discussing a potential new project with a freelance medical editor whose client is looking for a PR healthcare writer. Plus, I’m getting a breath of fresh air in the local Pinner park to enjoy that lovely sunshine. Freelancing can sometimes be isolating, which is why I try to get out of the house every day to just connect with people. After 20 years, I still love working in MedComms – and this has increased over the past 10 years since I began freelancing and founded MediQuill Ltd. There is always so much diversity in this industry, as shown by the postings from around the world on #MedComms Day. I look forward to reading more of them.

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End of the day reflections in New Zealand

June 7, 2017

Mark English, Freelance Medical Communications Specialist at Bellbird Medical Communications ends his #MedComms day looking out on another great view in New Zealand.

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It was an early start for me today at Bellbird Medical Communications, as I had client comments on an acute myeloid leukaemia e-learning script for my regular UK client that needed to be turned around fairly quickly. I say ‘client’ but our relationship is much more than that. After working with this client for more than three years, I feel as if I am an integral part of the team. The job was fairly straight forward and given this is an e-learning script it allowed me to be creative and suggest a few funky interactive elements. Being a trained scientist used to rigid protocols, boring graphs and tables, I love it when I have the opportunity to add creative flair to a project. Other members of the Bellbird team have been involved in rapid turnaround projects for ASCO. Now that work is over, the brief reprieve has provided the opportunity for them to catch up on some administrative tasks.

I guess like a lot of people, #MedComms Day provides the opportunity to reflect on where you have come from and where you are going. I started out as a rookie medical writer in 2001 in the North West of England and now I find myself 16 years later in Wanaka in the South Island of New Zealand! I also have a small and growing company with my wife and business partner, and the opportunity to work with some very experienced medical writers who share our enthusiasm for oncology. There have been lots of challenges along the way – with Brexit and the slump in the pound being a particularly memorable part of this year – but I truly love my job. If you are reading this and are thinking about moving into #MedComms, just do it! You will love it, and you never know where it may take you… perhaps, even, to the ends of the world?

Here is my token New Zealand glamour shot taken an hour ago as I sat by Lake Hawea reflecting on my day. If you are ever passing by, please do get in touch (mark.english@bellbirdmedical.com). I am always keen to have a natter and a flat white…

Good morning from Sydney!

June 7, 2017

This just in from Ruth Hadfield, Freelance medical writer & research consultant and membership secretary of the Australasian Medical Writers Association, with an invite to Sydney in August.

It’s a wet and windy start today and I feel like I have done a day’s work already.  Getting teenagers out of bed and off to school is no mean feat especially when water polo training starts at 6am.

I am now settling down to attack my long to do list in my home office.  I have to admit on a wet winter’s day it feels like a real treat to be able to work from home.  First up today is getting the mailing list ready for the Australasian Medical Writers Association conference brochure to be sent out (in my volunteer capacity as membership secretary). 

#MedComms Day is a great opportunity to invite you all to Sydney for the AMWA 2017 conference which will be held on August 24-26.  The theme is ‘Communicating for Change’ and the range of workshops and speakers is fabulous, not to mention the irresistible Manly Beach venue. 

Also my to do list is preparing a quote for a local research centre who want help with their annual research report and writing the first draft of a new haematology guideline following a meeting with the authors on Monday.  The last thing on my to do list is the word TAX in capitals – the end of the tax year is 30 June here in Australia and I need to get my spreadsheets in order for the accountant – perhaps I’ll put that one off until tomorrow…

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Manly Beach – AMWA 2017 Conference Venue

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Greetings from a very vivid Sydney – the annual vivid festival is on at the moment

Freelancing in New Zealand

June 6, 2017

Lyndal Staples, Freelance Medical Writer, is settling down to her #MedComms working day in the home office.

It’s a good morning from me in Napier, New Zealand. I’ve just got home from the (highly stressful) school/day care run. Nothing like a 3-year-old on a scooter to test your mettle first thing in the morning!

I’ve got my coffee and am about to attack my to-do list. As a freelance medical writer, I’ve been fortunate to have back-to-back long-term contracts for the best part of this year. Things have been busy and the work has been varied: manuscripts, abstracts, slide decks, clinical trial summaries, desk research, literature reviews, etc., etc. So, no complaints from me.

I’m still ticking along in my home office (slash laundry). Although I’ve given quite a bit of thought to hiring shared office space, I’d probably only do that if I went full time. I’d love the company of other people during the day but it’s hard to justify the expense when working from home costs more or less nothing. Plus, I’ll get my fix later this year when I attend the annual Australasian Medical Writers Association conference in Sydney, Australia.  I attended my first conference last year and it was great to meet other people who do what I do (and who get what I do). Oh, and a trip to ‘Straya’ just seemed too hard to turn down!

I’ve posted enough photos of my office over the years so this time I thought I’d showcase the beautiful city that I live in.  Famous for its rugged coastline, Art Deco architecture and Pania of the Reef. Oh, and wine.  I shouldn’t forget the wine…

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else in #MedComms is up to as people log on for the day. It’s great to have initiatives like this one to remind me that I’m part of a global community, despite living at the bottom of the world!

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A little rain in Trinidad tonight

June 9, 2016

Oh well, no great sunsets tonight but Sarah Smith, Freelance writer, is drinking her sundowners anyway and wishes everyone in MedComms a good night!

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My long MedComms Day

June 8, 2016

Jane TrickerJane Tricker is a Freelance writer based in Kent and is working late tonight.

I started early today – my youngest daughter is just back from medical school for the summer and I wanted to spend some time with her during the day.

I’ve been revising the first draft of a manuscript that will form part of a supplement. In additional to their textual changes, the authors had sent a list of additional references that they want to include in the paper. So, having sourced copies of all of the references either from PubMed or the agency’s reference library, I’ve spent most of the day incorporating this new information into the manuscript. In between times, I’ve provided some advice on addressing reviewer’s comments on another (unrelated) manuscript and signed a contract to work with a new client. I’ll do a little bit more work on the revisions this evening and hopefully just have the reference list to rebuild tomorrow.

It’s been a long day – but a productive one.

Let’s pretend… a reality check from Trinidad!

June 8, 2016

Freelance medical writer Sarah Smith wrote in earlier at the start of her working day in Trinidad. She has felt moved to dispel my fantasies about living the dream! Sarah writes as follows…

Let’s pretend that my life as a freelance writer living on a yacht and sailing around the world is half as glamorous as you all think that it is and that Peter makes out! The reality is a little different. The boat is on the hard in a boatyard while we do a major refit and I have to climb a ladder every time that I pop to the loo. Inside the boat, I am pretending that I have a real desk, as I am waiting for a new chart table/desk to be fitted. I am feeling inspired in the desk department by the lovely spacious agency offices and cozy home offices in the photos posted from around the MedComms world!

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Good morning from Trinidad!

June 8, 2016

Freelance writer Sarah Smith might be said by some to be living the dream… sailing around the world, working as she goes. Isn’t technology great! Have a great MedComms day, Sarah. Let us know how it goes… We’ll hopefully hear from you when it’s time for your sundowners!

It’s a bright, sunny morning here and already hot. I’ve done an hour of yoga as a start to my day; this was the view from my yoga mat. We are a couple of weeks into the rainy season and the rainforest behind my boat/office is bursting into life — my cat/cows and down dogs were hindered by a number of mozzies and flying ants! I have a heavy edit/rewrite lined up for today; I love the process of pulling together the often disconnected fragments of a rough manuscript into a complete and polished piece!

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Yay – another new client!

June 8, 2016

It’s a successful day for Corinne Swainger, Freelance medical writer.

I’m celebrating a day in the life of MedComms after a successful meeting with a new client in SW London regarding copywriting and consulting for an unbranded EU campaign. I’m now at Waterloo Underground station, heading home to Harrow, Middlesex in time to attend a parents’ meeting at my son’s school. This should be interesting: finding out the best ways to help him study for his new GCSEs. Who said meetings were boring?

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An intentionally slow day…

June 8, 2016

carpenter1Freelance writer, Kate Carpenter writes in.

… an intentionally slow work day for me today. After taking the kids to school, catching up with friends, feeding the chickens, collecting eggs, checking in on the greenhouse, and meeting with the builder, I have finally made it out to my office in the garden and started my work day. The big question now, is whether to watch the blue-tit on the bird feeder or the bees on the alliums, while musing over my draft of a tricky email to a KOL. Next, is it more important to get this paper submitted before lunch, or get the corn planted out before the next thunderstorm? And do I sometimes toy with trading the good life of freelancing for something more exciting and stressful? Yes, but there is plenty of time for that when the kids are older and don’t like me any more …

A little assistance goes a long way…

June 8, 2016

Companions can help in all sorts of ways when you’re a Freelance writer like Mary Greeenacre, based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

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Hello from sunny Sydney

June 8, 2016

Ruth Hadfield is a freelance medical writer working in Australia (and you are the first Australian medical writer to post Ruth!)

I started the day with good intentions of being the first Australian medical writer to post, but it’s now after 2pm now and I’m left wondering where the day has gone.

I have enjoyed reading the earlier posts from New Zealand. I am also a freelancer who works from home, so can relate to the posts by both Lyndal and Geri.  Most days I absolutely love the lifestyle, but occasionally I do have a day where I wish I had colleagues to chat with.  My methods of coping include getting out to group exercise and hiking classes where there is always somebody to chat to, and talking to my cat!  Oh, and did I mention copious cups of coffee and tea. I have two teenagers and sometimes think I need the entire day to gather the strength to cope with the onslaught when they both walk through the front door!

Projects I am working on right now include a systematic review on venous thromboembolism, cardiology e-news articles for a specialist audience and I have the first meeting for a new project reviewing the literature on asthma/copd tomorrow.  Medical writing is always interesting and stimulating as the topics you work on are so varied. There is always something new to learn.

To get out of the office today I had a quick 8km hike around Middle Harbour – a beautiful spot near where I live.  We had a huge storm in Sydney over the weekend so it is lovely to see the sun shining again.

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Here’s a quote: “I truly love this lifestyle”

June 7, 2016

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Geri Hosking, Freelance writer, loving what she does.

It’s 9:15am, and I’m sitting at my home office in Auckland, New Zealand, waiting for a huge oncology spreadsheet to download. While I wait, I thought I’d jump on the MedComms Day bandwagon!

I love being a freelance medical writer. I have freelanced part time for 4 1/2 years; full time for 2 years. Already this morning I have baked fresh bread, made sumptuous lunchboxes (after negotiating a peaceful compromise between the healthy and unhealthy), dropped the kids to school, run some errands, sorted out tonight’s dinner, and done some housework. I sat down to my computer half an hour later than planned, so had to miss my run along Long Bay this morning. But this is the beauty of freelancing as a mother – it fits perfectly around the thing that is the very essence of my existence – my family – and allows me to balance mindless routine with intelligent thinking and creativity.

I love the structure of a deadline, the creativity of elegant wordsmithing, the variety of working in a familiar therapeutic area (particularly oncology) one day, and grappling with a new topic the next. I thrive on the satisfaction of a project finished well, and the personal communication with my lovely clients, both here in New Zealand and overseas.

My work is really varied and interesting. I have several different types of clients, so my workload is a nice balance between academic writing for publications, writing conference symposia materials/post-meeting summaries and the like, and putting together various types of marketing materials – which fits in beautifully with my background as a drug rep in a past life. For my overseas clients, the time zone differences work well – I work while they sleep sweetly and wake to find the job done.

Yes, it can be isolating, and I often go all day without speaking to anyone; although, I am not strongly extroverted so the lifestyle sits well with me. I break it up with teleconferences and the odd hot chocolate with a colleague – and I’ll sometimes accompany my husband on business trips and work from wherever we happen to be.

And yes, sometimes (or often) there is an unavoidable clash of deadlines from different clients, all of which simply must be met; sleep can become rather low on the priority list for a little while. But there is always a way to manage it.

Back to my spreadsheet and other work, then watching after-school sports, feeding, homework and bedtime, and then I’ll be back at my work late into the evening. I truly love this lifestyle.

 

Hoping for sunshine and internet connectivity

June 7, 2016

Catherine Rees, Freelance writer expressing the concern we’re all preoccupied with these days – will our internet connection work?

It’s not too cold here in Auckland today, but it looks like it’s going to rain (as it does almost every day in winter in this city). I’m a freelancer, and most of my clients are overseas (mainly Australia, Singapore, USA or UK), but I’m currently working on some advisory board minutes for a New Zealand pharmaceutical company. It’s nice to hear familiar accents on the audio! Later on, I plan to finalise the draft of a paper that some colleagues and I wrote on trends in Southeast Asian publications – we presented the poster at ISMPP 2015, and have recently updated the data and done some more analyses. All the while I’m hoping not to lose our internet connection because new cables are being installed in our street (see picture), and it screwed with the phone line last week. Once work is done, our family is going out for dinner to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, so a night off cooking as well. There is much to enjoy on this MedComms Day.

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Those boots are made for…

June 7, 2016

Lyndal Staples, another freelance medical writer in New Zealand, has also started her day.

It’s a hello from me from sunny Napier, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. I’ve just dropped the kids off at day care and am about to kick off my day with some work on airway management.

I’ve been a freelance medical writer for four years now.  I can’t fault it for flexibility, but it’s a lonely existence and I definitely miss having people to talk to through the day. Lately I’ve started thinking about ditching the home office (slash laundry) and hiring out office space in town. I have a (non-MedComms) friend who does it and she raves about the nice surroundings, the flash coffee machine, the proximity to cafes and restaurants, and the other people to chat to. It doesn’t come cheap though, and I just can’t decide if the expense is worth it. I’m curious to know if other freelancers have gone down this route, and how they’ve found it.

Anyway, I’ve captured a few shots of the things that will get me through my day… My computer (obvs!), some sunshine, a cup of coffee, the log burner and my winter boots. I like to think of these boots as my corporate wardrobe…  (My husband continues to be horrified that I bought an Australian product made of Australian wool!)

Hello to all the other MedComms people out there, wherever you are. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is doing around the globe as the day progresses.

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Staying roasty toasty

June 7, 2016

As the working day starts in chilly New Zealand, here’s our first contribution from Mark English, Freelance Writer.

My day started with a few loud stabs of the keyboard as I posted my first tweet about #Medcomms Day 2016. With the important stuff out of the way, I made myself a coffee and lit the log burner as it is the middle of winter here in Wanaka, Central Otago, and it is a little nippy in the home office. However the ski season starts on Saturday (every cloud…).

As a freelancer, I am currently working on some long-term e-learning projects for a portfolio of haematological oncology therapies. I love this work as it combines high science with creativity and strategic thinking. I had a catch up call with my client in the UK via Skype last night (UK Tuesday morning/ NZ Tuesday evening) in which I gave them a progress update. We also discussed some recent data from the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, which has just finished. We decided that I would review the data this morning, and if relevant and not too preliminary, I would include it to the module I am working on.

Today I will be finishing off the current module I am working on. I will also start packing for my trip to the UK next week in which I will be catching up with family and clients. I don’t expect any surprises today, but you never know…

I would love to share a screenshot showing the funky mechanism of action script I am working on, but given it is confidential information, I thought I would share a picture of my log burner which is keeping me roasty toasty right now!

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