My long MedComms Day

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!

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!


Good morning from Trinidad!

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!



Yay – another new client!

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?


An intentionally slow day…

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 …

Hello from sunny Sydney

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.


Hoping for sunshine and internet connectivity

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.


Those boots are made for…

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.


Staying roasty toasty

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!


Interim work

This in from Freelance Medical Writer, Jane Tricker.

I have always combined freelancing with occasional interim work, and I am currently working under contract with an academic research institute based in London, UK. Although I’ve been working from home today, I am usually based in the office – I have to say that the commuting has been a bit of shock to the system!

Most of the interim work that I have done has been to cover maternity leave. In this case, however, the need for an additional writer was driven by a huge upturn in the volume of publications required to disseminate data accumulated from a huge global registry that the institute is running.

Today, my two colleagues and I have been revising slide decks for the ISTH meeting at the end of June, liaising with our colleagues in the stats department to draw down the data that steering committee members need for the manuscripts that they are authoring, drafting and revising manuscript outlines based on the plethora of meetings and TCs that we had last week, and reviewing PR materials that will be used to promote the institute’s presence at ESC in August.

It’s been interesting to work in an academic environment and to be working amongst a completely different set of workmates (in addition to the statisticians and SAS programmers working in my office, there are clinical trial associates and data managers working in the office next door). I’m learning a lot – and for me that’s the beauty and the benefit of interim work.

Photo: Items a freelancer wouldn’t normally carry


Taking MedComms with you – wherever you go

Freelance Medical Writer, Sarah Smith, writes in from her floating office which is (currently) in Trinidad. Live the dream for us, Sarah!

The sun has been up about an hour and my working day has just started.

Last year I checked in to A Day in the Life of MedComms from my mobile office (SY CAPE at anchor on the Caribbean island of Grenada) using a wi-fi booster to connect to the internet. This year I am still on SY CAPE and still in the Caribbean, but on a mooring ball in the busy port of Chaguaramas in Trinidad, logging on to the internet via the mobile data function on my smart phone.

Connection technology has leapt forward in the last year (well it has for me, anyway) – I now get 4G internet access using a pay-as-you-go data plan on the local mobile phone network and can use the mobile hotspot function to broadcast this around the boat office for David and the kids to log on too. This means that I can get internet wherever there is a mobile phone signal (which is many idyllic anchorages not covered by wi-fi signals, unlocked or otherwise) and keep working. Not only that, but I have a dual-SIM phone that takes two SIM cards. I no longer have to carry around two phones – one for my UK number and one for my local number (or, more importantly, remember to keep two phones charged and remember where I put the other one). Unfortunately, I think that this means that my phone is now much smarter than me…

Anyway, today I am working on an outline for a manuscript for submission to a peer-review journal for a regular client based in the Netherlands. The wet season in Trinidad is just around the corner – by lunchtime it will be 32 degrees C here in my sweat-box office. The location might be exotic, hot and steamy, but the job doesn’t change. MedComms can be a portable career if you want it to be!


A good walk refreshes the brain cells

Another medical writer, this time Ruth Hadfield over in Australia, making good use of the flexibility that comes with freelancing. Shame about the weather though.

Good afternoon from Sydney, Australia! It’s a wet, cold and wintery day here. My day started at 6am in order to get my two daughters off to school. They were both out of the house by 7.30am and I sat down to work on a systematic review that has been taking up most of my time for the past month or so. I am at the full text review and data extraction phase of this project and I feel like I am making slow progress.

Wednesdays I go to ‘Trek Training’ with a group of like-minded women. This involves 2 hours of bush walking, carrying a 10kg pack and lots of hills. As a freelancer working at home alone most of the time, this provides me with company and a break from the desk. Sydney has a huge number of beautiful bush trails and it is a wonderful way to explore this amazing city. Today we started out from Balmoral Beach, walking around Middle Head to Chowder Bay. Excuse the quality of the photos – they were taken through a plastic bag – my ‘waterproofing’ method of choice!

Then it’s back to my desk for a few more hours work, but feeling refreshed and re-energised.

I look forward to hearing more #MedComms day stories from around the world. Have a great day everybody.



It is a Dunner stunner on this winter morning

New Zealand is clearly not a healthy place just now for children and dogs! This just in from another New Zealand-based freelance writer, Tricia Newell.

Like Lyndal, my morning is also off to an unusual start. While my two biped children are off to school on a lovely Dunedin morning (yes, winter in the deep south of New Zealand can be fantastic especially for this displaced Canadian), the smallest fur baby is feeling terribly sorry for himself after his “procedure”.

Interspersed with nursing Doug back to his fun self, is a typically diverse day as per the norm since starting freelance medical writing. Working on projects for clients in the US, Australasia, and Europe across several therapy areas has kept it interesting and I definitely never get bored. The best part of working from home continues to be the flexibility. I can still do all the fantastic mum stuff like cheering at soccer, netball, and hockey games (for any Canadians out there, it sadly isn’t of the ice variety, but I’ll still call myself a hockey mom), while continuing my career. While I’ll always miss the social aspect of working in an office, digital communication has stopped any isolation, and being home-based has allowed me to be more productive in both my personal and professional life.


It’s another beautiful sunny Hawke’s Bay day here

Lyndal Staples, freelance writer in New Zealand has started her day’s work. Here’s hoping your daughter feels better soon, Lyndal.

My day as a freelance medical writer has started somewhat different from usual.  My daughter has a nasty cough so she’s going to stay at home with me today; it’s not ideal as I have a project due back with my client tomorrow night, but with two young kids, it’s my #medcomms reality at the moment. A few late nights of work here and there seems a fair trade off for spending a bit more time with my family. Sure, it’s stressful and sometimes lonely being a freelancer, but it’s a perfect fit for me right now. In fact, what’s not to like about flexible hours, no commute, daytime dog walks and the option of working in my pyjamas! (I hasten to add that I am dressed. My daughter, however, is on the couch still in her pyjamas with her cuddly…)


And this is what we all dream about!

Isn’t technology great? Freelance writer, Sarah Smith, writes in from her mobile office.

This a late contribution to A Day in the Life of MedComms from the sunny Caribbean. Today we moved my mobile office (SY CAPE) from Trinidad to Grenada. It took us 16 hours to sail about 85 miles north and we have just dropped anchor. Luckily internet access is getting easier and easier – I was able to send this message and collect all of my email from the boat using a wi-fi booster. Looking forward to going through all of the A Day in the Life of MedComms posts tomorrow, but first it’s sundowners on deck for us!


SY CAPE; Sarah's mobile office