Archive for the ‘Home working’ Category

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!


A Day in the Life of Aspire Scientific

June 8, 2016

The Aspire Scientific team have written in to say they’ve been hard at work from their various locations across the country on a number of exciting medical writing projects.

For Senior Medical Writer Jo Chapman, the day always starts with getting the kids to the school bus on time followed by a dog walk through the fields. Today, there were a few obstacles in her the way and they were not going to move! Once home and settled at her desk, Jo proceeded to provide support for a manuscript submission, compiling a list of all those last minute bits of information that are necessary but different for each journal! She then completed an article for the The Publication Plan, a free online news resource run by Aspire Scientific.


After waking up bright and early thanks to her 20-month old human alarm clock, Medical Writer Alice Wareham made the short commute up the stairs to begin reviewing a manuscript reporting preclinical data for a new drug formulation. In the afternoon, Alice helped finalise the first draft of manuscript assessing a new technology for measuring breathing disturbances in young children with asthma. She finished the day by taking a brisk walk through the beautiful countryside near her home in Shaftesbury, Wiltshire.


Today has been a day for doing lots of small but important jobs for Senior Medical Writer, Philippa Flemming. She started by checking figures that have been redrawn by our graphic designers for a manuscript about the use of a biosimilar in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. That done, she moved on to error read a piece of work that has been completed by one of our talented writers. This afternoon she will be concentrating on finishing off some lay summaries of recently published articles that Aspire have been involved with, as well as helping develop slides for an upcoming pitch. Philippa promises she wasn’t sunbathing when she took this picture from our office roof in beautiful Oxfordshire this lunchtime.


Today, Principal Medical Writer Louise Niven has been focussing on The Publication Plan, Aspire’s central online news resource for medical publication professionals. The day began by accepting requests from readers wishing to keep up to date with news from The Publication Plan through its dedicated LinkedIn group, followed by a quick search for any new and relevant stories that should be summarised for the site. She went on to write a special post to mark a Day in the Life of MedComms. This afternoon she has been reviewing the latest summaries written by her talented colleagues at Aspire… with a little help from a friend!


Working from our office in Oxfordshire, Director Rick Flemming has been reviewing a manuscript reporting preclinical data on a promising new analgesic drug that has recently progressed to late-stage clinical trials. Other jobs included preparing for the arrival of two new Aspire employees next week and discussing the company’s plans for our annual summer meeting. As you can see, it’s been a hot day in Stanford in the Vale!


Loving the lifestyle

June 8, 2016

Debby Moss, a principal medical writer at Caudex is homebased and writes…

After a hectic few weeks preparing posters for congress, #MedComms day has felt a little gentler of pace!
Following the school run, I furnished myself with a cup of coffee and trawled through the various emails that needed responses and re-worked my to-do list; an update for a client on author responses, liaising with editors for studio time for a manuscript, updating references for another publication and using Skype to contact a colleague about a query on a particular account. As a homeworker, email, phone and Skype is really important to maintain contact with my work colleagues and account teams; I do have to perfect my sprint however, when someone tries to contact me when I’m away from my desk making a coffee!
We have had four new trainee writers join us and some of the day was dedicated to updating my sessions for them! I also had writing tests to mark for possible new writer recruits. Finally, I used Skype to join a virtual company meeting run from our New York office before now gathering everything I need to take into the Oxford office in the morning! Loving the Caudex lifestyle!


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!



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.




Working from home…

June 8, 2016

The technology and changing working practices these days means working from home when needed is commonplace. Here’s where Sara Black from Succinct Medical Communications has started her working day!

Hope today’s another roaring success and takes us just a little bit further down that road toward showing people what we actually do (and it’s not all Zinc referencing 😉 ). I’m just starting my day and it’s off to a bit of a wobble already as I discovered there’s no milk in the fridge, but I’m working at home so nobody to blame but me! On the work front, on Friday we have a pitch, which I found out about yesterday. So today I will mostly be hunting through PubMed, Google Scholar and other sources to learn everything I can about this new topic. And then an author has asked me to add some data to his manuscript, so more time on PubMed. Hopefully I’ll have time to get down to my allotment later on to.


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.


“I have taught you well, young grasshopper”

June 8, 2016

Here’s Tricia Newell checking in, a Senior Medical Writer with Complete Healthcare Communications and working in chilly New Zealand, reflecting on the cycle of life and passing on the passion for science.

It is nearing mid-day in chilly Dunedin, New Zealand as I take a bit of time to self-reflect on this year’s MedComms Day. I began my work day fairly early so that I can connect with my colleagues in the United States before their day ends. Today I am working on the first draft of a manuscript, but in a bit of a split shift day, I have an author teleconference late this evening to accommodate time zones in this truly global industry.
This split shift works out well today, because it enables me to stick my nosy in my son’s science fair project, which has me exceptionally excited (obviously a science geek at heart as this is a milestone I have been anxiously waiting for). Rewind to the 80s and I am having some major déjà vu about my father imparting his love of science to me with some pretty wicked science fair projects (invariably related to weather and the environment as he is an environmental scientist). So dad, you’ve taught me well because this (once) young grasshopper is passing the science fair torch on to the next generation. Agar-nutrient Petri dishes, sterile swabs, and all means of negative and positive controls have been discussed as my young grasshopper and I get to bond over the scientific method and writing as he gets to work on his “Germ Warfare” science fair project. I cannot wait!

Below I’m the young scientist at work measuring snow fall (no easy feat in Toronto). I was really styling the fashions of the 80s tween set (and how I loved those highly impractical Cougar boots and dual functionality jacket with zip-off sleeves).


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

June 7, 2016


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.


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.


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!


London calling…

June 10, 2015

The AMICULUM team in Mortlake gives a good insight into the variety of roles and locations involved in Med Comms:

  • Some members of the AMICULUM Digital team appear to be doing their best to resemble a boy band
  • Julia Price is managing an account via conference call
  • Rebecca Helson is writing for Mudskipper at her home in Dorset
  • The finance team is busy budgeting and birthdaying
  • And a little Mudskipper is enjoying the view from our Mortlake office in Boat Race House


A good walk refreshes the brain cells

June 10, 2015

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’s another beautiful sunny Hawke’s Bay day here

June 9, 2015

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!

June 11, 2014

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

Freelance Greetings from the London Burbs

June 11, 2014

A summary of her day, from Corinne Swainger, Medical Writer, Copywriter and Editor

My day began at 7.30 when my 12-year old son stepped out the door to walk to high school and I stepped out for a 30 min walk around the park. As a freelance medical writer and editor, mainly working from home, I don’t miss the Underground commute but I still need the fresh air and exercise first thing in the morning to get me ready for each day’s business challenges.

Three copywriting hats

After checking all emails at my desk, I ‘attend’ a three-way Skype conference with a medical ad agency whose account directors each work from their own homes. We discuss the content flow of two detail aids for a medical device campaign targeted for GPs and pharmacists, plus a patient leaflet. These are 3 of the 9 items I’m producing for them. It’s time to put my different copywriting hats on and figure how what key messages will encapsulate each audience.

Negotiating deadlines

While I’m Skyping, a med-ed agency I work with emails and asks me to incorporate recent client comments on a clinical slide presentation I’ve been writing for an upcoming cardiology conference. They want the the revised draft by Friday morning but I’m already scheduled to complete another editing job tomorrow, so we negotiate the deadline for Friday EOD, which still suits their schedule.

Quiet please

After taking a break for lunch outside, I get down to business and start editing some website copy for a private hospital that offers new specialist services in oncology. To get this done, I need to turn off my emails completely and playing some wordless music over the internet so I can concentrate.

Freelance gossip

Around 3.30pm, another medical writer friend calls me and asks me if I’m interested in a freelance job enquiry she’s received. We have a good chat about maintaining that elusive work-life balance and a moan about late payments. I note down one late-paying client she mentions. Some people assume freelancers work in bubbles but we regularly update each about on-going medcomms freelance challenges.

Beat the iPad

Around 4pm, my son arrives home from school. It’s time for me to take a tea-break and put my deadlines on hold so I can catch up with his day, before he disappears to find the iPad.