Memo from the Editor: Share!

September 5, 2003

Enter our Doctors' Writing Contest 2003

 

Memo From The Editor

Share!

Marianne Dekker Mattera

How often did your mother say that to you when you were a child? How often have you said it to your own kids? Well now, I'm saying it to you. Not as a command, but as a plea. I'm asking you to share your experiences with your colleagues.

To be sure, you do that every day in phone consultations, hallway conferences, and over a cup of coffee. In fact, much of the progress in medicine comes through sharing—ideas, knowledge, results of clinical studies. Progress in the business side of medicine comes through sharing, too.

Maybe you've figured out a way to work smarter. Or managed to get through a thorny personnel problem so that everyone was happy. Or came up with a practically foolproof way to boost patient compliance. Or made it through a malpractice ordeal that taught you some hard lessons. Or learned a particularly telling lesson from a special patient.

Your life lessons and practice triumphs can be instructive to your colleagues.

And we have the perfect way for you to share them: Enter our Doctors' Writing Contest 2003. There's still plenty of time to get your submission in before the Oct. 31 deadline.

All the rules, a list of the prizes (up to $6,000 for a vacation anywhere in the world as the Grand Prize), and a few more examples of the sort of topics you might consider are spelled out on our Web site.

Cowed by the idea of setting words on paper? Don't be. You've written hundreds of papers, starting in about the sixth grade! But instead of going to the library to do research for the paper, you'll be looking at your own life, your own practice.

Once you've decided on a topic, all you need to do is tell your story. Don't worry about a catchy opening or whether the article flows perfectly. Sprucing up the writing is our job. Just pretend you're telling your experiences to a friend or a close colleague. Write the way you talk. Not only will that help the story flow, but you'll be more comfortable and the story will sound more believable, be more entertaining.

And that's what we're looking for—believability, information your colleagues can relate to that will help them do their jobs better or live their lives better.

How long should your article be? When do you stop writing? There are two easy criteria: When the story is finished, and when you're tired of writing. I've always figured that if I'm tired of writing a piece, readers will be tired of it, too.

Above all, don't think you've got to write the perfect article. Sure, we'll pay you for it if we publish it. Sure, you might win one of the prizes. But remember, it's the ideas you have—the experiences you have—that we at the magazine can't possibly duplicate. We can shape your story into an "article." But only you can write it.

 

Marianne Mattera. Memo from the Editor: Share! Medical Economics Sep. 5, 2003;80:9.

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