Memo from the Editor: Write now!

September 3, 2001

M.E. EDMEM0903Write now!

 

Memo From The Editor

Write now!

Marianne Dekker Mattera

Have you figured out a way to work smarter?

Did you find yourself confronted with a thorny personnel problem and manage to work it out so that everyone was happy?

Have you come up with a practically foolproof way to boost patient compliance?

Did you discover a new tool that makes your life easier—be it the latest in electronic technology or simply a new way to file all those articles you're going to get around to reading sometime?

Have you learned, the hard way, what to ask a contractor who's pricing a job on your house?

Did you make it through a malpractice ordeal that taught you some hard lessons?

Do you realize that your life lessons and practice triumphs can be instructive to your colleagues?

We have the perfect way for you to share them: Enter our Doctors' Writing Contest 2001. There's still plenty of time to get your submission in before the Nov. 30 deadline.

All the rules, a list of the prizes (up to $9,000 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 in the Medical Economics Doctors' Writing Contest 2001.

Cowed by the idea of setting words on paper? Don't be. Face it, you've written hundreds of papers, starting in about the sixth grade! You've done it before; only this time, instead of going to the library to do research before you write, you're going to 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 lead. Maybe you'll think of one after you've finished telling the story. (Or at the very least, we'll put one on for you; that's our job.) Your opening paragraph just needs to set up the situation you'll be dealing with in the body of the article.

Then pretend you're relating the entire story 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, the readers will be tired of it, too. Hopefully, you won't get tired until the full story's been told. If you do, go back and see what you can cut out so you can fit in the ending.

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.

Some of your colleagues who've written, or been interviewed for, articles in these pages join our masthead this issue as Contributing Editors. I'd like to welcome the four of them: Mary Ann Bauman, MD, a internist in Oklahoma City—and Grand Prize winner in last year's Writing Contest; Greg Hood, MD, an internist in Lexington, KY; Rebecca Kightlinger, DO, an ob/gyn from Erie, PA; and M.P. Ravindra Nathan, MD, a cardiologist in Brooksville, FL.

A doctor who's invited to become a Contributing Editor does much more, though, than write manuscripts for us on a regular basis. We've come to lean on our Contributing Editors as voices for the profession—much as editors of clinical magazines rely on their editorial board members.

They help us shape the content of the magazine we bring you every other week. You can, too. Every article we run adds to who we are, how readers see us. Our writers—every one of them—shape this magazine. Write that article now!

 

Marianne Mattera. Memo from the Editor: Write now!. Medical Economics 2001;17:4.

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