× Women Physicians

Successful transition to full-time freelance writing

14 years 10 months ago #19802 by Victoria
Hello, I have posted before on the topic of switching to nonclinical, family-friendly positions so I thought that I would update everyone. I trained as a psychiatrist and did very well (intern of the year) so I faced a lot of opposition to leaving medicine. I have 2 small children, ages 4 and 1 and I am teaching my 4-year old at home.

For me, I realized that I could be happier by achieving my life-long dream of becoming a writer because it is family friendly and what I enjoy more than anything. I had always thought that I would do medicine (which I also enjoyed for a time) and then later in life pursue the writing.

The book "Purpose Driven Life", a Christian-based book on finding your purpose, helped me tremendously and now (1-year later) I am a full-time freelance writer.

I have a writing job with a healthcare company, I write for health-related websites and for parenting websites, my first article was accepted by a national parenting publication and I have just submitted my first book proposal for a parenting book. I also have a corporate consulting gig next week that a friend arranged for me.

I have several friends that have needed help with the transition from mom to mom MD and I have found it very gratifying to give them hope that by following your heart or that little voice inside of you you can achieve your dreams. Now I am going to start coaching more moms about how to do this.

The road has not been easy. Other posts have addressed the financial issues, identity issues and problems with unsupportive family and friends along with guilt and disappointment. I certaily faced (and continue to face) many of these issues. If you are willing to face these things, ask for help as needed and have faith, all things can work together for good.

I do not regret my training- it has been invaluable in making me the person that I have become. It also makes getting other jobs a little easier.

I am still early in my transition so I ask those who are so inclined to pray for me as I continue on this exciting, exhilirating and liberating journey.

A friend of mine who is transitoning out of clinical work into consulting spent years reminding me that my medical degree is not a prison and should not limit my choices. In fact, it should free us to consider all of our possibilities in life including those beyond medicine. I am enjoying my freedom!

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14 years 10 months ago #19803 by zekieban
You are so inspiring! How were you able to find the freelance work? I am also interested in finding freelance work, but am unsure where to start.

Thanks for your help!

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14 years 10 months ago #19804 by maggie52
Way to go Victoria- you made my day!
And I am sitting here feeling awful that I quit my job to adopt and stay home( doing weekend shifts only)....KUDOS to you! :)

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14 years 10 months ago #19805 by Victoria
There are many websites, books and magazines for aspiring freelance writers. It may help to have some idea of your goals (do you just want to write articles for magazines or do you want to author a book one day, do you want an actual writing job or do you prefer to work more piecemeal? Also, do you have an idea of a specialty such as medical writing, religious writing or newspaper reporting?)

These issues are important to sort out because you can find specific resources (organizations, publications and online classes) on whatever aspect of writing in which you want to specialize. A google search may be a good guide if you already know your specialization.

I found most of my initial informative writing articles, jobs,forums and e-books on [url=http://www.writersweekly.com.]www.writersweekly.com.[/url] Definitely sign up for their free newsletter. It is one of the best around. Then, you may want to check out getting a subscription to some writer's magazines such as The Writer. If you already know what you want to write or have written already, buy the latest Writer's Market and it will tell you where and how you can submit your work.

Being an MD may help for some writing (medical and parenting for example) but it can also hurt you if you are not clear with potential buyers of your services that you do not expect a "doctor's salary" just for writing articles for them. Unfortunately, doctors are seen as being money-hungry and trying to extract exorbitant fees because of their doctor status. (of course, we know we may seem greedy but it is only because of the enormous debt that we have acquired!). As a new writer you may have to start at the bottom of the totem pole but having said that I was able to land very well-paying jobs writing CME and writing for some larger healthcare sites.

With a little bit of hustling and some clear direction, freelance writing is great for moms who want to be home but still get a lot of intellectual stimulation. It can be lucrative (think Michal Crichton, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Spencer Johnson and others) if you have big visions. writing articles can give you credibility that may entice a publisher to consider your book.

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14 years 9 months ago #19806 by rumbaugh
I am a pediatrician and aspiring freelance writer. I want desperately to break into this more family-friendly field. I have been working on articles and have only submitted a few, with no success so far. Question for Victoria: I am finding that when doing my homework and reading through many of the parenting/child health publications to get a flavor for their submissions, that most of their medical articles or columns are written by very high-profile pediatricians (i.e. director of large pediatric medical center, etc.). I am board-certified, and work in private practice, but have no "impressive" credentials beyond that to go with my writing. Did you find that most publications only wanted submissions from medical providers who were true "experts" in their field? Also, do you do any other type of freelance writing beyond medical-oriented writing? I am hungry for tips/advice!! Thanks!

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14 years 9 months ago #19807 by CN
Hi Victoria-
Congratulations! Good for you!
I, too, left medicine, worked in medical informatics for a while, had a child and wrote and illustrated a children's book. A publisher was interested in the book, but then had second thoughts about being able to recover the expenses, since the book is a niche market. I'll keep sending it out.
Thanks for your post - it is inspiring!

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