I do not consider myself too much of a writer. I try to write well and make actual effort to improve my style. In fact, I work pretty hard at trying to write complex things in a “easy to understand” manner. I have been meeting some very interesting people, in my attempts to learn more about writing. Most of the people I discuss this stuff with are either “travel writers” or “medical writers”.
These are an interesting group, indeed. As a traveler myself, we naturally connect. I am always impressed with their ability to describe a location or an activity with such detail and excitement. Truly, reading a good travel writer keeps me excited about adventure and the hope that there is something exciting out there, past my own front door. The nature of the posts I read from travel writers is that they need to get “the idea” communicated in a few paragraphs. Brevity is the soul of wit and very challenging.
I think one of the reasons I enjoy reading accounts from travelers is that they write with such passion. As a reader, I can quickly tell if they really enjoyed what the story is about, or not. Good travel stories make me excited, they make me want to go to that place and the make me jealous! They can also remind me of previous experiences, from my travels. All very powerful things. I read a very cool post over at CollazoProjects.com that looked at travel writer resolutions for 2009. This post discussed exactly what I enjoy, as a reader, in a good travel article. I hope to write my material with passion.
This is a group of “journalists” who cover medical and science related news. Topics ranging from new heart medicine studies to DNA and even medical economics are all possible topics. The idea of translating detailed medical information and making it readable is the goal. Sifting through medical articles and quickly analyzing the take home point are requirements of this job. Often very clinical in nature, fact and evidence are critical. There is no room for supposition, addition of irrelevant material or unproven data.
There has to be a certain “duty” to report evidence and avoid adding personal opinions. I think this is similiar to my idea of what being a good health care provider is. I am not there to make you healthy, I am there to offer my advice and help you make your own decisions. I want to help people carry on the life they want to live, not force my own ideas on them. This is also how I see medical writing. Presentation of information and nothing more. The individual can draw their own conclusions, provided they have been well informed.
Overall, I know I still have a lot of improvement room, in many areas. I want to be a better physician, a better traveler, a more descriptive and exciting writer and a writer that can “strip off the fat and just give the white meat”. I was recently asked if I was a “doctor-doctor”. I remember that my first day in the fire fighting academy, the Captain introduced himself as a “student of fire science”. He then went on to describe that he always studies his profession and is always learning more. I loved that! I technically am a “doctor-doctor” but have always liked “student” much more. I consider myself a student of many things, including writing.