Friday, April 24, 2009

Freelance Medical Writing

What's freelance medical writing like? Imagine a life where you're working at home. You can wake up whenever you'd like. You can work whenever you'd like (assuming that you don't have too much in school loans or bills to pay). The best part is that you can actually wear your PJs while you're working (for some people, this may actually be a depressing thing). Sound enticing? What, you want to hear more?

The life of a freelance medical writer is not as picture-perfect as it may seem. Working from home isn't always easy, especially if you have a family. For some people, it's the perfect setting. If you have school-aged children, then you can work in an empty house while your kids are at school.

Before you consider a career transition from clinical medicine into medical writing, seriously think about a few critical things:
  1. What type of income do you need to make? Are you depending on your income for bills and other necessary expenses? Freelance workloads can be like a roller coaster ride (up and down, up and down).
  2. Are you disciplined enough to work completely independently? It's critical to always meet your deadlines.
  3. Are you a good writer? (you may laugh, but you'd be surprised to know that some very poor writers pursue a career in medical writing)
  4. Do you enjoy writing? If you think this would be a great hobby, think again (unless you don't need the income and you have the luxury to do this as a hobby).
  5. Finally, how are your computer skills? Modern medical writers need to be proficient with the computer. Gone are the days of typing on a simple word processor. Medical writers are expected to be quite proficient with Microsoft Powerpoint, Word, Excel, etc. Technology is playing a bigger part in the healthcare industry, so it remains critical to get familiar with things like mobile devices, laptops, and even smartphones.
So what do you think? Do you want to learn more about the intriguing career of a medical writer?


  1. I'm a medical writer... I work at a biotech institute full time at the moment, but I take on freelance jobs on the side. I hope eventually to transition to ALL freelance at some point in the future. Really, it is a great job - but it can be a lot of work, and you have to know your science as well as how to write. I have a Ph.D. and spent 10 years at the lab bench before transitioning to writing, and this background helps enormously. I've caught a number of scientific errors in manuscripts and grant applications - the job is not solely editing people's grammar (although there is a lot of that too sometimes).

  2. I'm very interested in medical writing. I just don't know where to begin. It seems very difficult because everyone wants someone who's experienced. Where do I begin?

  3. it is really exciting activity that gives you both happiness and money

  4. I know some excellent freelance medical writers who have thriving careers and they really enjoy what they do. They love to write, they like their flexibility, and they are constantly challenged.