To find out if medical writing is stressful, you need to think about your experience of stress in the past. How have you felt when you approach a new topic to write about? Does interacting with the person you are writing for fill you with a particular emotion?
To make medical writing less stressful, you also need to think about the cause of stress.
You could say that stress is relative, so your idea of stress might differ from another person’s idea of stress. And the reason why medical writing becomes stressful could be because:
- You feel you don’t know enough to do the job
- You feel you won’t do a good job
- You’re worried about previous feedback
- You don’t have enough time
- You’re worried about other things going on in your life
So, the easiest way to combat stress while being a medical writer is to address and prevent stress. Here are some suggestions to take the stress out of medical writing:
- Find out as much as you can about the job before you start. This includes gathering resources from your client and asking questions to help clarify any parts of the medical writing task.
- Lower your expectations on how much you currently know about the topic you will write about. New information is always being discovered, which should make research exciting!
- Always account for research time before you start your medical writing task. Limit your search to a few quality resources rather than trying to get as many as you can. This helps you focus and get started sooner rather than waste precious time.
- Have a plan before you start writing, and overestimate how much time you need to complete a certain part of the medical writing task.
- Avoid taking too many breaks or getting distracted when you’re doing your medical writing. This will help you get it done on time. If you feel you underestimated how much time you needed, be honest and talk to your client and give them a new estimate.
- Have dedicated work hours where you only think about work. If something is troubling you, write it down on a physical piece of paper, fold it up and put it to one side. Think about whether you need professional support, such as therapy. If you feel you cannot work, tell your client as soon as possible, and take the time you need to recover mentally and physically.
- Feedback is part of medical writing, and it can make medical writing stressful – but you should always encourage feedback to help you improve. All clients are unique in their needs, wants and opinions. Understand that your client may have other groups of people influencing the decisions and conversations they have with you. Try to be on their side, and make suggestions rather than demands. Give reasons to justify why you have done something in a certain way to help them understand your medical writing process.
Remember, you’re already good enough to do the job because the client has chosen you to do it!
As a final note, some days medical writing can be stressful, but once you work out a system and warm up to your clients, it doesn’t have to be.