Do you find it increasingly difficult to write about medicine? Even if medical writing is what you do for a living?
Or perhaps when writing about a disease or health topic that’s unfamiliar you lose confidence in your abilities?
Hey, you’re not alone.
Medical and scientific writing in the academic sense is not like other more general forms of writing.
In a nutshell, it requires specific knowledge of how to communicate complex issues to the intended audience. Coherently, and concisely at that.
Yet a lot of us get it wrong. No matter how experienced we are.
Many academic papers and journal articles are hard to read. According to the authors of an essay published in American Scientist, people often assume that the difficulties in reading academic literature are born out of necessity. Out of the extreme complexity of scientific concepts, data and analysis.
However, the authors argue, improving the quality of your writing improves the quality of thought.
Which in turn results in reader clarity.
15 tips for improving the way you write about medicine
Here are 15 tips that consistently help me to lift my writing out of the ordinary.
They are a collection of things I have found traversing the web over the years, as well as a few of my own gems.
They help me to enhance how I write about medicine – hopefully they’ll help you, too.
1. Study the art of writing
Learn about grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure.
Identify where your weaknesses lie.
3. Compare your health writing to other people’s writing
Spot the similarities and differences.
4. Get to know your voice
Tune it, and work on making it unique.
5. Find the experts in your field
Follow their work, looking for clues as to what makes them successful.
6. Believe in your ability
Be a strong, confident writer.
7. Ask your colleagues and friends for feedback
Don’t be shy or precious.
8. Consider how you can be original
Try not to follow the herd and rehash what’s already been said.
9. Always write with the intended audience in mind
Know who your audience is and what they want.
10. Get your facts right
Strong, convincing medical writing means producing work that is factually correct.
11. Remain focused
Know where you’re going and sketch out a plan if you need to.
12. Know your overall position before you start writing
Try not to make up your perspective during the writing process.
13. Don’t over-complicate
Long sentences and complex terminology do not go hand in hand.
14. Represent research adequately
And show an understanding of the body of evidence and clinical trial data.
15. Write the end first and the beginning last
Just like you might do with an academic essay.
How to write about medicine – a final thought
Sometimes it’s hard to stop and analyse the quality of your writing when you’re under pressure to churn out content for clients and employers.
But it’s important to take care with every sentence – every word, if you can – if you want to produce great medical content.
Do you have any other tips for improving way you write about medicine?