My Nurse Writer Journey
For many nurses, freelance writing sounds too good to be true. Is it really possible to make a living sitting at a coffee shop? It is! Here's how...
On June 11, 2012, my entire life changed. Up until that point, I had been pushing hard and working constantly. I was working full time as a nurse and quickly burning out. I was also pursuing my master's degree in public health on the weekends and evenings. Life was moving fast, and I refused to slow down long enough to ask myself if I even wanted all of these things.
Then on June 11th, we welcomed a sweet baby girl into our family. I became a mother, and suddenly my entire world opened up. I began to explore the possibility of slowing down. What if I didn't have to go to a job I don't love every day? What if I had more time at home? What if I could create a new career from home?
Once that thought crossed my mind, there was no turning back. During my maternity leave, I started obsessively googling things like, "work at home jobs for nurses" and "nurse businesses." I found some work-at-home options like telephone triage nursing jobs, but I knew that type of job would not give me the freedom I craved. I wanted to plan my days around my family, not another employer. It seemed the only option was to work for myself.
During one of my daily google searches, I came upon the term, medical writing. Something inside of me clicked, and I knew this was it. I began reading everything I could find about how to break into medical writing. I read articles, listened to podcasts, and watched Youtube videos. I checked out books from the library, and started connecting with nurse writers on LinkedIn. There were not a lot of resources available yet, but I soaked up everything I could find. Here are the exact steps I took to launch a successful nurse writing business.
I conducted informational interviews
After researching everything I could find on nurse writing, I was ready to take the next step, but I wasn't sure what that was. With a new baby and a full-time job, my time was limited, so I didn't want to waste any of it. I wanted to become a freelance writer, but how could I call myself a nurse writer when I had only just learned this job existed?
That is when I decided to get out of my comfort zone and get on my phone. I began calling nurse writers I had found through LinkedIn and their websites. I was surprised how receptive many of them were with talking with me and sharing advice. It began to sink in that no one knows what they are doing in the beginning, but it's the ones who decide to try who become successful.
I committed to my goal
Once I discovered health and medical writing, I had to be courageous enough to say that I wanted this. It is really easy to look at a big goal and talk yourself out of it. To commit to my goal, I first began talking about it. I told my family and friends that I was pursuing a freelance writing career, and most importantly, that it would eventually support me. I didn't quite believe that part when I said it, but I had to own the goal if it was ever going to happen.
Once my goal felt real, I began taking action. I set a weekly schedule for myself and committed to doing a little bit each day.
I started before I was ready
This is truly the best piece of business advice I have ever received. You will never feel ready to make a big leap or go after a big goal. Your brain wants to keep you safe and will start thinking of all the reasons why it won't work. Start anyway.
Start with little actions, and completing those will give you the courage to do a little more. Accept the fact that it will be uncomfortable at first, and that is a good thing! It means you're growing. Don't wait. Start before you're ready.
I was persistent
Freelance writing is a numbers game. I had heard that before, but it didn't sink in until I began pitching myself to companies and editors. I received countless no's and rejections in the beginning and still do. However, the more I put myself out there and pitch my services, the more yeses come my way.
Keep your goals fresh in your mind, and keep going no matter what. You only fail when you quit.
By following these steps, over and over, I have built a successful freelance writing career. I now stay home with that sweet baby girl and her younger brother who came along a few years later. I write during school and nap times and have managed to build my salary higher than it was when I was working full-time as a nurse. The journey took time, but it is so worth it.Last edit by Joe V on Jun 15, '18
Carrie Madormo is a health writer, nurse, and wellness coach to working mothers. Her writing has been featured in Working Mother Magazine, The List, and Livestrong.
Joined: Mar '17; Posts: 7; Likes: 24
Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience