One of the email lists I've been subscribed to for a long time is the Hitt List, a listing of open positions for medical writers across the country. It's been interesting to see the types of roles that qualify as medical writers, everything from writing CMEs to filing regulatory documents. It's intimidating, because some of this I clearly something have no business doing, but there is a lot out there that I could do with a little guidance. I've had the pleasure of speaking with some medical writers, and frankly the position appeals a lot. You write documents, based on other peoples work. Sometimes this is copy editing, sometimes this is pulling together bits of other documents into forms, sometimes this is working from raw figures. The deadlines are often short (days to months) (which I've decided I like much better than very long deadlines, where you can be haunted by your early, naive choices), and the specific work environment can be incredibly flexible. People do this anywhere from freelance to part time to full time. And did I mention that it is well paid?
Great, there is some magical job out there that I am still not qualified to get. I've joined AMWA and try to keep an eye on the listservs, but that hasn't yet helped me figure out how to "be a medical writer." However, Emma Hitt (of the Hitt list) offers a 6 week course to get people (PhDs and MDs) up to speed on starting this freelance career. I'm working on my application right now. The part that is hard is trying to explain why I want to go into medical writing. Clearly, it is a good career path that would take advantage of my education. It would challenge me to keep up with trends in my field, and I really enjoy writing so this seems like a good fit. I applied for the course, and was accepted. Interestingly, this is about to conflict with some other opportunities, so now I need to start making some of those choices about what I want to do with my life. More on that later.