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I’ve Been Bad … But I’m Working on it

coffee cup and laptop

So… yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. The good news is that I’ve been busy with business-related writing. The bad news is that I’ve done little personal writing during that time, other than quick posts on social media.

In just the first 5 months of 2019 I’ve written about:

  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Breast cancer
  • Breast disease
  • Clubfoot
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Colostomy reversal
  • Diabetes
  • Ebola
  • Emergency medicine
  • Executive bios
  • Fitness
  • Gastroschisis
  • General surgery
  • Genital birth defects
  • GI services
  • Gynecology services
  • Health issues in minorities
  • Healthcare administration
  • Healthcare fundraising
  • Healthcare recruiting
  • Hospital administration
  • Hospitalist medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • Interventional radiology
  • Interviewing skills
  • Leadership messages
  • Maternity services
  • Menopause
  • Mental health
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myocardial infarction
  • New technology in healthcare
  • Nutrition
  • Operational excellence
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Osteoporosis
  • Patient experience
  • Patient safety
  • Pediatric heart conditions
  • Pediatric trauma
  • Physical therapy
  • Physician burnout
  • Physician profiles
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Robotic surgery
  • Rosacea
  • Schizophrenia
  • Skull base tumors
  • Small business growth
  • Small business insurance
  • Social media in healthcare
  • Solar energy
  • Spina bifida
  • Sports rehabilitation
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vector-borne diseases
  • Wellness programs
  • Workers compensation
  • Wound care

It’s been crazy busy and super interesting. You can read some of the clips that have been published thus far. I love what I do and I feel blessed to be able to make a living doing it every day.

However, I haven’t had the discipline to do any personal writing, and after a few years of personal and professional heartache and growth, I’ve got a bunch of “stuff” percolating in my head. So, to build some discipline into my days, I’m starting a memoir writing workshop this month at Ocean County College here in Toms River, NJ.

As a lifetime lover of the classroom, I’m excited… and as a part-time introvert, I’m a little nervous. BUT, I know that I’m an upholder (according to Gretchen Rubin), so hardwiring discipline is key for me.

Stay tuned for more about my memoir-writing journey!

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How I Found Myself Unemployed — and Found My Voice

2017 was the year sh*t got real. I had been limping along, half-heartedly pursuing freelance writing and editing gigs part time for the last few years, unable to cut the umbilical cord to the corporate world. And then the corporate world cut me.

At the end of August my position at one of the largest physician services companies in the country was eliminated, ending my seven-year career there. After an acquisition followed by a merger that had begun to feel like a takeover, I knew there was a good chance I’d be given my walking papers. As talented colleagues were downsized, my role was downscaled. I was constantly looking over my shoulder, but enjoyed working with our physicians, gaining their trust and telling their personal stories. So, I hung on.

In situations like these, waiting can be a choice, or it can be a sign of catatonia. For me, it was clearly a choice, and then the decision was made for me. I won’t lie, I was shocked when I received the call. Having never been let go before, my initial reaction was tears, and then I started moving through Elisabeth Kubler Ross’s Five Stages of Grief – sometimes feeling all five at the same moment. I knew their decision was based on economics, and not personal, but it stung just the same.

I gave myself that first weekend to wallow, and on Monday I started pounding the digital pavement. I reached out to my LinkedIn network, informing them of my career change and letting them know that I had launched my own business. And just a quickly as my ego was bruised by the layoff, my contacts confirmed that I had indeed brought value to the industry. They offered to meet for coffee, send me RFPs, introduce me to the marketing communications decision-makers on their teams. I felt validated and vindicated. And a bit petrified.

As I’m wrapping up my first full quarter as a freelance writer and editor, I still battle with doubts and moments of sheer terror. But I love words, and I love – and excel at – helping companies communicate with their audiences. I’m excited when a client requests a strategy document. I delve into the research, and offer actionable steps that they can take to move the needle toward hitting their marketing, sales and communications goals. I rework tired copy and make it sing with new life. I’m getting a steady stream of work, some challenging, some fun – always fulfilling. I am doing my best work, and it’s under my terms.

Sure, I’ve made some mistakes this year, but by quickly turning a career tragedy into a career triumph, I feel more “me” than I have in years. For two decades I’ve pushed executives to use their authentic voice in their communications and speak to employees on paper just as they would in person. I’ve found MY authentic voice this year, and I am so very excited for what 2018 holds for my business.

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The Top 7.5 Articles for the Creatively Ambitious Bookmarked in 2017

I not only create content, I also consume it, a lot … on my laptop, phone, iPad, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, via email, at the coffee shop, on my couch, in the passenger seat, on the beach, on my deck. Lots of reading in lots of places.

I bookmarked a bunch of interesting articles in 2017, and here is just a taste.

What articles did you bookmark this year? I’m always consuming, so keep me well-fed.

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3 Tips for Silencing the Noise in Your Newsfeed

I love that technology allows me to work from any location on the planet, stream Stranger Things at Panera and buy the latest Anita Shreve book at 11 p.m. from the comfort of my bed – and my yoga pants.

What can be overwhelming, though, is the constant chatter in my in-box and social media feeds. To quiet the chaos, I’ve taken a few steps to better curate the content that I’m receiving. Here’s how:

  1. In the wise words of Marie Kondounsubscribe to any email newsletters that no longer bring you joy. OK, so maybe those weren’t Marie’s words exactly but you get the idea. What was once relevant to your work or personal life may have outlasted its usefulness. Instead of deleting the riffraff each day, week, month, simply click “unsubscribe” and divorce the sender for good.
  2. Facebook can be a time suck. You log on to check if the photos from your daughter’s latest soccer game have been posted and you’re bombarded by friends selling everything from essential oils to wrinkle cream, political posts and *gasp* fake news. And if you’re like me, you “like” a lot of business pages: new restaurants, island resorts that you’d like to visit, the Star Trek actor with the funny memes, the cabinet-refacing company you used four years ago. If you see posts from companies, groups or even people who no longer need or deserve your attention, “unfollow” themto create a more focused newsfeed. Unfollowing a friend doesn’t “unfriend” them, it just means you’ll need to go to their page to see their posts. And, if you see an ad in your stream that you’d rather not see, click the three dots in the upper right corner of the ad to adjust your advertising settings. A quick click can create lasting calm.
  3. If you feel overwhelmed by the onslaught of tweets that you’re seeing on Twitter, a good way to create targeted news streams is to create lists. Creating a list essentially creates a channel. I’ve created a bunch of lists – writers, healthcare, politics, women’s issues, local, etc. – for the subjects that I’m interested in, and have assigned the Twitter accounts that I follow to one or more lists. Only want to see sports news? Create a “sports” list, add the sports figures that you follow to it, and you won’t see anything about the Kardashians (well, one can hope). And, going through the accounts you follow on Twitter is a great time to refine the list and unfollow those that are no longer relevant.

Your time is valuable. By using some of it to fine-tune your information streams, you’ll separate the wheat from the chaff and drill down to the news and entertainment (read: memes) that are truly meaningful to you.