Wanting To Write?
Posted: October 25, 2010, 12:35 p.m., EDT
Recently I was interviewed by a student of veterinary technology. His class was exploring all the different paths a veterinary technician could take with their career, and he chose writing. Perhaps you want to expand into writing, but just don’t know where to get started. Any position in the practice has insight to teach others in our profession, and we are fortunate we have so many different resources at our fingertips. Here’s some advice to get you started.
A Love of Writing
I believe you have to start with a love, or at least fondness, for writing. I have colleagues that are very successful, yet writing is not a pleasurable activity for them. If you’re choosing to expand your career, pick something you like to do. If writing fits the bill, then read on!
Stick to What You Know
There is the old cliché, “write about what you know.” This is the best way to get started. Later, you might find out you like to research topics of interest and write about them too, but for starters, stick to information about your position, your experiences and your opinions so you enjoy the writing and feel you are putting a little bit of your true self into the piece.
Remember Your Reputation
It’s true; you do put a little piece of yourself into everything you write, so be certain you are reflecting yourself in a positive way. That doesn’t mean you can’t write about mistakes you have made, but focus on the solution and what you learned from the experience. If you’re in the position to give interviews, you also want to realize that this affects your reputation as well. Always request to see your part of the piece and any direct quotes before the article is sent on to an editor and publisher. It’s very easy for us to say exactly what we mean, but then it takes on a whole different meaning when it’s written by someone else into the context they are capturing.
Here’s another old cliché that is true: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” This is so important if you’re looking to expand your career into the broader profession of veterinary medicine. Do your homework first. Who is getting articles published? Who are the editors in the industry? What resources—either online or in print—speak to the audience you want to write for? Make it a point to visit authors who are speaking at conferences or editors who are hanging out in their exhibit booths. Get your name out there and start making contacts. Collect and keep those business cards, and be sure to have some of your own to pass out!
Always Be Dependable
When you’re finally given a shot at writing, you must be reliable. Editors have deadlines, and they need writers who can come in on time or, better yet, early. If you create a reputation of reliability, they may even turn to you in a pinch if you have shown you can turn around articles and further edits of your pieces in a quick manner.
There are lots of opportunities to write in this profession. Nearly every website and journal is open to receiving new ideas or articles. Find out if they like your idea by sending an abstract or outline first, and then get to writing. It can open up more doors then you even expected!