One of the standout presentations, and there were many, was Pauline Chen, MD. Dr. Chen's first book, Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality, is a New York Times Bestseller. She shared with us her Top 10 Pearls about writing in David Letterman style.
- 10. Study for your boards - attend writing programs and conferences. Dr. Chen went to the UCLA writing program
- 9. Practice your knots - write. write, write
- 8. Go through rotations with an open mind - be prepared to be surprised about where this writing journey takes you
- 7. See a donut/Eat a donut - Eat for free - Read as much and as widely as possible especially in your own genre
- 6. Better is the enemy of good (Voltaire) - Make the jump! Sometimes you have to stop writing and try to publish
- 5. Don't apply to just one program - Find someone with similar interests and meet them (personal thank yous to Fat Doctor and KC for getting me started)
- 4. Make a list of 10 most important things in life - sometimes it takes reestablishing priorities to write/blog - For Dr. Chen: Sleep when you can, eat when you can, write when you can and don't mess with the pancreas applies
- 3. Remember your residency - You survived/are surviving residency - you can write a book/blog
- 2. A good senior resident is a good team player - publishing requires same set of skills: be polite (give credit where credit is due), be prepared, be punctual
- 1. Trust no one - trust only your voice and find it by reading and lots of writing.
And in case you think I've lost my mind and forgotten that this blog is supposed to be about mothers in medicine, writing makes me a better parent and I hope a better physician. Maybe it's the political climate, maybe it's too much JennyMcCarthy's rant on vaccines and autism, but medicine seems to be taking a beating. It's important for those of us in the medical trenches to have an outlet to be heard. Honor and integrity still exist in medicine, and we are uniquely positioned to tell that part of the story by wearing our mom and doc hats simultaneously. Write with abandon!