In Praise of Appreciation

I spoke recently with a client (who is also a good friend), and the subject of blogging came up. I remarked that I haven’t blogged in a long time, as I haven’t felt inspired to blog about anything in particular. My client/friend replied that my blogs typically consist of complaints and rants about the petty annoyances we medical writers typically encounter. I realized she was right. If I haven’t been blogging lately, I must be pretty content, and I suppose I am. I and my family are in good health, and my business is doing well. I really have very little to complain about.

But is the lack of […]

September 29th, 2020|

My 1969 World Series Watch Party — May 29, 2020

A couple of weeks ago I learned that SNY, the New York Mets’ cable network, had aired all five games of the 1969 World Series. Not being an SNY subscriber, I missed all the airings. But the ’69 Mets have been much on my mind lately, as I recently read They Said It Couldn’t Be Done, Wayne Coffey’s excellent chronicle of that championship season. I therefore searched YouTube for recordings of those games, and was delighted to find – and watch — them.

I was 10 years old in 1969, and growing up in Westport, Connecticut. I will never forget how Metsomania gripped the Tri-State region that summer and […]

May 29th, 2020|

Getting Cross Over “Across”

A client recently asked me to review and edit a draft press release, and I was struck by the overuse of the word “across.” It popped up in many instances:

  • “consistent results across multiple clinical programs”
  • “sustained results across metrics”
  • “20 patients have been dosed across three trials”
  • “patients have been followed for more than 30 months across two trials”
  • “consistent expression of proteins across the two trials”
  • “improvement across biomarkers”
  • “baseline conditions across both studies”
  • “stable disease across both trials”
  • “levels remain stable across these four patients”
  • “approach being implemented across the company’s clinical programs”


Is your head swimming yet? Does the overuse of “across” reflect a lack […]

February 12th, 2020|

Thinking About Success

Last week I came across the following quote from Bob Dylan, on the occasion of his birthday:

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”

I find comfort in the Dylan quote, primarily because it runs counter to the widespread perception of “success” as deriving from wealth or fame. The quote certainly prompted me to think about my own personal success, and about what it means to be successful as a medical writer. Although I have days when I’d rather do anything but medical writing (for example, watch baseball on […]

May 29th, 2019|

So Much for Patient-Centricity

An agency I work with recently engaged me to develop a white paper for one of their clients, a provider of a certain type of health care services (I am not at liberty to disclose the type of services nor the therapeutic area the client operates in). The agency account team had prepared a preliminary outline that included the phrase, “health care production.” That phrase had me scratching my head; I’d never heard nor seen it before.

During the project kickoff teleconference, I asked the team what the phrase meant, and they replied that their client contact had used it to describe how some high-volume clinics must process a […]

March 16th, 2018|

Channeling Joe Strummer

Toward the end of the Clash’s brilliant debut album there is the song, “Garageland,” the first line of which goes, “Back in my garage with my bullshit detector…” Apparently, Joe Strummer, who sang that song (with the accent on the first syllable of “garage,” so it rhymed with “carriage”), had a keen eye (or nose) for that aforementioned substance, and was conscientious about calling out its perpetrators. I think of poor Joe, who left us way too soon, whenever I come across meaningless, hifalutin’ writing.

A recent example: An agency client sent me a draft of a news release to edit. […]

January 17th, 2018|
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