I think it won’t be surprising for anyone if I say that a day in the life of a medical writer involves a lot of … writing.
I usually start working early in the morning when email and phone interaction is still low so that I can do things that need my full focus, which is mainly reading and writing.
The types of documents we work on can be of many different types, study protocols, clinical study reports, Investigator Brochures or articles for peer reviewed journals. While we might seem to have a very solitary job, we collaborate with many of our colleagues, statisticians, data managers, project managers, safety officers and physicians, and of course the other medical writers on a daily basis. There are 29 highly-qualified medical writers who contribute to projects at Excelya, with up to 14 years of experience, so we are all able to strengthen each other’s work.
I spend some time planning the activities for the day and coming days with other colleagues. However, our planning can change from one day to another, and we need to be ready to switch projects and activities. Clients often have deadlines for the submission of regulatory documents, and, as the final players in the writing of many of the documents, we need to be very reactive and stay available until the very end.
We participate in projects on a diverse range of disease-, research- or drug-related information. This allows us to stay up to date with the latest trends and developments in the health industry. We have a very rich and stimulating job. Lately, and due to the Covid pandemic, we have been and are still very busy writing study protocols for Covid-related projects. I am very happy to have participated together with Julie Cossonniere to writing the protocol of what has become a very popular Covid study among Excelyates, the Euroxav study with Xenothera (as previously announced on LinkedIn)! It was a great challenge, it had to be written very quickly, but with Julie’s motivation and many other colleagues’ great input we made it!
There is also a certain amount of time that is devoted to virtual meetings with clients, to learning about the upcoming projects or reviewing or defending proposals.
My day to day also involves writing and reading a lot in English, allowing me to stay connected with a language that I love and which I was immersed in for several years when I lived in Scotland. This is even more true now that Excelya is present in many European countries and that we use English to communicate every day.
These are the reasons why I love my job, the interaction with many experts and learning from all of them, working on many different topics and getting a rush whenever a paper that I write gets published in a good journal!
One of the few things that I don’t like in my job is the ‘writer’s block’, which I usually experience when writing an article. I find that the most efficient way to revive the ‘mojo’ is to go for a walk or a bicycle ride.