When I try to workout, but I haven’t been nourishing myself well, the workouts are difficult to get through. But when I’ve been eating well, drinking plenty of water and getting adequate rest, my workouts are much more fun. I accomplish a lot more in the same amount of time.
Writing is a lot like that. If you try to sit down and create great content without consistently nourishing your mind with interesting ideas, news, and thoughts, you will have a hard time. The writing will come slowly, the thoughts will be less developed, and new and important connections will be more difficult to make.
The obvious way to nourish the mind is through a steady diet of reading. But for the busy medical content writer who probably wears several hats, time to sit and read can be limited.
I’ve found that podcasts for the medical blogger are a great addition to my reading. By subscribing to a variety of podcasts and having them at the ready on my phone, I can take advantage of all the unused snippets of time in my day. For many of us, the obvious time to do this is when we are in the car. Maybe you have a long commute or a second job as the Mommy or Daddy Limousine Service. There are many valuable hours behind the wheel that you can take advantage of.
Another great time to listen to podcasts is during your workout. Whether you are walking around your neighborhood or running on a treadmill, it’s a great time to pump up your brain, too.
So, with those thoughts in mind, I wanted to share a few of my favorite podcasts for the medical blogger. Maybe you’ll find some of them useful.
This is hands down my favorite podcast about the latest medical research. Elizabeth Tracey and Rick Lange, MD of Johns Hopkins discuss four or five recently published studies and their implications for medical practice.
This podcast has a lot going for it. First, this weekly podcast is short. At right around ten minutes, you can squeeze it in anytime. Second, Elizabeth and Rick (I feel like I know them, so I’m using first names) do a great job of distilling the research into a couple of great take away nuggets. Third, it’s easy to listen to. While it is geared more toward someone who has medical knowledge, they don’t get bogged down in a lot of jargon or heavy statistics.
If you are looking for a topic for your weekly blog post, this is a great spot to find one. And even if the topics aren’t ones you want to write about, there is a lot to learn from how they approach new research.
These podcasts feature longer episodes – around 30 minutes each – focusing on one medical topic and really digging into the evidence surrounding it. For example, there was a poorly done article in the Toronto Star on the HPV vaccine a couple months back, so they tackled that issue, focusing in detail on the evidence surrounding it. This can be a valuable resource when you are dealing with medical topics getting the media spotlight.
You don’t have to be a grammar nerd to write for your medical blog. Mignon Fogarty will do that for you. As you write questions will come up on exactly how you should handle a grammar situation. Grammar Girl does a great job of covering sticky issues in the grammar world, and making it seem fun. Because grammar is fun. Am I right fellow nerds?
This a new, five-minute podcast on writing for the internet from CopyBlogger – a respected authority on internet writing. This series features Demian Farnworth, a seasoned web writer who walks you through writing for the web, step-by-step. If you start listening to this series, go back to the beginning. You will get the full benefit that way, and since the episodes are only five minutes each it won’t take you long to catch up with the current episode.
Even if a podcast, book or article isn’t something you are going to directly write about, interesting ideas, beautiful words and compelling arguments are part of that nourishment I was talking about before. They get your juices flowing, help you put words together in new and interesting ways, and give your brain material for making new connections.
Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner explore “the hidden side of everything” in this weekly podcast that runs 30 minutes to an hour. It will make you look at things in new ways – not just the topics they address, but everything.
This is perhaps not the most original suggestion, but TED is popular for very good reasons. Each fifty-ish minute show focuses on a common theme and pulls from the deep well of inspiring TED speakers. Because this show is co-produced by NPR and TED the production quality is excellent, but it’s the content that will keep you listening.
Check out these podcasts and choose one or more to subscribe to. Start listening on your coffee break…or on the treadmill, or in the car, or even in the shower!
Bonus: Bliss and I are always looking for inspiration, too. If you have a favorite podcast (or two) please share it with us in the comments.
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