Medical Writing Medical Writing Around the World Out On Our Own

Volume 22, Issue 2 - Medical Writing Around the World

Out On Our Own

We are all riding high after meeting in Manchester at the EMWA conference in May 2013. It was wonderful to see so many colleagues coming together and enjoying the new-look events that EMWA offered us for the first time. Both the Symposium Day, and Kath's seminar about working in and on your business, proved a great success. As these two events were free member benefits, we feel sure you'll agree that EMWA is working hard to provide us all with a superb programme that represents excellent value.

In this issue of OOOO, Claudia keeps it light with a humorous analysis of how we freelancers spend our time compared with our employed colleagues. In the process, she dispels some myths about freelancing and flexibility, while highlighting the benefits of both employment options. Kath updates us on her experiences as a freelancer three years on from her original article and describes how life-coaching has helped her in several key areas of her life and business. In a separate article, Kath provides some tips on how to have a successful business trip. Raquel gives us the low down on a selection of time tools available to help us work around the clock in our regular Toolbox feature.

Our Freelance Foraging ‘photo-SOP’ from Anne fits perfectly with our theme of medical writing around the world, coming all the way from Brunei! When you're out and about this summer remember to snap those funny photos and send them in.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has provided feedback on the OOOO section and given suggestions on the types of articles they'd like to see featured here – we are working on them. We are grateful to Paul Woolley for sending his insights on Mac computer systems following Sam's article about migration from PC to Mac in December 2012. Please feel free to send us an email if you have any suggestions or feedback on our features or articles. Our aim is to keep this section as relevant for our freelance members as possible, and your valuable input is appreciated.

A reminder about the Freelance Resource Centre

We'd like to remind our readers that we have a growing archive of invaluable freelance resources available on the EMWA website. Access is via the ‘Members-only’ log in then click ‘Resources’ and ‘Freelance Resource Centre’. In addition to our well-publicised ‘Regulatory Medical Writing’ section, we have archives on ‘Starting-up and Running a Business’, ‘Legal’, Technical’, ‘Personal Experience’, ‘Journalism and Translation’, ‘Conferences’, and ‘General’. Much of what may be of interest to you might already be covered in these archive materials, so do check, and be assured that efforts to fulfil our group needs have been ongoing for some years now. Happy browsing…

Non-randomised, non-controlled, retrospective analysis of the time spent working as a freelancer compared to a pharmaceutical company or a contract research organisation employee
Definitions and abbreviations


The fantasies of freedom and self-determination of many employees that are dreaming of becoming freelancers are often only that: fantasies! The objective of this brief ‘nüchtern’ (no nonsense) analysis is to describe and quantify the real everyday life of a freelance medical writer compared with that of a medical writer employed by a pharmaceutical company or a CRO.


A retrospective analysis of all travel and working time between June 2007 and June 2012 (freelance working period) compared with the travel and working time between June 2001 and June 2007 (employee period) was performed. The analysis was based on the calendar used as the main time management and organisation tool during these years. The following variables were analysed in detail:


Mean number of working hours/week during working days, distributed by month



  1. Elmhirst DN. Working from home: freelance medical writing. Trends Pharmacol Sci 1996;17(2):64.
  2. Wagenaar AF, Kompier MA, Houtman IL, van den Bossche SN, Taris TW. Impact of employment contract changes on workers’ quality of working life, job insecurity, health and work-related attitudes. J Occup Health. 2012;54(6):441–51.
  3. White K. A leap of faith – the power of life-coaching. Write Stuff 2011;20(4):251–2.
  4. Hicks E, Hicks J. Money and the law of attraction. Learning to attract wealth, health and happiness. London: Hay House UK Ltd; 2010.
  5. Ferriss T. The 4-hour work week. London: Vermillon; 2008.
  6. Burkeman O. Making work work. Psychologies Magazine. 2012; July:36.



Medical writing around the world
Message from the President
The yin and yang of medical writing in China
The changing face of medical writing in India
Medical writing in India at a crossroads
Medical writing in the Middle East
Medical writing in Finland
On the western edge of Europe – medical writing in Portugal
Announcing AERTeM, the Spanish Association of Medical Writers
From editors abroad into businesswomen back in Brazil
Science writing workshops for AIDS vaccine researchers in Africa
Medical postcard from Australia, the world's largest island
Teaching English for Medical Academic Purposes at the Faculty of Medicine in Belgrade, Serbia
Regulatory medical writing in Switzerland
Medical writing in the Russian Federation: Promises and pitfalls
Report on the EMA Workshop on clinical trial data and transparency
Potential implications of wider data transparency in medical communications
The need for registration of preclinical studies
Mentorship in EMWA: A perspective
In the Bookstores
The Webscout
Regulatory Writing
English Grammar and Style
Medical Journalism
Medical Communication
The Light Stuff
Out On Our Own


The Write Stuff Archive Contact Instructions for Authors Article Template (Word) Journal Policies

Editoral Board


Raquel Billiones


Evguenia Alechine

Jonathan Pitt

Managing Editor

Victoria White

Deputy Managing Editor

Alicia Brooks Waltman

Associate Editors

Anuradha Alahari

Jennifer Bell

Nicole Bezuidenhout

Claire Chang

Barbara Grossman

Sarah Milner

John Plant

Sampoorna Rappaz

Amy Whereat

Section Editors

Daniela Kamir


Jennifer Bell


Nicole Bezuidenhout 

Digital Communication

Somsuvro Basu

EMWA News 

Ana Sofia Correia 

Gained in Translation

Ivana Turek

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Wendy Kingdom / Amy Whereat

Good Writing Practice

Alison McIntosh 

In the Bookstores

Maria Kołtowska-Häggström

Lingua Franca and Beyond

Maddy Dyer


Lisa Chamberlain-James

Medical Communications/Writing for Patients

Payal Bhatia

Medical Devices

Evguenia Alechine

My First Medical Writing

Anuradha Alahari

News from the EMA

Adriana Rocha


Tiziana von Bruchhausen


Clare ChangZuo Yen Lee 

Regulatory Matters

Sam Hamilton

Regulatory Public Disclosure

Claire Gudex

Teaching Medical Writing

Louisa Ludwig-Begall / Sarah Kabani

The Crofter: Sustainable Communications

Louisa Marcombes

Veterinary Writing

Editors Emeritus

Elise Langdon-Neuner

Phil Leventhal

Layout Designer

Chris Monk