In which my career path becomes a little bit clearer…

As I had hoped, attending AMWA 2010 last week solidified some of the thoughts I touched on in my post on officially branching out into grant writing. And I’ve come to the realization that I may actually be on the right track here, career-wise. Actually, this post brings together some thoughts from older posts on marketing science and storytelling in academic writing. Not sure why it took me so long to connect the dots, but I finally did. I’ll chalk it up to lack of sleep.

So let’s take a look at my career path thus far. Seven years in grad school (and 2 summers in undergraduate research programs), where I wrote oodles–yes, oodles–of abstracts, posters, manuscripts, grants, textbook chapters, etc, etc. Then 3 years in continuing medical education, writing physician and nurse education programs and learning how to craft a complete story, insert fair balance, and meet specific educational needs of a clearly identified target audience. Now, with 4 or so years in healthcare communications/advertising, I can add the skills of marketing, messaging, identifying target audiences, developing tactics, and strategic planning to my resume. And through all of this, I have been a freelance business owner, stumbling through financial planning, business planning, tax law, and return on investment.

And where has that led me? I know you just…can’t…wait… To becoming a professional grant writer and editor! Ta Da!

No, seriously. I suppose this epiphany might be a little more exciting to me than to others. But I realized that grantwriting draws on my academic background in life sciences and my ad hoc post-graduate clinical education and combines it with the skills I have developed in crafting educational narratives (from CME) and using persuasive, targeted language (from healthcare communications). So here I am, with a background and skill set that seem to fit well with grantwriting and editing.

So what’s the next step? There is a certification for grant professionals out there, but I think that’s at least a few years off. I recognize that I still have a lot to learn, particularly about the inner workings of the funding agencies and the review process, and I will make good use of the recommended reading list we were given at the NIH grant writing workshop at AMWA 2010.

Of course, if anyone wants to share their tips or send me some resources, that would be great. Now, I’ve gotta figure out how to retool my tagline…but that’s a whole ‘nother post!


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