Excerpted from SEAK’s course, “How to Earn Money as a Physician Writer

What you’ll find when writing is that this can give you tremendous professional renewal, because sometimes when you get in your careers, 10, 20, 30 years, it gets a little bit rote and a little bit, you know, repetitive and a little bit boring and less interesting. This will get your juices going, when you do the writing. This is gonna make you feel so good about yourself. And I think you really enjoy it. All right. So, just to give you a flavor of the wide variety of writing that you can do, just from the alumni of our course. And, please, you know, when you get published after this, send me your book, I’ll give you guys a plug. I love circulating the books of other physician authors and our alumni in the class. So here’s a beautiful novel written by Dr. Debra Blaine, and very professionally done, okay, had a lot of fun doing that, an alumna of our course. So that’s an example of, you know, fiction, of a novel. Then we have Dr. Mark McLaughlin, who with a partner writer, I’m not gonna say ghostwriter, but a partner writer, he wrote a book on, you know, how this… Dr. McLaughlin’s a neurosurgeon, and the book concerns how you can use the power of the mind, what you need to do to do neurosurgery, in life, okay.

This was published by one of the big publishing houses, and Dr. McLaughlin got a very, very significant advance for this. But most importantly, he had a blast, because you know what? You know what Mark loves? He loves to write, and he loves to teach, and he loves to be able to help people to experience the success he’s had with the techniques that he’s used to become a neurosurgeon. It’s a very, very difficult job. He loves sharing that knowledge. So, he’s making money, but he’s having fun, and it’s rejuvenating, it’s a wonderful thing. And if you wanna talk about, you know, not having to write “War and Peace,” well, here is a coloring book by Dr. Jonathan Terry. And he’s a psychiatrist out in California. And, you know, if you look at this, not a lot of words, okay, so the sky’s the limit, and he had a blast doing this, right? He absolutely had a blast doing this.

And actually, it was probably a pretty hot sell during the pandemic, because I heard the coloring books and the jigsaw puzzles and all of that were kind of flying off the shelves, and they were back-ordered. So, I’m gonna show you other examples of people from our class, of your colleagues who have gone on to do writing, but, you know, it doesn’t have to be, gee, this is how, you know, you become a healthier person, which kind of everybody, every doctor wants to work at. There’s all kinds of different ways that you can express yourself through writing, and as physicians, you are very, very well respected, you have a lot to say, and people wanna hear what you have to say. So think with an open mind, and most importantly, start doing it. We’ll talk about that.

Okay, so the lesson that I want you to take out of this first segment is that writing does not just give you benefits for somebody paying for your writing, okay, you’re gonna write an article, they’re gonna pay you $2,000, you’re gonna write a book, they’re gonna give you an advance, and you’re gonna get… Or you’re gonna self publish it, you’re gonna get, you know, money from people buying your book. The rewards of establishing yourself as an expert in an area or as a reliable author, expert, whatever you wanna call it, can be monumental, and can really be life-changing.

So a little bit about myself. So I graduated from law school in 1993. And when I was looking for a summer job for the summer of 1992, second year’s summer, that’s when people typically get a job as a law clerk, and then they’ll get hired if things go well by that law firm there when they graduate after the third year of law school. So this was at the height of the recession that was going on in that time, and it was very, very difficult to get jobs as a lawyer. So when I was in law school, I looked like I was about 10 years old. It was kind of difficult for people to take me seriously, because I looked so young. I had difficulty finding a job. So out of desperation, I’m on Cape Cod right now. This is the inside of my porch here. I wrote to… We have a summer house on Cape Cod. I wrote to every lawyer in the town of Falmouth that I’m from.

And I started at Abrams and I went to Zelinsky [SP]. And three or four lawyers wrote me back saying, “Thank you very much. That’s nice of you. We don’t have anything.” Most people ignored me. And one lawyer by the name of Babitsky, close to the top of the list, alphabetically. He wrote back, he says, “Look, give me a call when you’re in town.” And so, I gave him a call, and he said, “I don’t have a job for you in terms of, you know, law clerking, but I do have a job, you wanna help me write a couple of book chapters.” This was during the school year still. And I said, “Sure.” You know, it’s just a part-time job, I’d do anything. I mean, like my god, he paid me $10 an hour. I thought I was rich. Before that, I was making $5 an hour in the summer. So I just doubled my salary, and I did a couple of articles for him, and I did a really good job, he was very happy with it.

So, I kept looking for jobs in the summer, I couldn’t find anything, I couldn’t find anything, I couldn’t find anything. And this guy, Babitsky who was my boss, now, my partner, he wrote to me, says, “I can give you a job, but it’s to help me write a book. It’s not to help me in my law firm.” Because he was working in a law firm at that time, but he’s also running SEEK. And I’m like, “This sucks. I hope I don’t have to, you know, lower myself to doing that. I wanna be a lawyer. I wanna be a real lawyer. I wanna learn how to do that. I don’t wanna write no darn book on workers’ compensation.” So, of course, I couldn’t find a job. And I had to end up taking this lowly job, helping Steve write a book, okay. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. So Steve’s very generous. I did the research for the book. I actually did a lot of the writing for the book under Steve’s direction. He actually made me a co-author of the book, okay. And becoming a co-author, and, you know, being able to produce books is actually what got me my first job in the legal industry when I went to work for a law firm. And the writing, as I’ll explain to you later, has been instrumental in what we’ve been able to do with SEEK. And a lot of it’s really just been accidental. What I’m trying to teach you here is for you, don’t make this an accident. Think about your writing, and how this can open doors for you, and you might not even be able to predict what those doors are. Let me give you a couple of examples of that, right, which everybody I think will be familiar with.

All right. Now, besides for a pulse, what does, and I guess a common job, what does this guy and this guy, oh, [inaudible 00:07:57] look at that picture, this guy have in common? Okay, obviously, they were both presidents of the United States. Oh, my God, look at this one. You guys can’t see that one on that screen. But, if you think about it, what was instrumental in really launching the careers of both of these individuals, right? So writing, okay. Donald Trump, because he had help here, obviously, he famously wrote “The Art of The Deal,” or it was attributed to him, at least. We’ll say it that way. And it really helped. I mean, obviously, he wasn’t shrinking violet in any case, but it really helped establish his name and his personality, which he’s rode to, you know, success and the entertainment industry, and most recently in politics.

President Obama, he was the first African-American editor in chief of the Harvard Law Review, got a big book deal for that. And it was the book that really launched him, okay, and then he got into politics in Illinois, and the rest is history, okay. So both of these individuals, both of our last two presidents, were authors before they were president, and I would argue that their writing gave them the benefit, really allowed each of them to be president. I think it was an important part of the piece of the… You know, an important step on the road to being president was this writing. Now, when Donald Trump wrote “The Art of The Deal,” was he thinking he was gonna be president someday? Probably not. Okay. But stuff happens to people who write. Good things happen if… You know, good thing to him. He wanted to be president, I guess, right? President Obama, did he think he was gonna be president at this time? Probably not. Maybe. I don’t know. He kind of got into politics a lot earlier than President Trump. But again, good things happen to those who write. And these two people, these two individuals, both became President of the United States.

Excerpted from SEAK’s stream on-demand course, How Earn Money as a Physician Writer