As regular speakers on the conference circuit know, being assigned to present during the last time slot of a three-day conference can be a solitary affair. Not so for EMS Magazine Editorial Advisory Board member and columnist Ray Barishansky who needed several hands to count the number of folks who attended his seminar on how to break into publishing at last month's EMS EXPO in Orlando, FL.
It was testimony to the fact that there a lot of folks who are interested in writing for a publication, but are somewhat daunted by the process. So here's some advice for beginner scribes.
The key to good writing is practice, practice, practice. Find the time to write every day, even if just for five minutes, in order to increase your comfort level with the written word, as well as to find your personal style. This can be as simple as keeping a journal where you write about anything and everything.
Next, you need to work on developing ideas. I am often approached by people who tell me they want to write for EMS Magazine, but they don't have any ideas. That is simply not true. Ideas are all around you. One way to develop article concepts is to take a look at EMS-related news headlines. For example, after reading about the runner who died during the Chicago marathon the following ideas come to mind: prehospital management of heat-related emergencies, EMS response to mass gatherings, and personnel health and rehab issues during extreme weather conditions, to name just a few.
The next step is to approach an editor with your idea. It is best to e-mail a brief synopsis of the article you would like to write, along with a copy of your resume, and give them at least a week to respond. If they accept your query, then it is time for you to deliver. Be cognizant of deadlines and never commit to a project you know you can't complete.
We are currently planning a section on our website that will provide advice and resources for new authors. Watch EMSResponder.com for more information and, in the meantime, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or article ideas you may have.