Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Magical Wizardry of Writing

The following happenings occurred on the night of 11/07/10.

It’s 4am and I’m finally sitting down during a very busy 12 hour shift (it started at 7pm). My head is spinning and I’m surprised I can still speak in coherent sentences. Both of my patients are new admissions and very sick. In addition to this, I have two new nurses in my module with me and I have been their resource for questions or concerns.

I want to sleep, but I still have charting to do. Labs will need to be drawn in an hour. A nurse from another module approaches me a smile on his face. “Hey, Barbara. Writer Barbara.”

“Hey Mohammed. What’s up?

“I need you to write something for me.”

Write? Like now? Sure, let me get my mighty pencil and sharpen my brain. I sigh.
“What do you need?”

“I need a thesis statement.

Riiiiight. A thesis statement. “You want a statement, right? Not a whole thesis . . .”

“All I want is a statement to help me get going. To work my project around.”

That can’t be too hard, right? “Well, I can’t promise how good it’ll be. My brain is toast right now.

“Oh, it’s not that hard. You’re a writer. You can do it.

If I wasn’t so tired. I would’ve been laughing about right then. I pull out a piece of physician progress notes and pick up my pen. “Okay, what is the statement about?"

“I need a thesis statement that makes an affirmative of bradycardia (slow heart rate) and tachycardia (fast heart rate) in a clinical setting.”

I didn’t drop my pen, but I almost did.


It amazes me how many people think how easy it is to write. How writers just pull finished manuscripts from their minds and get them published. No rewriting or revising. No blood, sweat and tears.

Maybe it is the case for some writers, but not for me. Anyone have the key to the Magical Wizardry of Writing? Is there a Hogwarts school I missed?

BTW, I did write the statement. Then minutes later, I had to rush to a code.

Abbi :-)


  1. Love that Abby, but now you have to tell us what you wrote!

  2. Abbi - I think you must be the Head of the School for Amazing Writing because if that had been me it would have been a miracle if I'd been able to write my name, let alone a thesis statement. Obviously any pen you pick up becomes your magic wand!

    So do we put in our orders now? I'd like a full plot outline for a romance please, complete with character outlines, conflict, plot points and black moment. Oh and that unforgettable opening line - don't forget that. Just kidding; hope you had a great sleep and that your coding patient was okay.

  3. Hi Abbi!
    Sorry your work has been so crazy. Sometimes I'd rather be working on a thesis statement than writing romance...because writing romance is hard. It's filled with variables and difficult decision-making that affects every aspect of your story. I don't know any writer who's traveled an easy road to publication. It's the hard work that makes 'The Call' so special.

  4. Hey, Susan,

    My statement said something to the effect that even though as healthcare professionals we see bradycardia and tachycardia as causes for concern, the heart rate changes are actually a positive response by the body to counteract something worse physiologically. Or something like that . . .

    Thanks, Elissa. My brain doesn't always work that quickly.

    Hey, Wendy! I agree, writing a story is much harder. There's more to think about. But, I like juggling all the variables. :-)

  5. I love the Harry Potter reference. If only there was such a school for writers ;)

  6. I love this post! It's so true, people think we can just pick up our pen and be brilliant because we are called "writers." If only they knew what we wrestled with on the blank page. Personally, I don't think either of your jobs are easy - but I am afraid of hospitals, needle phobic, and admire anyone in the field. My brother is an anasthesiologist (spelling, sorry) and we are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Are you on NaNoWriMo? I am - friend me? What is your profile? I used my real name, very dumb.

  7. Hey, Jennifer,

    I'm on NaNo as acantrell. I'll look for you!

    Abbi :-)

  8. He wanted you to write about WHAT? Did you tell him you write feel-good romance? LOL! I know what you mean though. Sometimes I wish I didn't come out of the closet about my writing because now everyone wonders and asks why I'm not published yet!

  9. Great post!!! Reminds me of those memories in Harry Potter.

    And brought back good memories of when I worked the 11-7 shift. :)

  10. The magic of writing is simple: practice.

    Of course, the practice itself is long and arduous. But that's what makes the difference. ;-)