How being a doctor has made me a better writer.

Well, hello thar! Long time, no blog! 😛 Today I’m talking about how being a doctor has made me a better writer, the second in a two part series Carole Ann Moleti and I decided to conjure up for everyone. 🙂 To see Carole’s awesome post, check it out here.

Although I’ve been a writer my entire life, I decided to become a physician in college since I’d fallen in love with medicine after working in pathology for a few years. I’d never even considered a career in writing, since I didn’t think it was a “real thing.” I grew up poor, so options such as writing, painting, and photography weren’t valid. My father had always told me that success was the ability to support your family and live comfortably, and in my mind, success meant a high-powered career (obviously, I was wrong–success is much more than a career, period).

Now don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no regrets about making this decision. I love being a doctor, and I continued to write all through college, medical school, and now residency. As a matter of fact, I think being a doctor has made me a better writer just by the wealth of experiences medicine has provided me.

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Medical school was nuts, hands down. From day one, you’re asked to take apart a human body, and man, if that doesn’t mess with you a little, I don’t know what does. To preserve the civility of what you’re doing during those first three months of gross anatomy, they tell you about your cadaver. Who they were, what type of life they led, and how they died. You even meet their family at the end of the semester (no joke) and you truly begin to realize the gift this person has given you—their body, to help you learn and potentially save others someday.

Soon thereafter, you end up on clinical rotations in the hospital for a few years. I spent a month in a locked psych ward with actively psychotic schizophrenics, victims of unspeakable psychological trauma, desperate addicts, and those who were so depressed they tried to kill themselves in front of me (one with a pen, another with their bedsheets). I learned about the stigma that came with many of these disorders and why many people still fear getting help. During my OB/GYN rotation, I watched a birth for the first time (I still can’t even imagine what my face looked like!) and delivered six babies thereafter, including a set of twins to a mother who’d undergone IVF because she’d desperately wanted children. The pure happiness and elation on her face was something I won’t soon forget.

During my surgery rotation, I helped operate on multiple traumas, many of them from horrific car accidents, others from attempted murders such as gunshot wounds, stab wounds (with barbecue forks and machetes amongst other things), and a variety of other methods to break one’s body. During my intern year, I ran my first code on a patient I found pulseless and unresponsive at one AM on a Tuesday, and we brought him back to life in four minutes. I didn’t stop shaking for at least two hours afterward.

If these experiences don’t fuel a creative mind, I don’t know what does!

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And throughout all of this, I wrote. I wrote whenever I wasn’t studying, whenever I could. All of these experiences filtered into my stories in some way, shape or form. In my debut novel, RELEASING THE DEMONS, my hero Blaze is a former prisoner of war and suffers from severe PTSD along with a deep-ridden rage that threatens to consume him entirely. My heroine, Valerie, is trying to keep her head above water in a world full of monsters who try to destroy everything and everyone she loves. In the next novel, BLACK BULLET, my heroine Lawan has also experienced a horrific trauma, and drowns herself in alcohol when she isn’t hunting her enemies. Lawan is literally based on a woman I met in the emergency room whose story I will never forget. My hero, Jon, is haunted by his sire in both his dreams and waking hours, a form of schizophrenia that borders on possession. And throughout both of these novels, there are scenes and characters that squeeze themselves into the story, all inspired by my experiences in my “high-powered” career.

Now that I’m progressing through a diagnostic and interventional radiology residency, life is slightly calmer, but I’m still running around like a madwoman performing minimally invasive procedures and supplying my colleagues with the answers they need to treat their patients. Every day I’m absorbing the stories of others and tucking them away for my next scene, next character, next book. Sure, I wish I could write more (don’t we all?), but when I finally manage to sit at my laptop, my head is swimming with ideas and they just pour out of me onto the page.

And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

* * *

L.D. Rose is a neurotic physician by day, crazed writer by night, and all around wannabe superhero. She writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but she’s been known to delve into horror, sci-fi, and medical suspense on occasion. L.D. Rose is a member of the RWA, FF&P, NEC-RWA and CoLoNY. She currently lives in Rhode Island with her studly hubby, her hyperactive boxer, and her two devious cats.

Where to find her:

Website * Facebook * FB Author Page * Twitter * Goodreads * Pinterest * Tumblr

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About L.D. Rose

Physician by day, award-winning author of dark PNR/UF by night. Music addict. Wannabe superhero. Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/ldrose
This entry was posted in Life-Snippets from L.D. and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to How being a doctor has made me a better writer.

  1. Remarkable energy in this post, L. D.! Your own positive strength in contrast to the horrors you’ve dealt with as a physician. It’s like listening to a concerto, and it’s no wonder you’re able to pour out such vibrant stories!

  2. abbieroads1 says:

    Hi Linda!

    I’m not a doctor, but so much of this resonates with me as a mental health counselor. I hear my clients stories all day and then at night, pieces and parts of those stories end up in my stories!

    • L.D. Rose says:

      Hey Abbie! I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of interesting experiences and listened to thousands of stories! I don’t think we consciously write these things into our books–they just somehow get there because they’re such an integral part of us.

      Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed it! 😀

  3. Christine says:

    What an amazing work/life combination. No wonder the ideas pour out of you! Reading this post was like a view down the path not taken. I’d planned on law school until my first year English teacher talked me into an English major with Professional Writing minor. Even after my degree was complete, my mom would still tell me it’s not too late for law school. It’s remarkable to read about someone balancing both worlds. Thanks for sharing!

    • L.D. Rose says:

      Hey Christine!

      You’ve definitely got to do what you love and I think you made a great choice with the writer’s path. It’s not easy juggling doctoring and writing, but I love them both, and they make me happy. 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by!

  4. glenice says:

    loved this post. I recently got my doctorate, but not in medicine…creative writing. Hopefully I’ve become a better writer but the most frequent comment from family and friends, always said with a grin when confronted with the Dr title is, ‘You’re not going to operate on me’

  5. Very moving post. The experience of being in the health professions both enriches and complicates one’s life. Writing is a good way of dealing with both.

  6. You know, of course, that your bio would make a great story, but who wants to write their own bio. I am thoroughly impresses. Looking forward to having you on my blog.

  7. In my off-writing hours I practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner, and tons of what you wrote resonated with me, L.D.
    There’s a wealth of experience all around us if we just pay close attention.
    Enjoyed your article.

    • L.D. Rose says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Paula, and I’m sure you know exactly where I’m coming from. 😀 It’s always great meeting another fellow medical professional/writer! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  8. Beth Carter says:

    I’m way behind on reading posts but am thrilled I finally got to this one. What an amazing life you lead. I can’t imagine the balancing act not the energy it requires, but it sounds as though you’ve nailed both careers. I worked in two hospitals in administration and marketing and heard plenty of medical stories just from the office! Being on the front lines, I’m sure you’ll never run out of story fodder. Well done, doctor.

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