For some residents, coming up with great ideas for radiology projects may seem next to impossible, especially when starting. Maybe you are less than a year out in training and don’t know where to begin. Or, perhaps, you are just unsure how to come up with excellent ideas that the journals will accept. Regardless, given that I have written extensively on this blog and written multiple papers, let me tell you how I find ideas that will work and interest your audience. Here’re some of the basic techniques I use to overcome writer’s block!
Have A Writer’s Mentality
If you are not hunting for ideas during the daytime when you are working, you will not find the next great project. Whenever I look at an interesting case or have a great discussion, I will think about whether there is some way to make it into an article or a great project. My philosophy is that the best projects are those that fascinate me or cause me significant irritation during the daytime. Maybe, you are very interested in a particular procedure or topic that will often spark your interest in a project. Or, if you notice a problem with the institution- that could be a safety project. Constantly keep an open mind, and you will easily find many potential ideas for your following excellent paper!
Keep A Record Of What You See
Nowadays, almost everyone walks around with some form of a cellphone. You can quickly turn that device into a mini-journal. Whenever I talk to residents or am sitting down looking at images, in the back of my mind, I will write down ideas and cases that I think might work for the following article. It could be an interesting comment, thought, or case study. Regardless, write it down. Often, you can convert that thought into something more substantive later on. But keeping a record is always an excellent starting point. If you don’t write it down somewhere, you will forget about it later.
Contact Your Mentors To Avoid Writer’s Block
Whether it is your fellow chief resident, faculty, or chair, let them know that you might have an idea that will work for a journal article or book. Bounce the idea off your colleagues. Many have been through the process numerous times and can guide you to take an angle you might have thought about before. Or, they may say that others have already pursued that idea. Your mentors will know best because they have been through the process many times before.
Also, your mentors can guide you toward other folks that may be able to help you with the process. Perhaps, your institution has a statistician that everyone uses. Or they may have some research coordinators. All these individuals can help you along the way to hone your ideas.
Find An Angle
Maybe you have already come up with a great idea but are not sure how you will put pen to paper. In this situation, I usually like to think about how the topic would not only interest me but would catch the attention of others as well. You could twist or reverse the idea by taking a fresh approach. Many ideas die, not because someone else has already pursued them but because they have not taken a new direction. Perhaps you can look at it from a different population standpoint, more significant numbers, or even by adding other possible associations. All these add-ons can lead to something fresh and new from what researchers have already done.
Overcoming Radiology Writer’s Block!
Maintaining the proper mindset and creating a system is the key to overcoming writer’s block. Simple processes such as keeping projects in mind, writing ideas down when you have them, contacting others who can help, and thinking about a different angle are simple ways to prevent writer’s block from creeping up on you. These are the systems I practice every week when I write this blog (approaching 500 articles!) and they also work for creating research studies. So keep this advice in mind, and you will become a prolific writer too!