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I Am Not a Good Writer

“I can’t spell to save my life!”
“I am such a slow typist.”
“Grammar? Yeah, haven’t thought of that since high school.”
“No one would understand what I am trying to say.”

How many of us have said some form of the statements listed above? I would raise a hand for each one if I could. I had myself convinced that I was not good at writing. Any time I thought about putting pen to paper, one of these phrases would pop into my head. My brain would scream, “Put the pen down and slowly back away from the paper.”

Even after addressing the tactical issues with tips and tricks, I found that I still was not writing. It was time for an honest assessment. I realized it wasn’t my typing speed that was keeping me back; it was my fear of what other people would think of me. Thinking about poor grammar didn’t stop my head from having ideas. Poor spelling wouldn’t matter if my words never got on the paper. Those excuses were disguising my fear of being misunderstood if I never said what I was thinking. If I never shared what I was thinking, I could never be judged. When we write, we put our thoughts and our ideas out for the public to interpret and formulate opinions on them.

Here’s the thing about the public: We don’t get to choose how people interpret what we are saying or how it has an impact on them. Their opinions and impressions are created based on their own backgrounds, which include ethnicity, gender identification, religion, etc. They also include how their day is going, what’s happening in their personal lives, and other similar factors. The most significant factor that determines an individual’s response to our writing? Their previous impression on the topic that we are writing about.

This impression can be a preconceived notion, formed under bias or even inherited. There are a number of factors that play into why we can’t control how the public views us. That’s why it’s so important to release this fear-based need to be able to. There is no way we can be privy to this information about every single person that will read what we write.

The biggest advantage we have as the writer is the ability to choose who we want to speak to. We get to determine the type of individual that we want to have an impact on. What do they look like? Let’s use the description for this article as an example. As I write this particular piece, I am focusing on the needs of a healthcare professional that:

  • Has thought about writing but never did it.
  • Is having issues with limiting self-beliefs.
  • Undermines the weight of their own words in their professional space.
  • Has a valuable insight that their industry is in need of.
  • Cannot justify the vulnerability necessary to develop professionally.

They are my audience. I know they appreciate forward, actionable conversation that can help them achieve sound professional foundations. They are ready to reach their next level of professional presentation.

Here’s another little secret
As writers, we want the public to have an impression of us. The moment we stop trying to control how we want people to interpret us, the sooner we write in an authentic way. Think of the difference between how you write on Facebook versus your résumé. Glaring difference, right? That’s because we understand our audience. We write in a way that reaches them so that we can deliver our value.

Allowing our readers to make their own impressions and have their own takeaways is what will make us valuable writers. Whether they leave mad, encouraged, confused, or any other way is going to be because of us. They will take what they have read and their interpretations of it and apply it to their lives. Whether it is a brief conversation afterward or a life-changing moment, it will be because of our writing. We will help to create that space for them to do what they will with it, at no cost to ourselves. Plus, we got to finally write about something that we’ve wanted to.

I am still not a good writer. I am a valuable writer, and you should be, too. The impression of the situations that make up your sterile processing career hold value. A fellow CS colleague can learn from your impressions and grow because of you. Expect to be terrible, at first. That may be harsh but it is true! Like every new talent, we must support and nurture it. Practice will make perfect. The more we do it, the better we will get and the easier it will become. So go and put all those things you think everyone should know in our sterile processing industry onto paper. I am looking forward to reading them.

Sarah B. Cruz, CSPDT, CRCST, is a quality education program development coordinator for central sterile. As a CS education coordinator, she creates and institutes an education program in central sterile departments. This includes, but is not limited to, the formation of programs that onboard new employees, develop competencies, certify staff, develop LEAN process improvements, and implement standards of best practices and professional practices.

Sarah’s dedication to her industry continues as the creator and president of PRETREAT CSS, LLC, a mentorship platform used to educate, motivate, and support CS technicians’ professional development. Through tangible actions and physical indicators of success, Sarah knows central sterile services is an excellent profession to develop in as a career. She vocalizes her passion through published articles, social media, webinars, and public speaking. As an industry expert, she is passionate about her message: put the CSS in SUCCESS!

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