A Reluctant Author’s Journey to Being Published
Alex Barker is the author of Indispensable: The Prescription for a Fulfilling Pharmacy Career. He is an entrepreneur and the founder of The Happy PharmD.
Listen to his journey from being a reluctant writer to someone who wishes to make an impact within an industry that surprisingly deals with the consequences of burnout.
What We Discuss with Alex Barker:
- How he got down the pharmacy route
- Working as a pharmacist but not finding fulfillment
- Using his creativity to run his blog
- Focusing on your ONE thing
- The struggles within the pharmacy industry
- Why he initially resisted writing a book and how he addressed it
- Alex’s message to aspiring yet reluctant writers
[01:00] Following Down the Pharmacy Path
Alex has always wanted to be a YouTube star (before YouTube even existed). But after taking the career guidance test, he was recommended as a teacher, principal, or pharmacist.
He thought being a pharmacist was a safe fit and so he chose the path. He graduated in 2012 from pharmacy school.
Then he began to question his choice, feeling he didn’t really fit in. He knew he would end in academia as he loved speaking, teaching, and mentoring. But in order to be a successful teacher, he needed to have real-world experience.
He got a job but he described his work life as a living hell. He wasn’t able to practice the things he had learned. He didn’t find fulfillment in his work. His soul died slowly at work.
[06:44] Creating a Platform to Make an Impact
Alex had this feeling that he should be much further than where he is in his journey. But he realized he wasn’t focusing on that one thing and going all out on it. Then he launched The Happy PharmD and made the powerful commitment to do it for 18 months.
Alex decided to create his own university to teach people things that are not being said in his industry.
A common belief within the industry is to just take your six figures and shut up. This leads to a whole profession of disenfranchised, unhappy burned out people. In fact, pharmacy is ranked as the 14th highest suicide rate among all tracked professions.
Wanting to make an impact, this got Alex very excited about pharmacy again. It’s a painful discussion but it highlights a real problem that exists which very few people are talking about it.
Pharmacists in hospitals constitute about 20-30% of all pharmacists. 61% have at least one burnout symptom, typically emotional exhaustion.
[19:10] Resisting to Write a Book
Alex admits he has always hated writing and editing. It takes too long and he overthinks things. So he resisted getting started.
This resistance was subconsciously stopping him from creating really good content. But writing that out, facing it, and addressing the lie helped unlock him to write a book from a place of both vulnerability and confidence.
Dealing with writer’s block, Alex worked with a content editor to help him shape his message.
Ask yourself why you want it. Really define why you want to write this book otherwise it will be difficult to overcome resistance once it happens.
Just get started. Even if you don’t know anything about the subject, start to interview people who are experts. This gives you a natural authority.
Most writers don’t love to write, but they just want to share their story. So don’t try to word things so perfectly and just write.
[31:26] Advice to Aspiring Writers
Write something short and emotional. Write something about a subject matter you wish to write. Then share it online and see how people react to it. See if it resonates with people. Then this eventually shapes how you write.
Connect with Alex on LinkedIn and say hi!