I started this blog because I always liked to write and I wanted to see if this continues when I write more often. The lack of posts in recent months may seem like my interest is fizzling out – but to the contrary. To be more serious about science communication and writing I have been neglecting this blog. I have been cheating.
A few months ago I stumbled upon a tweet from Nature Jobs, asking for entries for a journalism competition. The topic: career development. Not my favourite topic to be honest, as I actually don’t know that much about career options and what are the best application and interview techniques. But I have opinions. So after a while I found my point of view and wrote about work life balance and how we could integrate and support young parents in the lab better. And guess what, soon you will be able to read my piece on the Nature Jobs Blog! Whoop Whoop.
But not just that, I also got to be a journalist for one day and attend the Nature Jobs Career Expo in Boston. I wrote a few more blog posts for the Nature Jobs website summarising the event and they will be online soon as well. So I haven’t been that lazy about writing.
Still, as I have been told by someone, who makes his living writing and editing, the most important thing for aspiring writers is to write. Sounds simple right? But I have to admit it’s easy to be sidetracked by work, friends or Netflix. After all, at this point in time, writing is a hobby. One I enjoy a lot and hope to be able to make my job one day, but still something I have to consciously make time for. And exactly that, I have not been doing recently.
Writing only for my own blog, my posts have been edited and proofread by my lovely co-blogger Kristin and other (equally lovely) people but still I felt that writing just to write wasn’t helping me improve. I felt like I needed professional input and evaluation on my writing – like with all things you’re new at: you may enjoy it but are you any good at it? Especially when you’re thinking about turning your hobby into your job. I guess the Nature Jobs competition gave me some confidence in my writing and I am back on track now.
But also I was wrong about writing for the sake of writing. It does help you – like with most other things: practice makes perfect. Ok maybe not perfect but helps you improve. Nature Jobs Editor Jack Leeming asked me what I think of pieces I wrote some time ago, telling me that when he looks back a few years, he would write most of his pieces differently now. And I initial found that quite sad. Writing you create something. Something you are (hopefully) proud of. But he was right, looking back at my early posts I do think I would do things differently now and it would actually be sad if nothing changes. Stagnation instead of improvement or refinement of you own style.
Lastly, writing for the sake of writing doesn’t mean writing about science. And this blog is the perfect place for this – not every blog has to be about the latest discoveries in science. I can also share my thoughts on my writing – like with this post. I have to admit writing this has not come easy, it’s a lot more personal than the rest I have written but in the end it’s all good practice and I am happy to share my thoughts with you.