Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Write Right Now

I must not be managing my time well.

Clearly, other scientists out there have time to be Good Scientists and blog on a regular basis. I can barely remember to put pants on. I need to cut my fingernails and take out the recycling. I'm lucky if I do last night's dishes the next morning instead of three days later when every dish I own is dirty, even the ugly ones I don't like to use. Am I bad at managing my time or do I actually not have enough of it? If I spend some time watching TV with my husband instead of working should I feel like that time was wasted? I keep thinking that to become a writer, I have to write more while I'm still a graduate student! But how will I ever find time to write while being a good graduate student?? This turns into a vicious circle of not having time to write until I'm only a writer, not becoming a writer until I've written more, etc. There's just so much good writing out there, and I wish I were the one writing it.

I have been reading beautiful posts by folks like Carl Zimmer and Ed Yong and I'm falling a little bit in love. Their prose seems to come so seamlessly and in large, regular quantities. I think they are full-time writers, but I'm not so naive to think that a writer sits at home all day constructing flawless sentences about whatever they fancy. I'm pretty sure they have to do research, chase leads, pimp their stories, read the competition and market themselves, among other things. Although I dream about becoming a writer full-time, I am trying to keep in mind that even if I make it, I will still not have all the time in the world to write.

So the question is: how do they do it? Is there a magical system I don't know about that works for everyone, like how authors will write several books in a row but space out the publications? I often wonder how long it takes them to write something like a blog post, which is full of references and backstories, not to mention hooks and flows to keep the non-science geeks reading. How they craft multiple pieces like this every day is beyond me.

I'll keep reading in the hopes that something is sinking in.

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