I’ve attended three conferences in the past year where I’ve been trying to pay attention to the science communication/science writing tracks.
I went to the AAAS meeting and wrote about my experiences there.
Then I attended the National Association of Science Writers meeting in late October – or rather, part of it as I had a friend’s wedding to attend ahead of time.
Last weekend, I attended Sci Comm Camp and reflected about some of the things I got out of the experience on Quiet Branches.
I’m not sure I really captured the experiences in either of my write ups and I wonder if any of my writing is reaching an audience at all.
I know I write mostly for myself still and that’s fine because I do still enjoy it most of the time. However, it feels like I’ve plateaued and am not growing.
I’ve at least networked with some science writers/editors and my primary reaction is: I really like the people I’ve met. I like hearing the stories, I still love the idea of being part of the world of communicating science, even if I’m still at the beginning of my efforts to really dig in.
Of course, a lot of the science communicators I know are really good at what they do. I hope I’m still able to grow to get a lot better than I feel I am. I think I need to get better at writing and at least get better at one other medium to tell stories besides writing.
My favorite thing to do so far is dig into history and tell stories of scientists past and even people who were impacted by science. I’m not sure how valued that is, but it is fun to learn about what people used to do and how it has changed over time.
I’ve tried to maintain writing content online all year and even broaden my writing in other places as well. I’ve started editing for a few places as well. I’m moving in the direction of doing writing/editing as a career and feel like a shift is happening, though by burning my candle at both ends, it feels like all I’ve done is exhaust myself.
I analogized actually making a career transition recently to getting through the Berlin Wall – before it came down in 1989, to be clear.
And I’m not sure what lowers the barrier. Perfectionism? Intertia? Anxiety? The feeling I’m stepping into a void?
I’ve gotten used to rejection. I know I’m probably not the greatest science writer in the world currently, but I am working on it. Despite starting later than most would down this path.
Perhaps that is what feels hard. I’m having to change course in mid-adulthood when most people seems to be more settled down than I am.
I heard this Sally Herships BBC ‘As Many Leaves’ story this morning about a sudden transition she went through; her husband just leaving without notice or explanation and documenting the year afterward. My situation isn’t similar though I feel like the transition in career I’m making is going to be that stark. That I just don’t know how to deal outside of where I am now.
I’m at a bit of a low point just now, but I am going to keep going. Keep working to be efficient, better, more organized, and as ready as I can be for what’s next.