There is something you should have done in 1965, but likely didn’t. You had to have been old enough, of course; and of a certain sensibility, perhaps. And no, it didn’t involve sex. Or protest marches.
At Compulsion Reads, we always seek to help educate and inform writers. I believe that my personal experience of reading and evaluating a large amount of self-published books over the last year could lend some important insights to authors. This is something I would have liked to read when I was first getting started out on my own road to self-publishing.
From time to time, I get letters from people thinking seriously about becoming science writers. Some have no idea how to start; some have started but want to know how to get better. I usually respond with a hasty email, so that I can get back to figuring out for myself how to be a science writer. I thought it would be better for everyone—the people contacting me and myself—to sit down and write out a thorough response. (I’m also going to publish a final version of this on my web site, here.)
First a caveat: I am probably the wrong person to ask for this advice. I stumbled into this line of work without any proper planning in the early 1990s, when journalism was a very different industry. The answer to “How do I become a science writer?” is not equivalent to “How did you become a science writer?”
I was the sort of kid who wrote stories, cartoons, and failed imitations of Watership Down. By college, I was working on both fiction and nonfiction, majoring in English to learn from great writers while trying to avoid getting sucked into the self-annihilating maze of literary theory. After college, I spent a couple years at various jobs while writing short stories on my own, but I gradually realized I didn’t have enough in my brain yet to put on the page.
In 1989 I wrote to some magazines to see if they had any entry-level jobs. I got a response from a magazine called Discover, saying they needed an assistant copy editor. I got the job but turned out to be a less-than-perfect copy editor, which means that I was a terrible copy editor.
Fortunately, by then my editors had let me start to fact-check stories, which is arguably the best way to learn how to write about science. I got a chance to write short pieces, and I realized this was an experience unlike any previous writing I had done. I was writing about the natural world, but in nature I discovered strangeness beyond my own imagining. And scientists were willing to help me come to understand their discoveries. I stayed at Discover for ten years, the last four of which I was a senior editor there, and then headed out on my own, to write books, features, and other pieces.
Robots and algorithms are getting good at jobs like building cars, writing articles, translating -- jobs that once required a human. So what will we humans do for work? Andrew McAfee walks through recent labor data to say: We ain't seen nothing yet. But then he steps back to look at big history, and comes up with a surprising and even thrilling view of what comes next.
Last month, 28-year-old Eleanor Catton became the youngest person ever to win the Man Booker Prize, which she was awarded for her novel “The Luminaries.” Veronica Roth is only 25, and started to write the bestselling “Divergent” series while still a student at Northwestern University. And Christopher Paolini famously became the bestselling author of the “Inheritance Cycle” at age 19.
Yet there has been some discussion regarding whether young writers can be interesting. The Huffington Post recently featured an article on the subject, in which writer Steven Petite shared how author Junot Diaz discouraged him from pursuing an MFA right after college. In order to devote so much time to writing, said Diaz, you first need to have some interesting life experiences. Experiences to write about. Experiences to inspire you.
As a creative writing student here at the College of William and Mary, I’ve heard similar comments. Professor Chelsey Johnson tells her students to work, explore the world, and do things before committing to a graduate school program. When Justin Torres, author of “We the Animals,” visited the College, he echoed these sentiments. Before giving all your time to writing, it’s good to work a few jobs. Better if they’re horrible jobs. More experiences, more clay to shape into art.
When a veteran stand-up comic is also funny on Twitter, it doesn’t exactly come as a shock. When an unknown phenom makes you physically choke on guffaws, though, it’s a revelation and also something of an extended audition.
...After catching the attention of the comedy cognoscenti in 2010, the then recent Harvard graduate soon got jobs writing on the Oscars and Disney’sA.N.T. Farm., before moving to a staff writer position at NBC’s ensemble sitcom Parks and Recreation. (The show was just renewed for a sixth season.) The in-demand writer is also an accomplished poet who’s writing asatirical guide to science for ladies.
Megan Amram’s frothy blend of dark humor and smart, surreal silliness has found more than 356,000 followers on Twitter so far. Although not everybody trying to generate laughs online is doing so for the same reasons, or with the same twisted flair, Amram’s consistent comedic quality is enviable for anyone trying to make their mark with brief bursts of humor. The multidiscipline writer recently spoke with Co.Create about puns, poetry, and how to be funny on Twitter altogether....
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.