Aha! Or rather, uh-oh. I’ve been writing about how hard it is being unable to write, but I just learned it’s not that I can’t write. The problem is that I can’t find anyone who’s listening. The problem is the writing economy. Especially the science-writing economy. I’m not alone in isolation, but that’s no consolation.
At The Open Notebook: The story behind the best science stories, freelance science writer Kendall Powell writes
[T]he collapse of print advertising, declining magazine subscriptions, the enormous availability of free content online … has writers of all kinds talking and writing about their job security fears and inability to make a living wage in journalism.
Continue reading Science Writing Sinking: It’s Not Just Me
Yes, it’s the first line of Hamlet, but that’s not what I’m writing about. At least not directly.
In my last post, I promised to bring to the table other writers who’ve written about fruitful relationships with imaginary readers.
My own touchstone comes from an essay by Mark Kramer. Continue reading Who’s there?
I never thought I would suffer from writer’s block. As a nonfiction writer, questions are the air I breathe. And questions call out for stories to answer them. But for about a year, since my last published piece, words fail me. I don’t know how to tell anyone about it when a story pops up.
Writers talk about finding their “writing voice.” What is that? It’s nothing like a singing voice, or a classroom voice, or a commanding voice. Continue reading Hello?
Wow, Twitter is a parallel Earth, miniaturized. I should have joined a long time ago. Mea culpa idiotica.
It’s great that there no slow talkers to endure, no meandering, no lugubriousness. The exclamation points are a chuckle – they’re as thick as the hair on a dog’s back.
Twitter search results are both concise and comprehensive. By ‘comprehensive’ I mean that the result of searching on ‘X’ is a kind of map, to scale, of common knowledge about X. Continue reading Twitter, here I am!
My science-writing career is dead in the water. How do I know? I have a big story that I can’t sell (Indoor Air: Why it Makes You Sick & What To Do). And that’s all I have. I have no small stories to introduce myself to an editor at a magazine. Small stories in science cover a new study, or an interesting researcher.
I’ve never developed small stories, because I thought I didn’t need them. Continue reading Dead in the Water
Forgive my curmudgeonliness, but this is a discovery for me. Twitter is good for something.
Twitter as a reporting tool
Further research is needed.
Suppose the practical questions of how to make a home healthy are solved. Suppose we do untangle the science of houses and indoor air, and how they make people sick. Fantastic.
Then what? Who will you call to figure out whether your home is making you sick, and what can be done about it? You’ll call an HVAC contractor, or some other kind of building contractor. It’s your house you want fixed, and they fix houses. Continue reading Who Do You Call? Part 1
I just sent this email to my Congressperson, Earl Blumenauer, who supported Fast Track for the TPP (TransPacific Partnership). He is otherwise an excellent representative.
Free trade is great in theory. I took Econ 101 years ago and learned why it’s so great for nations to maximize what they’re good at making, and sell their stuff to other nations that make other things better than they can. Continue reading Free Trade
I have spent this week sorting what I know about asthma, indoor air, air, houses, and the costs thereof, into different boxes. I have also taken inventory of what I don’t know, and what no one knows, about these subjects. Continue reading Rhetoric of a Pitch
From my last post, a couple days ago:
The obstacles to treating asthma this way are numerous, complex, and mutually reinforcing, like the obstacles to anything new. Fascinating villains, at least to me. And if I tell this story right, also troubling to any reader who might stand to benefit from this idea that she’ll never get a chance at.
So, what obstacles?
Obstacle 1. We don’t even know if this works for more than a few people.
There are a few heartwarming anecdotes, but no denominator. To find out how many people might benefit, someone’s going to have to spend money to collect careful data. Continue reading What Obstacles?