Science writing can be rewarding and frustrating in equal measure. But one thing it always demands in time, something research-active scientists often lack. Finding equilibrium between your day job and your sideline as a science writer can challenging, but in this post, we explore strategies to help you strike a balance and make the most of both roles.
1. Prioritise and Manage Your Time
This sounds obvious, but balancing two demanding roles requires effective time management. Prioritise your tasks, set clear goals, and establish a schedule that allows dedicated time for both your scientific work and your writing pursuits. Consider allocating specific blocks of time each week for your science writing, whether it’s early mornings, evenings, or weekends. By being intentional with your time, you can ensure that both your science and writing commitments receive the attention they deserve.
2. Set Realistic Writing Goals
Set realistic writing goals that align with your availability and workload as a scientist. It’s fine to dream big, but you need a practical plan to achieve your goals. Determine how much time you can devote to your writing sideline, whether it’s writing a certain number of articles per month or completing a book chapter within a specific time frame. By setting achievable goals, you can avoid overwhelming yourself and maintain a sustainable writing routine.
3. Find Inspiration from Your Research
Leverage your scientific work to generate ideas for your writing. Look for interesting aspects of your research that can be presented in a more accessible and engaging way. Your expertise as a scientist provides a unique perspective that can make your writing more compelling. By integrating your scientific knowledge into your writing, you can showcase your expertise while connecting with a broader audience.
4. Use Writing as a Creative Outlet
View your science writing as a creative outlet that complements your scientific work, because this will motivate you to continue your efforts. Writing allows you to explore new ideas, communicate complex concepts in simpler terms, and experiment with different writing styles. Embrace the opportunity to express your scientific knowledge in a more creative and engaging manner.
5. Network with Fellow Science Writers
Connect with other science writers, both within and outside your scientific community. Engage in discussions, attend workshops, and participate in online forums to build a network of like-minded individuals. Collaborating with other science writers can provide support, inspiration, and valuable feedback. Networking also opens doors to potential writing opportunities and helps you stay informed about trends in your field.
6. Discover the difference between “binge writing and “snack writing
Binge writing involves dedicating a concentrated period to immerse yourself fully in your writing. It’s like a writing marathon, where you set aside a specific block of time, such as an entire day or a weekend, to focus solely on your science writing. But these great blocks of time are hard to find, and thinking that this is the only way to get writing done is a major barrier to actually getting it done.
Instead, try snack writing. This involves using shorter pockets of time throughout your day to work on your science writing. It’s a more flexible approach that allows you to write in smaller increments, such as during lunch breaks, while commuting, or in between experiments. Snack writing allows you to maintain a consistent writing practice, even if it’s in smaller doses. Over time, these snippets of writing add up, resulting in a completed project.
7. Communicate with Your Employer
Openly communicate your passion for science writing with your employer or supervisor. Discuss how your writing sideline can complement your scientific work and contribute to your professional development. Seek opportunities to merge the two, such as writing research articles or contributing to your institution’s communication efforts. By gaining support and understanding from your employer, you can create a more harmonious balance between your roles.
8. Take Care of Yourself
Lastly, remember to take care of yourself and avoid burnout. Balancing two demanding roles can be challenging, so it’s crucial to prioritise self-care. Maintain a healthy work-life balance, engage in activities that recharge you, and seek support from friends, family, or mentors. By nourishing your well-being, you can sustain your passion for both science and writing in the long run.
9. Develop your skills
Finding balance between your day job as a scientist and your sideline as a science writer requires effective time management, realistic goal-setting, and a supportive network. Developing your popular science writing skills also helps you make more efficient use of your time. Contact us now to find out how we can help you polish your science writing.