Writing (as you’ve certainly noticed) is hard; and scientists (as you’ve even more certainly noticed) need to do a lot of it. In hindsight, one of the more revolutionary moments in my career was when I figured out that writing isn’t just something that magically happens whenever a research project gets finished. Instead, I figured out, writing is a craft I can learn and practice – just like statistics, or cooking, or tennis. Over the years since this earthshaking (not sarcasm!) realization, I’ve learned a lot, and if I’m not a writing genius, I’m at least a lot better and a lot more efficient than I once was.
Much of what I’ve learned found its way into The Scientist’s Guide to Writing, and I hope you’ll pick up a copy – your library will have it, or can get it, if you don’t want to buy it. But no single book can cover everything, or suit everyone’s preferences.* Fortunately, there are many, many resources out there for scientific writers – those just starting out, or those (like me) who realize that even decades into a career, there’s still more to learn.
So: I’ve set up a curated list of writing resources. I intend to expand and refine it, and I’ll invite readers (there, not here) to drop their own favourites in the Replies. I hope you’ll find the list useful, and please share it widely if you do.
© Stephen Heard February 15, 2022
*^You, for example, may hate writers who put amusing asides into footnotes. If so, you might want to avoid The Scientist’s Guide to Writing – although you’ll miss my references to Agatha Christie and Alan Greenspan naked (not together!) and to Gloria Gaynor’s Best Disco Recording Grammy. Although, come to think of it, if you hate footnotes like that, what are you doing reading this one?