Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Book Club: The Scientist's Guide to Writing

 The Scientist's Guide to Writing

Stephen B. Heard

Princeton University Press



I read this book, one or two chapters at a time, months ago. Ironically (maybe), the extensive information Dr Heard presents about motivation, writing momentum, procrastination, etc. did not prevent me falling into a deep trough of non-productivity. Writing this blog post has been on my weekly to-do list for months, never getting checked off. 

Something has changed for me recently. It's difficult to point to a single event or conversation or idea, but I think some combination of those plus perhaps some brain chemistry shifts or cycles means I actually have enough wherewithall to write this.

This is the second how-to-write-like-a-scientist book I've read in the past few years, the other being Josh Schimel's Writing Science - I have a "Quotes and Reference Guide" stuck to the wall above my computer here in my office. The two books are quite different in approach, though there is quite a bit of overlap of basic material. 

Most chapters end with a set of writing exercises. I have long intended to complete some or even all of these exercises, but even the hippo of writing - a realistic-looking plastic toy hippo that appears happy from the side but infuriated from in front (mouth wide open, big teeth) - has not helped me actually get writing done. The rut is real, but perhaps these few hundred words will act as steps up the side of the rut to someplace else.

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