Science Writing 101

Writing is cathartic, fun, challenging, greatly unappreciated, and frequently a great pain in the ass.  Was it Hemingway who said writing is easy?  You sit at your typewriter, and bleed.  Maybe it wasn’t, but it’s a great saying.

These are only some of the adjectives we can use to describe what we (most of us) do.  There is another to add to this list, responsibility.  Writers have molded much of our society in terms of its details.  Through our words, we help others understand the world as we see it.  Part of that challenge may mean having to invent a wholly new word, like lollipop or conundrum.  Another part may be showing others that the way we use certain words today is plain confusing.  As writers we have to be like Master Chefs within our craft.  It’s alright to write like we’re from “du gett-toe,” but if you write in dialect you have to know what you’re doing.  I certainly don’t!

Whatever your specialty may be, you are going to know your words much deeper than the ordinary reader.  My specialty happens to be philosophy and science.  And here’s a quick observation about science.

The word sucks.  It’s a terrible word.  Richard Feynman once said it has at least three popular meanings.  It gets bandied about by lobbyists, politicians and pundits, each claiming some kind of holier-than-thou position over the competition simply because they said the magic word.

The word, science, is terrible because it has multiple meanings.  Over the next few days we’ll talk about those meanings one at a time.  I’ll need your help on this one, because some of the meanings may require inventing a new word.  But if you’re a writer, that’s a piece of cake.  And as Master Crafters, we can make a cake from scratch.

Time to nosh some cake.


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