Qualities

Many budding writers interested in science are unaware if they have the qualities it takes to be a successful science writer. As with most professions, it is important to like your job. A science writer should have an affinity for the sciences and, of course, should have a talent for writing or a strong desire to become a writer.

Science writers must have a love of learning. Because science is always continuing, so must a science writer continue to learn about all of the latest in the world of scientific development. Also, science is a widely varied subject. Learning about one specific scientific development may require the writer to learn about a topic, in whole, that is entirely new to him or her. Different types of sciences and different innovations within a particular science can make new lists of vocabulary suddenly relevant and necessary.

Science writing, more so than other types of writing, requires the use of the most up-to-date methods of presentation and media. It has always been a hallmark of science writers to bring their stories to the public through the latest methods.

It is not important if a science writer’s primary course of study is a particular science, English or journalism. Many great science writers have been journalism majors with an interest in the sciences. Many others have been science majors with an interest in writing. At some point, however, the writing must take over as the most important aspect. If the science is more important, the writing should probably be left to someone who has the desire and can commit the energy to doing it well.

This is not to say that it is impossible for a scientist to pursue science writing. If done carefully, a balance can be stricken and time made for both. However, it takes dedication and talent to accomplish a dual career. Many such scientist-writers are prodigies, such as the late Isaac Asimov, who was not only a leading professor and researcher in the field of organic chemistry, but a full-time science journalist and an award-winning science fiction author.