When you don't know what to write

I usually post on Mondays. I've figured, why not start the week with a fresh post. But yesterday I couldn't manage to write anything...

I browsed the web for news but couldn't find anything I wanted to talk about. I mean I found interesting topics for sure, but I just couldn't find it in me to write about them. We went for a walk with my fiance,  me thinking that changing my mind would help. When we came back, I sat down in front of my desk...nothing.

I have subjects I want to discuss for the next couple of weeks, so it is not as if I have no ideas coming. But for some reason, this week seemed like I was not going to have a post. When I told that to a friend (he is also in science) his words to me were: well, you don't have to always write do you?

He is right, off course, I don't HAVE to write every week. I had put it on my mind that I would get a post out every week. One per week didn't seem like much, it gave me enough time to think and write, and if it was a question I was answering, it would give me time to do a bit of research too.

And then I started writing this post, about how I couldn't manage to find a subject I wanted to write about when I suddenly realized: that is the subject I want to talk about! When you cannot find it in you to write!

I have mentioned several times how important is to keep a proper lab book, but here is a confession: often I go for months without writing in it, because I can't get myself to start writing. I keep notes of my experiments , but nothing organized. Until all of the sudden one day, I just take my lab book and write away. The same happened to my master's memoir; I couldn't write everyday, I didn't have it in me. So I did other stuff, read, experiments, even write on another subject (books mostly) and somehow, without any notice, my mind would shift into my memoir and a whole chapter was done on that day.

Off course I realize that, unlike this blog, often we have to deal with deadlines: to send an abstract, to send the corrections of an article, to send the document for a seminar. Which is why I usually start "working" on those WAY in advance. Because I know I get "writer's block" more often than not and hence need to give myself space to catch one of the good days. It has worked for me, I even got a prize for best memoir. And turns out, the moment I stop thinking about it a post can be written in a couple of minutes. 

Some of you might argue that this post is not really related to science, at least not exclusively. And you would be right. But at the same time, writing is such a big part of a career in science that finding what works for you, to get out of your writer's block seems to me fundamental to continue in the field. More so to me, since I want to go into Science Writing, but never mind that. The point is, find what triggers your writing, what removes that block or at least what helps to nudge it a bit. Sometimes you will get a paragraph out, sometimes you will get a chapter out. But above all, don't despair. Yesterday I couldn't write, mainly because I could not stop thinking about how I wasn't getting any ideas...and yet here we are. Sure, a couple of hours later, but hey...it happens

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