After a slightly longer than normal break from blogging, I am back.
You probably don’t care why I haven’t been visiting this corner of cyberspace as much as I wanted to and it’s likely that most of you didn’t even notice my absence, but I want to tell you about it anyway.
Of course, there are all the usual excuses. I was busy with work and I had problems in my personal life. Rather than excuses they are quite simply statements that don’t even begin to explain the mess my life has been in the past few months, but these are problems affecting all humanity surely, not just me. Even professional journalists, reporters, bloggers, writers have job and personal related problems… but somehow, they manage to keep writing. Why didn’t I?
Rewind the tape of time, and you’ll find me in the library working at my thesis when I received an email saying that an article I had submitted to the Guardian and Wellcome Trust Science writing prize got shortlisted, out of a huge number of excellent other entries. Now, I’m not a writer. Seriously, I’m not. English isn’t even my first language. Who am I trying to fool? For days I kept thinking there must have been a mistake.
September came and in the midst of the last few weeks of thesis writing, I went to a science writing workshop that all shortlisted writers had been invited to attend at the Guardian headquarters in London. Now, this is the kind of event that most normal people would find exciting and motivating. I mean, you should feel privileged, shouldn’t you? However, I have never claimed I was a normal person and something weird happened to me that day that put me off writing for weeks. Could it have been the general sense of competition that was invisibly suspended in the air? Or maybe all that “success talk” that I am so allergic to. “Write like this, don’t write like that, be more witty, be more funny, be concise, be bold, be nice, be brave, be lovely, be original, be precise, be organised, be simply bloody brilliant.”
Alright, listen, I am not half of those things. If I have to wait to be all those things before I can write again I might as well give up and get into gardening instead. It took me more than a month to realise how much all that talking, which should have been inspirational and motivational (and it probably was for most people) actually prevented me from writing again.
Ah yeah, I’m sure that in the list of things to do and not to do I wasn’t supposed to write about a non science subject in my science blog. I should have a personal blog for this.
Oh well. I’m not paid to do this. I write and I always have in life for the simple pleasure of it, so I’m going to go back to that. I’m not going to write for the busy londoners who only read the first half sentence of your post before moving on. I’m not going to write for an editor, for other bloggers or for science experts. I’m going to start writing again for my family and friends, like I always have. And yes, I will write about something even if it’s not fresh news anymore, my family and friends won’t know about it anyway, ah!
Glad I got this out of my chest.
If you still feel like reading something that is vaguely science-y, you can have a look at the edited version of the article that I submitted for the Guardian and Wellcome Trust writing prize here or read the other shortlisted articles here, including the two prize winners. They’re all excellent. I hope you like them and I will be back here very soon this time.