What I’m working on:
I’m freelance, no regular paying gigs. I used to run a small graduate program in science writing and worried, when the program was taken out back and shot, that I wouldn’t remember how to scramble. No worries.
I’ve just finished a story on how galaxies manage their gas supply, which is way more interesting than it sounds, though you’d think I’d know by now how to make it sound as interesting as it is. The story is for Science, for an editor with whom I’ve worked a few times, and a top editor with whom I’ve worked many times. And though I feel at home with these editors, I’m scared to pieces. I’m not sure how enthusiastic they were about the story in the first place, and I’m pretty sure they’ll notice the artfully papered-over gaps in it, let alone the gaps I didn’t even find. I’m worried that these editors with whom I’m so comfortable will be disappointed in me and tell me to write it over again from scratch, or they’ll maybe tell me it’s not even worth saving and here’s $10, go buy a drink. I’ve been a professional writer for maybe 30 years, and terror and despair and self-doubts never go away. I’m used to them. The solution to the problem is easy anyway: I trust that the editors are unlikely to kill the story; and if they do tell me it’s terrible, I’ll fix it.
Also, I’ve just been outmaneuvered by a reviews editor at Nature into reviewing in a small number of words two large, substantive books on related and difficult subjects, which is a real honor, except for the pay that no self-respecting freelancer should ever work for but hey, honor.
And next I have to think up another story to sell to someone. I should probably be trying to think up another book too. Right now I have nothing in mind for a story but I’m full of hope and optimism. I have even less in mind for a book and won’t discuss it. Read more »