It is hard to summarize the skills of science writing. Maybe we can claim that thereare three rules for writing scientifically, however, unfortunately, no two snowflakes are alike-for so many variables to consider.
WHAT is the subject matter?
Above all, as a (mathematical) statistics student, I must write professionally and seriouslyall the time. Therefore, thought I am also a fiction writer, I write nonfictionstories most of the time. Because in my opinion, academic or expository writingjust like tell the others a story scientifically.
I am accustomed to coming up with an outline first. It includes the main idea, new model and fancy technical detail of every section as well as the description of the research problem background with suitable quotes from sources. I’ve kept this habit since my freshman year (when I was in Zhou Pei-Yuan Center for Applied Mathematics, Tsinghua University), and I’m so proud it echoes with what I have been taught about structure since I became a graduate student.
During my part time, I just write novel as a fictionist. For fiction, I will start from thinking how make the characters lively and interesting. As such, think through their quotes and their tones, create contradictions and conflicts to highlight the contrast between the roles. Ultimately, write down the story that I really want to tell through their experiences. It’s very scientifically, I am sure.
WHO is going to be the target audience?
All my familiar friend would know that I’m keeping a diary and research jotting whose reader is only myself. I always write very fast and never revise. Because of my peculiarity and absolutely narcissistic, I prefer to use orange pen with black ink and thick journals with purple covers, meanwhile, I hardly type for indulging in my effortless calligraphy. My diary and research jotting are great inspiration sources for other formal writings, and that’s why I would like to keep it raw. Calligraphy is everything.
If I will have readers, thus I will not actually「write」. I will type because I know a(n) (journal) article is going to be a permanent record of my work and I have to make hundreds and thousands of revisions before I finally feel ok to show it to others, so as not to cause embarrassments everal years from now. Undoubtedly, LaTeX, a standard format of mathematics is more efficient and effective (in some sense).
WHERE am I?
I gradually realized the necessity of keeping the personal separated from the professional. My colleagues are almost all my friends, they visiting my web page, however, probably not interested in my hobbies or opinions. They prefer to get my papers, preprints, curriculum vitae as well as contact info and curious about my research progress. Conversely, only my friends instead of my colleagues are just probably not interested in my research papers.
Hence, I made a detailed column of this blog. 「Markov恋」is the snapshot of my private life, my work patterners could skip it; 「时变函数」is used to update on my own research and expository articles; 「调和分析」is discussion of interesting problems and some lecture notes; 「张量几何」is various other topics, usually related to mathematics, statistics and love.
Moreover,I LOVE being alone in my bedroom or apartment rather than library or office when I’m writing, so I can think out loud lightheartedly. I HATE to be witnessed or interrupted. But as long as I’m sure everybody else being busy with their own duties and responsibilities won’t disturb me, I also can work and write in public places.
WHY do I write?
When I was a seventeen-year-old girl, I was absolutely interested in all the math around me. Furthermore, I want to spend my energies on creating new mathematics than trying to fight over the old mathematics. This is the ultimate reason for all my writing.
By the way, we all want to work out world-renowned BIG CONJECTURE which struck us for a long time, but have to do something in silence that only a professional could understand.
Anyhow, I must strive to find my own voice-think big, even if you can’t temporarily.
WHEN is the deadline?
Submitting a paper is a technical work. For every graduate student, it has an urgent deadline when the thesis paper due. However, I always like to describe myself as slow. Unlike the other mathematicians or statisticians who solve problems with quicksilver brilliance, I gravitate toward deep problems which I can chew on for years. Thus, if my boss doesn’t push me, I will procrastinate and procrastinate and procrastinate.
In fact, he did never push me=)
It sounds so fantastic.
Okay, start science writing and writing scientifically:)