This was followed by a day for early career researchers, which also had a discussion of communication, particularly on how to tie science into narrative, analogies and storytelling. Alvin Stone from the ARCCSS put science/research/PhDs into the context of Joseph Campbell’s “Hero of a Thousand Faces”. The Hero’s Journey is one I’m familiar with from my own interests, and it made me think about what influences how I engage with science.
I think that my history of performing and writing has served me well in science so far. While I initially suffered from the typical young-scientist problem of overly complex/formal language and overqualifying every point, I like to think that I’ve become a fairly good writer and communicator – every paper I write feels easier than the previous, and I’m often complimented on my presentation skills (winning best student presentation last year was lovely).
But along the way, I’ve lost a lot of my creativity, and I miss it. That NaNoWriMo in 2005 was the last time that I wrote a creative piece, and in recent years I’ve been finding it harder to fit singing/theatre into the busy PhD life. Historically speaking, scientists have been big contributors to genres such as Science Fiction, using their science knowledge to inform their future, which apparently includes one Australian Tropical Cyclone expert! Climate change is also becoming an increasingly large part of science fiction writing, with so-called “CliFi” a growing genre which climate scientists are perfectly positioned to contribute to. So clearly there's a place for scientists who are also writers.
So I’m interested in hearing more about other people’s creative journey. Does anyone else struggle to combine their “science” side with their “creative” side? Perhaps blogging is one route back to creativity, as it encourages writing in a less “formal” style…