I got really interested in science communication about three years ago. The most obvious outcome of this interest is the fact that you are reading these lines now.
Since then, I’ve done some pretty awesome stuff like co-host and be a guest on some science podcasts, did science stand up comedy, wrote few small pieces for the university science popularisation page and got a mini-degree in Science Communication and Outreach. Compared to some of the more popular scicommers (jargon alarm!) I’ve done nothing of great importance, but I needed to start somewhere and I’m very happy with having done these things. It also wasn’t easy finding the time to do all that while doing my PhD, but that’s probably for another rambling article.
Now that Incubatorium is a website and not just a blog, I feel like I’ve finally figured out things and am doubly excited to learn more. After all, science communication is nothing without the learning!
The most valuable thing I’ve learned in these three years I’ve been actively doing this is that creativity is very hard work!
It might have been obvious for someone in the creative arts or for someone further along their scientific career than I, but certainly was a revelation for me.
Truth is, I was convinced that journalists and other science communicators are somewhat genetically predisposed to be creative (figuratively speaking ofc!). And I was freaking out to the thought that the ideas for my work (mostly for the writing) did not just came to me in my sleep or materialize out of thin air.
Eventually, I learned to accept that I couldn’t be more wrong (another useful skill in life in general)! I was struggling with finding the source of my inspiration, but all along my mistake was that I was merely looking for it and not building it.
If you look at my mailbox now, on a daily basis I receive at least 30 different summaries and digests from various websites and at least as many updates from people I follow (other scicommers, scientists or people I just find interesting). It might not sound like a big number, but it is A LOT. Even more so, if you want to dedicate decent time to actually read through all that valuable content – virtually impossible, if you want to keep your job too.
But on the bright side – rarely a day passes now when I don’t get an idea about something cool to write about. Then of course it’s the struggle to find the time to do so, but one problem at a time!
So I learned that it might be that some people are naturally creative and come up with wonderful ideas in a snap, but when we talk about creativity related to a field of ultimately endless learning like science
you can’t possibly expect ideas to come out of nowhere without actually doing the learning yourself!
And discovering and accepting that creativity in my case is a daily nurtured and carefully trained skill, made the difference. Now I have the routine I know works and actually feel great about it! And in all fairness, I’d rather get inspiration from the creativity of a million other people that be myself as creative as one the most creative person on earth – the strength once again is in the numbers!