It’s the last day of 2014, and you know what that means: time for a recap of the year! To celebrate the turn of the year, here’s a brief review of what I’ve learned about writing in 2014. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

2014-fireworks

Juggling grad school and a blog is hard work…

I was admitted into a graduate program at the beginning of this year (yay!), and I’m now halfway toward achieving a Master’s degree in Marine Ecology. While I have been enjoying the experience so far (stressful as it may be at times), it also takes away from the time I would otherwise spend writing creatively. Sometimes I have to spend all day at my university, and even when I don’t, there are still scientific papers to read and lab files to organize for my thesis. With everything I have to handle at once, I’ve come to learn a harsh truth: multitasking is hard!

…but miraculously, I can do it.

Despite the challenges of balancing these passions of mine, I’ve still managed to keep up with my creative writing. I haven’t yet fallen behind schedule on my blog posts, and I still stay ahead on ideas for upcoming topics. Let’s hope it stays that way; next year is going to prove even more challenging!

Scientific writing and artistic writing are surprisingly similar…

Whether written for a scientific journal, a literary magazine or a book, prose is prose, and all of it is subject to a basic foundation of rules. Aside from obvious guidelines such as grammar and spelling, scientific papers and fictional stories both have to follow a set structure in order to be complete, that is, they need a clear beginning, middle and end. Both require a ton of editing and proofreading before being released to the public, and when not written well, expect a storm of criticism to rain down shortly after publication.

…yet also very different.

Scientific writing requires that you follow strict formatting rules (so strict, in fact, that one mistake can get your whole paper rejected for publication), while artistic writing offers much more freedom to experiment. Art is also considerably more flexible about getting facts straight than science. In other words, there are plenty of things you can get away with in art that you can’t in science. But more on that subject later.

Writing is and always will be my one true calling.

Whatever I do in my life, there will be times when I seriously doubt if I have what it takes to be successful at it. It’s happened with my singing, with my video editing and even with science. The only exception is writing. Though I’ve dealt with my fair share of doubts and stress when it comes to my writing, I have never once questioned if it’s something I was born to do. I know it is. It’s embedded in the very core of my soul. And it always will be.

So what about you? What have you learned about your writing in 2014?

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