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Finding your niche that is writing I Became a specialist Freelance Science Writer

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  •   September 9, 2019
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Finding your niche that is writing I Became a specialist Freelance Science Writer

Whenever I started freelance writing full-time about last year, I didn’t have a lot of an agenda. I became applying to whatever leads I may find on sites like Elance and Odesk and trying to build a portfolio that could get me more simply work. As a result, my focus was scattered: a resume here, a series of blog posts there, the occasional ghostwritten eBook.

This worked, in a fashion of speaking. But I became losing more bids than I was landing—and the main weapon I had was to bid low and bid often. This is bad not just for my own main point here but for the freelancer community most importantly and I also knew it. Eventually, though, as I started initially to get steady operate in a couple of areas I realized that I had a background i really could draw on that could let me specialize.


Before going into freelance writing full-time, I spent a true number of years as a study biologist. I originally started on that path because brilliant science writers like Stephen Jay Gould and Carl Zimmer had opened up the realm of the sciences that are natural me with creativity and wit. I had finally found something worth planning to college for. As an undergraduate I fell so in love with Ecology—the branch of biology for creative types—and spent the next years that are few in that world.

After college and a stint in grad school, I quickly realized that there aren’t many jobs for ecologists within the world that is real thus I went along to work in many other areas. Used to do research in public places health, infectious disease, and neuroscience, while volunteering with the Audubon Society plus in community gardens. All the while I happened to be building a good foundation that will help me to eventually find my specialization, at the time although I didn’t know it.

Finding my niche

Fast-forward to about half a year ago, when I realized that almost all jobs I was landing were in Science and Medical Writing. Not just that, but these jobs paid a lot more than most of the other jobs I became fighting over along with other freelancers once we all slashed our bids to your minimum. I already had a portfolio of articles on avian ecology, molecular biology, organic gardening techniques, and public health. I experienced real credentials and a solid resume. And I could present myself as an expert writer in these areas. As just that: an expert science writer specializing in environmental news, medical writing, research, gardening and green tech so I rebranded myself.

My proposals became more targeted. I became submitting fewer of those, but immediately saw a much higher acceptance rate. Because I happened to be only trying to get jobs in which I knew I became perhaps one of the most qualified writers into the room, i possibly could spend more time back at my proposals and ask for higher rates. I already knew which buzz words would demonstrate that I happened to be comfortable with scientific nomenclature. And clients responded to that. I occupy a niche that is great I’m not a med student trying to earn money in the side—I’m a freelance writer. But I’m also not a generalist freelance writer—I’m an expert Science and Medical freelance writer.

You can find pitfalls to specializing—and it is vital that you avoid them. Try not to make your section of expertise so specific that you could only bid using one sort of job. As opposed to being just a science writer or perhaps a writer that is medical I’m both. But I have a diverse portfolio in both these areas as well. I have many years of experience as a gardener, but am formally trained as an Ecologist. And I have worked in public areas health, but additionally understand biology that is molecular. I would be severely limited in terms of the jobs that would be available to me if I could only bid on one of these areas.

The first rule to being a successful expert science writer could be drawn directly from Evolutionary Biology. A few of the most successful organisms use a strategy called optimal foraging behavior: they seek out the foodstuff that they know will give you the biggest payoff, but are ready to try to find other sources of income in the meantime. As an expert science writer, We have a few areas which are my specialty, but I’m not above writing a few gardening guides if I can’t find a big job for the week.

Secondly, know your limitations. As an incident study, once I first rebranded my freelance business, I made the mistake of bidding on a job which was frankly beyond my scope of expertise—liquid chromatography, a laboratory means of purifying mixtures. I was vaguely familiar along with it, and I also had a background in molecular biology techniques like PCR; how hard could it https://www.edubirdies.org/buy-essay-online/ be?

Because it ended up chromatography that is liquid highly complex. And with no direct experience or theoretical training inside them, i really couldn’t learn them overnight. It doesn’t matter exactly how much scientific training you have in other areas, or how quick an autodidactic study you might be. I ultimately had to cancel that job and lost a client that is potentially long-term. So the rule that is second: don’t think that being a specialist science writer enables you to a Science Expert. Adhere to the fields you realize very well, and you’ll be quality material that is consistently publishing.

Thirdly, continually be on the lookout for opportunities to become better at your task. I no longer act as a researcher in Ecology and Evolution, but that doesn’t mean I ever lost my love of the subject. I still attend conferences about environmental issues within my area, but now as a member of this public in the place of a researcher. I never stopped subscribing to magazines that give attention to ecology and nature, and now personally i think confident to send query letters for them. And organizations like the National Association of Science Writers have lots of resources for science writers.

Finally, have fun. I adore writing, and I also love science. Devoted to science writing has allowed me to take on projects that I find interesting and engaging. I can produce work I’m pleased with, and I’m constantly learning more about the natural world.

About the author:

Jim Daley is a freelance writer situated in Chicago. After being employed as a research biologist in avian ecology, public health, and infectious disease, he returned to his first love—writing. He contributes content to gardening and science websites. On his blog, jimdaleywrites, he explores the entire process of balancing creative endeavors with professional freelance writing.