Writing is Hard

I am writing this week.  A large part of scientific work is actually writing — writing grants or results or simply writing protocols — but I am also dealing with fiction, too.  And when I’m left staring at a blank page for this many projects, I can only think of one thing:

Today I submit the last chapter of my dissertation for peer review to the journal PLoS Biology.  I’ve been collecting data and running analyses and writing up the results of this work for over two years now — plus I’m falling behind on the projects for my new lab — so I am eager to get this off my plate.  After that, I have to edit a paper that I am a co-author on.  PLoS Biology is an open-access journal, so I’ll blog about those results once they’re all published.  I hope it will all be done and taken care of by the end of this year.

As for fiction, I’ve got to re-edit and rewrite a short story I wrote late last year, “Dog’s Death.”  I’ve submitted “Dog’s Death” to two small literary magazines, but both rejected it.  They each sent me a very nice form-letter:

Thank you for sending us “DOG’S DEATH.” We appreciate the chance to read it. Unfortunately, the piece is not for us.

Gary Fisketjon, editor at Knopf, said that Raymond Carver had to write twenty drafts of his stories before they were just right.  “Dog’s Death” is only on its seventh or eight revision.  Maybe I’ll have the story where it needs to be by the end of this year.

So, that’s what I’m doing this week — writing.  And no one ever believes it, but it’s true: writing is hard.

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