I am about to start writing more grant proposals, again. And, unsurprisingly, it doesn’t fill me with joy. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing. In all its forms. Technical and creative.
But grant writing (and thesis or research paper writing) is always a difficult time for me as it involves constant switching between academic writing all day, and creative writing in the evenings.
Although there are similarities—clear communication, good structure, concise paragraphs, and nice flow—there are differences too. There is a certain tone, style and voice to scientific writing that one must find to be successful. But the question is, should there be?
“Would you rather read writing that’s clear and functional but also fun to read, or writing that’s clear and functional, but nothing more?” – Heard, S.B. 2016.
Technical scientific writing is notoriously stiff, and full of the passive voice. Creative titles, sentences and paragraphs are rare. But when I read a journal article with a witty title, or a really great paragraph that explains research like a gripping narrative, it brings a smile to my face. And makes me wonder if there should be more creative flare in scientific papers.
Of course, academic writing should be professional and formal, but why can’t it also be creative?
Heard, S. B. 2016a. The scientist’s guide to writing: how to write more easily and effectively throughout your scientific career. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, USA