I’m reading a book, and it’s made me want to write more. That’s a wonderful position for an emerging scientist to be in. Because by and large, our voice, our promotions our success and our very industry is underpinned by writing. And let face it, most of that writing is a bit dull; both to write and to read. Reference lists rarely excite our colleagues with writing inspiration – although as a meta-analyst I have at times been found giddy seeing a well curated one.

But it needn’t be so. In the excellent ‘How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing’ , Paul J. Silva outlines how to be a more productive writer and author, and with it, simply enjoy it more. I highly recommend it.

The book makes a well-articulated argument, and provides what initially seems a startlingly mundane insight. To write a lot, you need to sit down and write. But not just in any way – you need a schedule, you need goals, and you need to stick with it. No matter how painful, no matter if you feel inspired or not, no matter if its good or not, no matter what else you have on your plate, no matter if you have your perfect office, or PC or coffee or whatever. No matter what your excuse is. You need to write. A lot.

So I’m starting this science blog. It’s a way to keep me honed in a more popular voice, and to self-publish ideas that may be frivolous, interesting or even controversial – but all deeply mine. Hopefully, it provides me as a writer and you as a reader with an antidote to some of the dullness of writing or reading grant reports and penultimate discussion paragraphs and the like, and ignites in both of us what we really all should be after: Writing that matters.

– Dr Bernard Coetzee

Published 14 April 2022