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Anyone can be a freelance writer these days I heard someone recently grumble. While it is true that it is easier than ever to break into the industry, it is by no means possible for just anyone to do it. Becoming acknowledged in a niche area such as science is even harder again. So, for those of you contemplating making the transition from your day jobs, or are looking to top up your earnings while you travel the globe, here is a brief analysis of the basic skills that you will need to possess in order to be successful.
Unlike a more generic form of freelancing, to excel in the area of science you need to be thorough and meticulous as you will need to do a lot of research on some fairly complex subjects. Failure to do due diligence will be picked up on you will inevitably make mistakes.
You will also need to have an analytical and mathematical mind. Science does not lend itself to those who are more creative in their mindset. It is highly likely that you will need to analyze data in order to compile your reports.
This probably feels like a no-brainer, but there is no point in even attempting to go down this route unless you have a genuine love of science. If you do, then you will quickly end up not just bored out of your mind but out of your depth. This is not one of those subjects that you can just wake up one morning and decide to start writing about. If science is not your thing, then give it a wide berth and leave the field clear for those who do have a genuine interest.
Because it is technical by nature then you will need to have above average writing skills and a flair for grammar. There are some areas that you can get into with average skills. Science writing is not one of them. If you have a love of science but feel that your writing skills might just let you down, then please take the time to brush up on them.
Because you will have to spend long hours poring over data and compiling quite complex reports and articles then caveperson mentality needs to be your default position. If you need to be constantly surrounded by people then this is probably not for you.
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