Here’s this week’s Ask a Scienceblogger question:
How is it that all the PIs (Tara, PZ, Orac et al.), various grad students, post-docs, etc. find time to fulfill their primary objectives (day jobs) and blog so prolifically?…
Funny you asked. It’s actually rather a long story. You see, about a year and a half ago, I had this idea to write a book. But, I thought to myself, my problem is that I’m not really an expert in anything. If only I had a real expert who could help me out with, you know, facts and things, I think I could write an excellent book.
After racking my brain trying to figure out which of my friends might be interested on working on a book with me, I realized that my best friend — my wife Greta — was actually an expert in psychology. So here’s what I proposed to her: if she could provide me with a steady supply of psychology articles, I’d read them, ask her for help when I didn’t understand them, and then explain them in terms non-psychologists could understand. Since I am a layman, when it comes to psychology, I would have a good idea what most non-experts might need to know.
Then, on a whim, I suggested that as we compiled this research, I could write up each article on a blog. Perhaps we could generate a little “buzz” for our book before it was even published. Now, over half a million visitors later, I suppose we’ve generated more than a little buzz.
So how do we manage all this, along with our “day jobs”? The answer is that I don’t have a day job. I work on CogDaily and other writing projects about 4 or 5 hours a day, then spend the rest of the time driving the kids here and there, running errands, and generally making sure the household doesn’t fall apart. Greta and I meet every Friday to discuss the week’s articles on CogDaily, and Greta spends a few hours a week on her own finding stuff for me to write up, as well as checking up on what I’ve written to make sure I haven’t committed a major gaffe. That leaves plenty of time for Greta’s day job.
All in all, it’s a nice arrangement. The only question remaining is, what happened to the book? The answer: we’re still working on it, but we’re taking our time about it. Cognitive Daily has taken on a life of its own, and sometimes we wonder whether a book is even necessary.