Week Four: A published writer

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Sunday, June 27, 2021


Madison Brewer

Last week, I learned a lot about being a working writer. But this week, I became a published writer! My first story appeared on the Physics Today website on Friday, June 25. (Don’t worry, I’ve marked it in my calendar.) 

I have been working on my first story since the first week of my internship. The process was long, but seeing my words appear on the website makes it all worth it. Writing a professional story is rather simple, but at the same time, it is very complicated. The idea is straightforward enough: read an academic paper and find a narrative. But in practice, writing is a team sport. After you’ve finished your draft, you send it to the editors for comments. You fix the comments, you send it back, you get more comments. This process repeats until the story is fully polished. (It usually won’t take more than three rounds of comments.) But the editing isn’t over yet. The researchers—the original paper writers—get to comment on your work. Then you send the piece to the copy editors, who look for Physics Today style. It gets looked at by the proofreader and a final check from the editors. After all that, the story is finally posted. 

My first story was about sodium layers above Boulder, CO. You can read my story here!

As for my social life, it has been flourishing (given, of course, that we’re all online). I video chatted with some of the other interns on Monday evening. We compared the physics and astronomy programs at our schools. I was really surprised to hear that at small colleges, they had classes with only three students. At my large university, those classes wouldn’t form!

On Wednesday, I met Maura for coffee and to work together. We went to a small Pittsburgh cafe with these delicious giant cookies. Usually I get snickerdoodle, but this time I went for chocolate chip. Next time, though, I think I’ll have to return to snickerdoodle. Maura’s fancy cappuccino was in a large mug, but my decaf latte was only in a plastic cup. (I was jealous of her mug—it was so fun!) 

This weekend, I plan to relax. But my next story is already to the editors, so hopefully I will soon have a second published story on my resume.

Madison Brewer (she/her)