IWSG: What Writers Can Learn from Uranium

InsecureWritersSupportGroupToday’s post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.  It’s a way for insecure writers like myself give each other advice and encouragement.  Click here to see a full list of participating blogs.

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Yesterday, I wrote a brief post about the work of Pierre and Marie Curie, the famous physicists who helped determine the true nature of radiation and radioactive elements like uranium.  In my life as a writer, I often find my roll models among great scientists rather than great writers, and the Curies are no exception.

The Curies had a goal: to figure out what was so special about uranium.  This goal became the obsession of their lives, and they sacrificed a lot to achieve it.  As they worked, the Curies made many startling discoveries, such as the discovery that uranium is not the only radioactive element.  In fact, among all the radioactive elements they studied, they found that uranium was one of the least radioactive.  It’s also thanks in part to the Curies, who in their ignorance touched and handled samples of uranium, polonium, and radium with their bare hands, and who kept these things in their home, that we now know how dangerous radiation can be.

As a writer, I have to stick to my goals just as much as the Curies stuck to theirs.  I’ve had to make my own sacrifices, and where the Curies surrounded themselves with radioactive samples, I surround myself with notebooks, dictionaries, and thesauri.  And just as the Curies’ research led to discoveries they never expected, my writing has led me in directions I never thought I would go.

P.S.: Hopefully nothing about my writing is as deadly as prolonged radiation exposure, but I have developed at least one writing related illness: carpel tunnel syndrome.


11 thoughts on “IWSG: What Writers Can Learn from Uranium

  1. I’m wondering if writing can be as dangerous as prolonged radiation exposure. I sometimes feel ragged after plowing through a long rewrite. Great to meet you. Thanks for stopping in at The Write Game today,


    1. Symptoms of radiation sickness can include headaches, weakness, and fatigue… so maybe there is a similarity. If your writing also causes your skin to start blistering or all your hair to fall out, then perhaps writing really is like radiation exposure!


  2. Oh my goodness! I LOVE your humor! Finding inspiration from radiation poisoning- what a great perspective.

    And I like all the similarities you pointed out- the dangerous territory of exploration, the need to stick steadfastly to your goals, the willingness to stumble along the way.

    Great post!
    (October IWSG co-host)


  3. I too am also inspired by the lives of great scientists. I appreciate your POV. No clue if writing is dangerous. It does not seem to be dangerous, except that time I felt the need to poke a stick in a lava floe. Thanks for sharing. Happy IWSG Day!


  4. I’m being annoying pedantic here, but it’s more a case of learning from the Curies, surely 😉

    Sorry for being a bit of a jerk, you’re right to find inspiration wherever it can be found.


    1. I debated between “What Writers Can Learn from Uranium” and “What Writers Can Learn from the Curies.” In retrospect, perhaps the Curies would have made a little more sense.


  5. Writing can be dangerous! It leads to flights of fancy over bottomless oceans without a net. Falling into our words can produce hours of intense concentration that can only be interrupted by our need to eat, sleep, and… well, you know what I mean.


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