Writing (and speaking) like a professional

Dr. at the November 29, 2005 meeting of the NA...

This is the first of a series of articles to look at professional writers and how reading can help your writing.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a writer.  He also happens to be the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.  He has a new book out titled Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.  It is not exactly an historical review of the space program (although there is some of that), it is more a discussion of why we have stopped.  This could seem to have a limited audience; space buffs.  Although space buffs will be interested, it is actually a broader discussion than just space exploration.  Dr. Tyson dives into the political, philosophical and practical implications of space exploration and the lack there or.

Dr. Tyson is not just a highly intelligent, highly educated scientist, he is also an excellent writer.  That title is applied because of his ability to explain complex ideas in ways that almost any reader can understand.  In addition to the readability, it is also entertaining.  He understands and can actually execute the salesmanship required by writers.  He follows in the foot steps of Carl Sagan.  Most people can picture Dr. Sagan immediately upon hearing his name.  He popularized Astronomy including the exploration of the solar system with the Pioneer and Voyager missions.  Dr. Tyson has that same ability, to popularize without marginalizing the intellectual basis of the topic.

Dr. Tyson is also a very good speaker.  He spoke about his latest work on C-Span. There are a lot of writers who want to just write and have people read and appreciate their good work.  Unfortunately, this is not the way the world works.  As a writer, you have to seek out and engage your public.  To be successful as a writer, you will have to get in front of people and talk about your books.  Learning to speak in public is just as important as learning how to write.  Reading other successful writers and watching their public speaking will provide hints and pointers to improve your writing and speaking.


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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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