I recently contemplated starting a Science blog. The aim of that blog would be to take cutting edge research from the bench and make it accessible to the lay person. As with all new things, I began doing what I do best: research. I read other science blogs, read commentaries, and researched the impact of science blogs on Science and careers. That's when I stumbled across this article in Science Magazine: Science Blogging and Tenure. The article discussed the pros and cons of science blogs. In some cases it can further a scientist’s career. In other cases it can be seen as a liability, time away from the bench that doesn’t impact current scientific research. The article went on to cite Thomas Levenson, Program Head and Director of the Graduate Program at MIT who gave the advice: “Don’t be stupid….For those of us without a permanent position, this may be viewed unkindly by our current or future employers.”
Well, I guess I am one of those, and while my liability or asset (the jury’s still out on that) is not science blogging, it is fiction writing. When I contemplated publishing my novels, I considered the impact on my career as a scientist. I chose a demi-pseudonym. Why? I needed to keep my professional life and my writing life separate. I wanted people who googled me in the capacity of my daytime profession to find information relating to my contribution to science. And when people googled the novelist Jewel Amethyst, I wanted them to find info pertaining to my work as an author. To me it was simple. At least for a while…
Now I’m at a crossroads. I’m transitioning. I’ve updated my CV, made sure my digital footprint was squeaky clean, requested the old transcripts, but then the burning question: should I include my works of fiction on my CV. It is an accomplishment isn’t it? Some folks have suggested I do, others have warned against it. As in the case of Science blogging, it could be taken two ways. Either the prospective employers view it as an asset, an accomplishment that sets me apart from the sea of aspiring authors: I’m a published author. Or they can see it as a liability; time spent away from science. One question I get asked anytime any one discovers that I’m a published author is, “When do you find time to write?” It is a legitimate question. Would prospective employers see my writing as an impediment to important scientific research? (Before you say “Duh” remember science is not a 9 to 5 job).
So while the title of this post is “To blog or not to blog”, that is not really the question I am asking. I’ve already decided that creating a science blog will depend on the demands on my time. The question I’m asking is, “Should I include my fiction writing achievements on my CV (resume)?
I really would like to know what you readers think.