A round-up of the year

By Ed Yong | December 31, 2011 10:00 am

It’s been a good and somewhat momentous year. In July, I left my job of seven years to become a fulltime freelancer. Before, the blogging and feature-writing were all leisure-time activities, and they’re now my bread and butter. With just five months in, it’s working out nicely so far and I get to spend a bit more time on the stories I write for this blog. I hope that the quality of the content here is, if anything, improving as a result. Some events of note:

  • I wrote 272 posts for Not Exactly Rocket Science, excluding the weekly “missing links” collections, and including my 1000th post milestone.
  • I started a new blog called Nature Wants to Eat You, celebrating nature’s terrifying mouths, jaws, tongues and teeth.
  • I started a new tip-jar initiative, where I pay the ten writers whose work I most enjoyed in each month. It’s worth noting that reader contributions increase the amount I actually end up donating by around 5 times.
  • Not Exactly Rocket Science became one of the first blogs to feature in the Best American Science Writing 2011.
  • I got to host this incredible commencement speech from Robert Krulwich about the people who don’t wait, and the future of journalism.
  • I learned that I really do have all I need for a blog.
  • I turned 30.

I did other stuff too! Some long-form features…

These are some of my proudest work. They’re where I really get to flex my writing muscles. There are six here, but I’ve actually written ten this year. Four of them will be out in early 2012.

…and lots of news stories and columns

And even a spot of radio…

In which I tell the collected listeners of BBC Radio 4 that they’re sacks of bacteria


As always, I owe a huge amount to the editors who have kicked my pieces into shape, the friends and colleagues who have supported me, and the readers who have deigned to read the messy piles of words that I bash out at my desk. Writing is a lonely and sometimes dispiriting business, and every kind word helps. I’m grateful to all the people I connect with, from all over the world, who make it worthwhile.

And, as has become obligatory but never any less important, my utmost thanks to my wife, Alice, who continues to make it all possible

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Personal, Year in review

Comments (13)

  1. Thanks for all the great science writing throughout the last year, Ed. I’ve been particularly impressed with the bug-related articles you have done. Keep up the good work, and all the best to you for 2012.

  2. Reading your articles often makes me feel I live in Wonderland, indeed. Many thanks for all the enjoyable moments you’ve provided over the years. Please forward my thanks to your wife too. All the best for 2012!

  3. Those messy piles of words help some of us to improve our English while learning about science (not sure if the grammar of this comment creates a conflict with what I’m saying about improvement…). Happy New Year from Spain!

  4. May Chen

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments in 2011! Please do not feel lonely and dispirited – I look forward to your blog every morning. You have a very special, friendly way of sharing science, and your blog never fails to brighten my day. On the weekends I also enjoy your ‘missing links’. Thank you ever so much, and I look forward to more in the coming year.
    Happy New Year to you and Alice!


    PS I would like to contribute to your ‘Support this blog’, but found it it is all set up for British readers. How can folks from the US participate in this tip-jar? Would a check in the mail do?

  5. Best wishes for an equally busy fourth decade!

  6. Well written articles, I like particularly “Yeti crab grows its own food”. Good luck in the future with your writing.

  7. Keith

    Brilliant work, Ed–many thanks! And congrats on a great year!

  8. Susan Farmer

    I do love reading the column! (fellow science geek/nerd)

  9. Thanks everyone!

    @May Chen – It’s set to £, but Paypal will automatically convert any amount you choose into the right currency. Thanks!

  10. Lisa

    Enriching, enlightening, and entertaining! Many Thanks for all the gems!

  11. Daniel J. Andrews

    I have to reactivate my paypal account. I pay for selected journals, magazines, memberships, and so I think it right I should put some money toward those writers/sites that I enjoy reading the most.

  12. Karen

    A fine year for science writing! I have only just noticed Nature Wants to Eat You. Cool!

  13. CB

    Thanks for a fabby year of writing which so many of us have enjoyed. All the best to you and yours for 2012 – and keep those “messy piles of words” coming – we love ’em!


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