Every so often, I rediscover something I’ve written years prior, and am reminded of how diverse my subjects are. Simultaneously, I’m reminded of how much I enjoy digging into particularly complicated and challenging topics.
Recently, in looking for some writing samples, I came across an article I wrote for Superyacht Business magazine. I penned it seven years ago, which I could hardly believe, because I vividly remember pitching the editor. I was quite excited to pitch him, in fact, because I found the subject fascinating: nanoparticles.
If you’re wondering what nanoparticles are, you’re not alone. I wasn’t familiar with them myself before a chance meeting with executives of a relatively new company. After sitting down with them for less than an hour, though, I was excited by what they were doing, and the potential positive impact. I knew readers of the magazine, who included yacht captains and yacht-industry professionals, would be, too.
In brief, nanoparticles are extremely small particles that have a greater surface area per weight than larger particles. This in turn makes them more reactive, and more useful, in certain situations. Things we use on an everyday basis, including scratch-resistant eyeglasses, employ nanoparticles. The story I wrote (which you can download here) explained how nanoparticles in a fuel additive were making diesel engines more efficient.
Not only were nanoparticles completely out of my wheelhouse writing-wise, so, too, was a story solely on fuel burn. Both of these are what made me want to write the article.
Why? First, if you’ve ever read a piece from a medical journal or technical publication, you know just how dry and, unfortunately, boring they can be. The common refrain in journalism, especially yachting journalism, is that science and technology just aren’t as sexy as design, a.k.a. “the pretty stuff.” They’re also not as easy to explain, or for laymen to understand. However, one of the executives I met had a real skill for breaking down complex information. This, combined with my curiosity (which involved a healthy dose of questions that he readily answered), convinced me that I could tell this story, and tell it well.
I’m pleased to say that, save for some punctuation and minor word changes, my editor ran the story nearly as written. Furthermore, the executives told me that of all the journalists who covered the fuel additive, I was the one who best conveyed what they were doing.
Proof that it pays to push yourself. And trust that complicated topics can be communicated properly.