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Results of first freelance survey are out. Can freelance science writers make a living at what they do? Make a decent living at it? What kind of stuff do we write, and for whom do we write it? How do we think the National Association for Science Writers treats its freelance members?

A discussion on the NASW Freelance Listserv dealt with tips for writing about medical conferences. For example: Are chinos okay at a radiologist's meeting? What do cardiologists eat for lunch? Do you need a laptop, or maybe a pen that'll write in the dark during PowerPoint displays? And the big one: To tape or not to tape?

Nonfiction writers used to be generalists, even science writers. Not now, not for a long time. To get an assignment today, you specialize. Editors are looking for a particular approach to a subject, a certain tone or, occasionally, deep knowledge. For science writers in particular, showing that you have written on a topic before can confer on you instant expertise and create confidence that you understand its complexities.