Writing and Editing as Art and Science


In late April my third-grader received homework relating to the elementary school’s annual “Science Matters Day”: explaining how music and sound relates to science.

We are a household of science buffs, so with customary gusto my son and I scoured the internet for sources that could inform his answer. Turns out that finding elementary-level explanations relating music and sound to science is no easy task!

Finally, we teased out a four-sentence answer (Ethan was especially excited to use the piano, the instrument he plays, as an example):

Music is an art, but also has real-life examples of things you can learn in science. For example, sound is caused by something emitting energy in the form of a vibration. The movement is called sound waves. When you play a piano and the hammer strikes the strings that cause vibrations, that causes vibrations, sound waves and the music you hear.*

Similarly, writing and editing also hold dual roles as art and science. Reflect on the beauty of – and effort that went into – an engrossing book … a thought-provoking article … an amusing blog … some convincing marketing promotional copy …  an attention-grabbing tweet.

Or consider the virtuosity of skill required in editing that book/article/blog/marketing/tweet, determining which words to revise just so to produce a finished version that will reach out, and speak to the reader.

Unlike the Greek goddesses Aphrodite and Athena, great wordsmithing doesn’t spring fully formed onto the digital or printed page! The science of good writing and competent editing requires patience and practice, plus ongoing work to maintain one’s expertise and willingness to continue learning about the craft

So take a moment, and marvel at the artistry represented by the finished product of whatever is it you’re reading today!


*These nifty websites – geared towards kids and adult non-scientists – contributed to the above explanation of the how music and sound relates to science:


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