Hi there! I am Ana, and I love helping scientists like you with their writing. My superpower (commonly known as expertise) is creating a more mindful writing experience that will help you have a happier academic life. The “happier” is why I wake up ready to do this work every day.
I have more than 15 years of research experience working in several institutions in Spain and The Netherlands. Most of my academic life was at Wageningen University and NIOO-KNAW, both top institutions in the fields of Ecology, Agriculture, and Life Sciences. I am fascinated with how microbes, plants, and insects interact in nature, and how we can implement fundamental knowledge of ecology in developing sustainable agriculture. During my research career I have written articles (see my GoogleScholar), supervised MSc and Ph.D. students and supported their writing process, performed as a reviewer for more than 20 journals, and acted as an editor for Journal of Ecology, Plant Biology, and Frontiers in Plant Science. This was the self-promotion paragraph, now is when things get interesting…
I loved writing each of those papers, but at the same time, I struggled a lot. There were times I thought I could not do it, resulting in procrastination and lots of stress. But I was not the only one among my colleagues (although at that moment I thought I was), and in my role as a supervisor, I saw it was also common among students and PhDs. To see these students improving their writing and growing as scientists, has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career, and the main motivation to start I focus and write.
Getting more personal, I am a highly sensitive person that feels deeply all things that happen in my life, the good and the bad. This keeps me awake at night thinking about a cool idea or some bad news I heard. It also gives me a strong need to be in a quiet space now and then. Which is very difficult when you love to be with people, and your hobbies include doing activities with two amazing and active sons, travelling the world (I am currently in Southeast Asia living a conventional life following my husband’s career), and partying until late at night (yep, I still love that). Practicing Yoga, meditation and mindful walks are what helps me balance all this, and what motivated me to become a Yoga teacher!
Here are some further facts about me to get to know me better:
I love the beach (swimming, walking or sunbathing is my cure for almost everything). When I was younger I wanted to be a marine biologist. Unfortunately, I threw up during every single boat trip we did during my studies.
This probably was a good thing, because then I ended studying the most amazing creatures on Earth…insects! I am a partner in a company called Bionostrum, a spin-off start-up of my Ph.D. (done at CIBIO, at the University of Alicante). We mass-produce a hoverfly that kills aphid pests so fewer pesticides are needed. I simply find it super cool.
I have an autoimmune affliction (ankylosing spondylitis) that causes inflammation in some joints of my lower back. It has a fascinating link with the gut microbiome, so I take care of it as my third child. This was the reason I started to practice yoga in my early 20s after my doctor’s advice (and he was right).
I am one of the least physically flexible persons I know. Yes, and I still love doing Yoga! Because Yoga is not about being flexible, but about controlling the “monkey mind”. Breathing and meditation are what brings amazing benefits, especially for “knowledge workers”, as we scientists are.
I suffer from impostor syndrome EVERY DAY. This has been a major block for me, together with other issues such as being a serial procrastinator, or a recovering unhappy achiever (I love using these kinds of terms to label myself, by the way). But luckily, I have made great progress on controlling these self-limiting thoughts, and if you also suffer them, you can make progress too!
Writing is the most important aspect of a scientific career, as it´s how we communicate our research with the world. But doing so (and especially not doing so) is also one of the most common sources of stress, especially for early-career scientists. With I focus and write I want to support you to develop a more mindful strategy of scientific writing, and basically, to have a happier scientific life.
Should we start with your writing? Click here to see how I can help you!
If you want to know more about my scientific background you can read my CV here
If you'd like to build a meditation routine for a more productive, creative and happier scientific life, I have for you some tips (as seen in Nature!), and a "meditation box" to start.