When I left my post-doc I somehow managed to put to bed everything that I was the primary researcher on. At the time it was great because it allowed me to focus entirely on my new ventures, which are more or less distantly related to what I was doing as a post-doc. The downside of the situation is that I haven't written a manuscript in what is getting dangerously close to a year. Between writing grants and getting the lab going I have managed to keep this fact in the back of my head, but the little bastard gnawed it's way through with the end of the semester.
I think we're getting really close to having enough data on one project in the lab which will lead to a nice publication, but I've decided I've had enough waiting for a writing project to come to me and rather that I should get back on the saddle in a different way. So, I have been batting around an idea for an opinion piece for a while and have been putting it off for various reasons, but mainly because I'm lacking he final piece to the puzzle. Without that it has just been an idea that had potential.
Over the weekend I had a visitor from Europe who I had significantly overlapped with as a post-doc in post-doc city. European Visitor is one of these people who likes to talk a lot of science and has always been a good sounding board, even if their ideas are sometimes from left field. We were chatting about projects we were doing and those which we have been kicking around ideas for and I started explaining my ideas on this opinion piece. EV pointed out a couple of areas I was aware of where the argument might be weak, but then mentioned one way to tie the theories together that made a shit-ton of sense. Why hadn't I seen this when it was right in front of me? Why hadn't it come up in my conversations with others on the topic? Because EV is one of those people who thinks more broadly than everyone else, that's why.
More than most things, I miss the people from post-doc university. The community there was so strong and so thoughtful on a variety of topics that it kept pushing me to be better without me even realizing it. I have good colleagues here, but there is no quiet and friendly competition for excellence that I was used to. I miss that constant pulse that you can't help but get caught up in. I miss being able to walk down the hall and get insight through conversation on something you have been wrestling with for a couple of weeks. It's taken me a while to put my finger on this or even really appreciate what I had.
Now it's time to gather some literature and dig in.