„Do not be daunted by the task, your data deserve to be shared.”
Many researchers find the writing process daunting and procrastinate, hiding in the lab, so as to put off the moment of actually sitting down and writing up the research. The process does not need to be painful though, and it helps if you approach it in stages.
I’ve always found it useful to begin by deciding what sort of story I wanted to tell – the main research question, and why and how it was important that others learn about my findings. I would then proceed to listing all the experiments that were to go in the paper and asking what conclusions may be drawn from them. Ordering the experiments into a logically flowing story would come next. That was useful, as the inventory of experiments often brought to light experiments I’d long forgotten about or data that suddenly made sense as I sat pondering all the scientific evidence before me. These “new” data enriched the story, sometimes leading to its modification.
M I F R D A
Further, the main experiments and their flow informed the flow of the Introduction and the Discussion. Listing the points that I wanted to make and the supporting experiments led to the draft outline. All that was left to do was to expand these points in writing. If I got stuck, I just continued with another section. I found that the fastest way to proceed was to start with the Methods, then go to the Introduction, Figures, then the Results, Discussion, and finally the Abstract, but that is a matter of personal preference. Multiple rounds of reading and re-reading, checking that the logic flow was consistent (ideally, it would be the same in the Abstract, Introduction, and the Discussion), and passing the draft back and forth between co-authors came next.
That, basically, is the secret to manuscript writing – decide on the story, gather your scientific evidence, and tell it as it flows. C’est tout. I will be happy to advise further within the Manuscript Writing Support offered at Peerwith. Do not be daunted by the task, your data deserve to be shared.