The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Adventures in manuscript-writing

I’ve been working on a manuscript on and off for a few months, but diligently for the past few weeks.

I enjoy writing, and usually start these things with a positive outlook (“My research is awesomesauce :D <3!”), but things go off-kilter when I start to tackle the introduction, and then all hell breaks lose once I get to the discussion.

Usually by the time I hand it in for review, I hate it and wonder why I ever wanted to write the stupid thing in the first place. (In reality, they’re never actually that bad, but I am very supremely excellent at being my own worst critic.)

I got the dratted draft paper off to my advisor mere moments ago.

And then, probably because I’ve been immersed in the creation (and re-creation… and re-re-creation) of figures for days, I felt compelled to share my manuscript-writing experience in the form of a graph (Fig. 1). Behold:

Fig. 1. Writing a Manuscript, by The Geek In Question

Do any of you go through similar cycles when working on papers?  Also. I would be super-entertained if you felt compelled to create your own graph, and share it with me (I’d post it here or share any links!)

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Yay! Easily-entertained grad students with too much time on their hands! :D

David Winter from The Atavism gives us another take on the manuscript-writing process (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Another take on manuscript-writing, by David Winter from The Atavism

Morgan Jackson at Biodiversity in Focus created this to explain what it’s like Doing Taxonomy (Fig. 3):

Fig. 3. Taxonomic Process Graph, by Morgan Jackson at Biodiversity in Focus

These are great! Any more takers? :D

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Update #2: Yay! Easily-entertained professional research entomologist with too much time on his hands! :D

Ted MacRae at Beetles in the Bush shows his version of the ups and downs of entomological research (Fig. 4):

Fig. 4. The ups and downs of bug collecting, by Ted MacRae

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23 responses to “Adventures in manuscript-writing

  1. Ted C. MacRae April 2, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Awesome graph!
    I’ll definitely have to come up with one of my own – it’ll be different from this for sure.

  2. Morgan Jackson April 2, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    Freaking. Awesome! I’m with Ted, I think I’ll have to share my personal take! Very cool new meme Geek!

  3. Pingback: The Taxonomic Process » Biodiversity in Focus Blog

  4. David Winter (@TheAtavism) April 3, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    Nice! Don’t forget the crash that happens where you read the reviewers comments on what you had finally convinced yourself was an interesting/well argued/bullet proof addition to the world’s knowledge.

    (My graph would have a sort of loop in “I effed up the stats” and “Oh, no wait, I can run this analysis again… what’s another week of my life” )

    • TGIQ April 3, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      Oh, those would be good to include. Also, the stage where, years later, you go back and re-read what you wrote and think, “how could anyone have published THIS?” Meh, too depressing to add. The graph’s bad enough already :P

  5. David Winter (@TheAtavism) April 3, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    Because I’ve got never better do do…. My one

  6. Chris Buddle April 3, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Good post. And it applies regardless of career stage, and regardless of how many times you go through the process.

  7. allthingsbiological April 6, 2012 at 6:48 AM

    I just finished working with a team of students on a project for a major science competition. When I catch up on sleep I may have to follow your example and chart our course of progress, non-progress and exhaustion!

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