Introduction to Methods for the First Draft

Vira Rebryk prepares to throw the javelin in 2012 at ‘Spitzen Leichtathletik Luzern’, Lucerne, Switzerland. Source

Probably one of the most frustrating parts of the writing process is actually getting words to paper, aka “the first draft”.

It’s not uncommon (for me, anyway) that after finding the time and having the energy to put words to paper, they fail to present themselves. It’s a frustrating feeling that can lead to doubting myself as both a writer and an academic.

I forget that the brain is like a muscle and that writing is a skill. Even the most skilled track and field athletes warm up differently to run the 100 meter dash than to throw the javelin. Furthermore, being skilled at both events requires an athlete to learn and apply two different sets of techniques.

A similar concept applies to being an academic and/or scientist.

Designing experiments, conducting experiments, and writing a manuscript are all essential skill sets that require distinct techniques.

This is the beginning of a blog series that will explore and describe several methods and techniques (below) for approaching the drafting process. Some of these may work as “warm ups’’ to transition your brain to the writing process. Others will be techniques to be employed directly in the drafting step. None are meant to be mutually exclusive.

The goal of this series is to provide academic writers, like yourself, with tools to personalize and improve the writing process.

I encourage you to experiment with them, find what works for you, and then tell me about it. What worked? What didn’t work? Why not? Perhaps your experience will make it into a future post. ;)


Drafting Techniques and Methods:

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Ada K. Hagan
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I am a microbiologist with a passion for making science accessible. I hope to use my background in communications and higher education to help make scientific concepts more easily understood and make the academy more inclusive to future scientists from all backgrounds.