Your first manuscript will be be very hard
The first manuscript you’ll ever write is probably best described as a ‘slog’. It’ll take 2-3 times longer than you expect. This’ll be from a few different reasons:
- Unfamiliarity with typical structure
- Lack of a structured approach to writing a first draft
- Developing the analysis too late in the drafting of the manuscript (i.e., not as a first step in drafting)
- Deciding the tables and figures to include too late in the manuscript (i.e., after completing the analysis)
- Not knowing how to use MS Word’s advanced features that can help optimize drafting
Here’s a resource that can help
I developed this generic research manuscript over several years of slogging through first drafts of epidemiologic manuscripts. It attempts to address the common problems and includes recommendations for the first drafts.
Here’s what it contains:
- Page 1 – Helpful hints
- Page 2 – Suggested steps to bring this to publication
- Page 3 – ‘fill in the blanks’ cover letter
- Page 4 – ‘fill in the blanks’ title page
- Pages 5+ – ‘fill in the blanks’ for the rest of the manuscript
Click here to download (updated June 24, 2020).
I hope it helps!