Saturday, 3 November 2012
AcWriMo Day 3
Today I revised and added to the outline for my MS (now at 1593, from 1155 of yesterday). It was made easier by the fact that I've been taking detailed notes along the way. (I started using Evernote a few months ago and it's been incredible so far - worthy of it's own blog post at a later date). Any time I made a decision regarding methods (species to study, environmental datasets to include, statistical decisions, etc), I filed it away in a "outline/brainstorming" note. So now that I'm writing, it's simply a matter of finding the relevant note and copy and pasting it into my draft.
In the beginning stages of writing I try focus on getting as many ideas articulated as possible. To avoid interruptions or delays, I avoid citations, checking facts/numbers, and inserting other detailed information that would stall the flow of ideas. So that I remember to fill in those various details, I developed a system of bracketing off ideas and colour-coding them. So I might say "We included [find number in results file] environmental covariates", or "We developed testable hypotheses [make a table summarizing this information]". My system currently has five colours:
Zotero-this: I know the citation but need to link it with my reference software
Requires coding/calculation: The exact number will come from my results
Double-check: Requires some work to summarize or refer to work I've already done
Later: I can add this detail once the MS is closer to done (Table and Figure numbers)
Find citation: I know literature exists on this topic, but I can't recall the specific citation.
I did something similar during my MSc, but it wasn't as well-defined. I like that I now have a legend for which colour is which so that I can refer to it if I happen to forget.
By my third pomodoro of the day, I was feeling a bit tired of filling in the finer details of the methods, so I switched over to outline my next project: the supplemental materials for the above MS. Since I've already written quite a bit of material on this project within my Markdown file, the outline was easy and minimal. I outlined the document in 368 words.