Publish and Flourish: Restarting Manuscript Writing after a Break

In a previous blog (see our article Back to Work?), we talked about VARK learning styles (that individuals may have four main preferences to learn and work: Visual, Auditory, Reading/writing, and Kinesthetic) (Fleming and Mills, 1992) and briefly discussed how they can help us think of practical ways to return to work after the end-of-2022 break.

Given that it can take time to set up experiments after a break, this is the perfect time to work on your written research. After all:

The universal output of all researchers is PUBLICATIONS.

And so…

Here are some potential strategies when restarting manuscript writing work after a break, based on VARK learning styles:

Visual: A visual learner might create visual outlines or mind maps to help them organize their ideas and plan the structure of their manuscript. They might also find it helpful to explore the most appropriate visual aids (e.g. specific types of graphs and tables), to represent their data clearly and effectively.

Auditory: An auditory learner might discuss their research and manuscript ideas with colleagues or seek feedback on their work from mentors, advisors and peers. They might also find it helpful to listen to audio recordings of their own previous presentations, or recordings of speakers in their field of study for inspiration.

Reading/writing: A reading/writing learner might review their research notes and write out a plan for their manuscript, or expand on an existing one developed before the break. They might also re-visit relevant scientific articles, and conduct a fresh search for new articles recently published, as well as review submission guidelines in their targeted journal.

Kinesthetic: A kinesthetic learner might benefit from physically organizing their materials, such as by creating a physical outline or using sticky notes to rearrange ideas. They might also find it helpful to take breaks to engage in physical activities that help them to refocus and recharge.

As we are aware with models such as VARK, one can oversimplify the complexity of how individuals learn and process information. Certainly, I have found each VARK strategy to be particularly effective for different publications that my colleagues and I successfully navigated through peer review and eventually published. Given the detail-oriented process of scientific publishing, each of the strategies mentioned here do apply to a certain degree. It is certainly there for all to use!

We all know why it is important to publish our scientific research, but here are three reminders:

1. You make your mark in this (science) world. Peer-reviewed, published work is immortal.  Your work represents the best insights using the best tools and methods at the time of publication.  As a public record of your work, it will be there for your colleagues to see, to comment, to expand upon.  It is also there for your children, your nephews, nieces, and future generations of loved ones curious about this part of your working life.

2. You show gratitude to your funders.  Research is often an expensive undertaking, and funded by government agencies, funding agencies and philanthropic institutions.  Publications offer an opportunity for you to acknowledge your contributors. To thank them for trusting you with their support. To show they were right to fund your idea.

3. You can attract more funding with your published work.  Funding is key to research, and publications offer critical proof of scientific ideas that you likely want to explore further.  Publications show funders that you and your team can complete large, complicated projects, and explain your work with clarity and purpose in writing.   

In short, Publish and Flourish!

Has this been helpful to you? Does it kick you into gear? Or do you need some stronger motivation? Or some help? Maybe you would like to speak with a professional to support you to finish your manuscript writing projects, your grant applications? 

If you would like help or someone to speak to, Remotely Consulting is here for you. We specialize in English-language scientific editing and navigating peer review of life science research publications. Contact our Founder and Director, Julian Heng, or send us an email (remotelyconsulting@gmail.com) and tell us when you need. We are here to serve you.

Welcome to 2023 and I wish you all the very best for your year ahead! Let’s get some publications published! 

Julian Heng is Founder and Director of Remotely Consulting, an academic services company offering English-language scientific editing services, workshops, as well as coaching and counselling for the life sciences.  

References:

Fleming, N.D. and Mills, C. (1992) Not Another Inventory, Rather a Catalyst for Reflection. To Improve the Academy, 11, 137.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

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