The Importance of Thinking Before Writing
I was helping a student with a paper he was writing. He said a lot of interesting things, just not being very effective at what he was trying to convey. Here was my advice to him.
If you can write down 1–3 bulleted sentences that convey your principal results or points that you want to communicate to the audience, then the paper is mostly written. The rest of the work is structuring the paper to address those points. Sitting where I do as Chief Editor [of Monthly Weather Review], I’ve seen way too many papers from authors who haven’t decided what they want to communicate or made it clear to the reader. If you don’t have those main points explicit, then there’s usually little point in starting to write a paper. The outcome will be just as you’ve seen it [with your own paper]. If you’re unsure about what you’re trying to say, will the reader be any more sure? 😉
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