After having described the difficulties I face when attempting to write from home, and realising that I can only spend so much time in coffee shops before (a) they ask me to leave or (b) I consume way too much caffeine and cease to be able to use a pen, I’ve been exploring how to become more productive while sitting at my office desk in the university. The problem always seems to be one of priorities: when I’m in my office, I find it incredibly hard to prioritise writing the dreaded academic papers. Emails constantly interrupt me, and I tend to be fretting about all the non-paper-writing tasks I should be doing.
Image credit: Ian Barbour, Flickr Creative Commons
There are lots of tools out there for collecting scholarly information sources. I used EndNote when I was at Warwick, and then I exported and then imported the bibliographic data into Mendeley, for future reference. Zotero also has a good reputation amongst researchers I’ve met, although it seemed to me that EndNote’s Desktop version was the best at re-formatting your bibliographic data into the various styles for journal publication. So why use these tools and how do you choose which tool to use? Continue reading
As my fellow correspondent Ian wrote for Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo on Twitter), we each appear to have our ideal place in which to write. Personally, I feel deeply indebted to cafes around Nottinghamshire, the UK and beyond, for the completion of my doctoral thesis. Because unlike Ian, I find it pretty much impossible to write at home – or, in fact, in my office. I think this might be due to my love of pen and paper: I’ve tried to write straight to the computer, but somehow nothing seems to flow quite as well. But that’s a different story…
In keeping with the style of Ian’s blog post, I present a typical day of attempting to write from home.
5.15am (0 words written) Continue reading
I have found that everyone seems to have different favourite places to write their journal manuscripts. You may enjoy the florescent tubes beating down on your back in the office; you may find a nook in the local coffee house where WiFi is freely available and caffeine can be brought in a drip-like fashion. You may even use the local pub to just get your creative writing juices going!
Meanwhile, I struggle to work on articles anywhere other than the quiet comfort of my own home, with access to the internet (and therefore emails), turned off and the kettle close at hand. The tale below outlines a fictional but realistic diary of a scientist who attempts to work from his/her office that is only a few feet from their lab. Our scientist struggles to progress with writing a journal article on the planned day, which obviously draws no parallels to my own experience!
These tips on motivating yourself to write are gleaned from last year’s #AcWriMo tweets. There’s a lot more good, practical advice to be found amongst last year’s tweets, as collected and shared by the Wolfson Research Exchange, University of Warwick. Continue reading