Writing Resources and Policies
The difference between screwing around and science is writing it down. -- Adam Savage
Types of Documents
All documents in ARFC should eventually be publicly available. Here’s a list of document types which ARFC students might produce as part of their work. Each description links to more details and resources specific to that particular genre of writing.
- Conference Abstract: <500 words, accompanies a conference presentation.
- Conference Paper: >500 words, accompanies a conference presentation.
- Poster: a single pdf page accompanying a poster session.
- Presentation: slides or other digital media which accompany a talk.
- Report: details a process, literature review, or result.
- White Paper: conveys the perspective of a group of people, such as a workshop.
- Pre-print: this is a copy of a journal article awaiting publication.
- Journal Article: between 5 and 50 pages, submitted to an archival journal.
- Masters Thesis: describes a cohesive research effort.
- Preliminary Exam: <20 pages, proposes the scope of a dissertation.
- PhD Dissertation: the ultimate document.
- Research Proposal: describes future research for the purpose of receiving funding.
Advice on Writing
There is a ton of writing advice out there. Some exceptional advice is found below.
How to Write a Lot
Prof. Huff loved this book as a postdoc. The main lesson is that you should write every day, not in occasional bursts.
Create a Writing Habit
Here are some recommendations to help you make a habit of writing everyday:
- The Pomodoro Technique is a powerful method for doing focused, deep, work. There are several apps you could download to use this technique.
- Use full screen word processor that blocks all distractions.
- FocusWriter is a free, open source, full screen word processor that can track daily goals, has built-in timers, and colorful themes. Available on Ubuntu, Mac, or Windows.
- ColdTurkeyWriter is the nuclear option of word processors. Once you open the app and set a goal (time or word count) you cannot exit the app until the goal is completed. Caveats: Only the basic version is free (though you don’t need much more), it’s only available on Windows/Mac.
- Have a distraction-free word processor open on computer start up. Doing this forces you to write a certain number of words or for a certain length of time before you can do anything else!